BEVERLY, Mass. – A complete-game by Salem State starter Andrew McLaughlin (Peabody, Mass.) and four costly errors by Endicott's defense told the story of a Gulls 4-2 loss to Salem State on Thursday afternoon as the two teams split their 2015 regular season, home-and-home series. Endicott had previous beaten Salem State 9-4 back on April 9th on the road.
McLaughlin (3-0) allowed two earned runs on eight hits and three walks over nine innings as the freshman threw 113 pitches. McLaughlin surrendered a two RBI hits to Endicott freshman outfielder Michael DeDonato (Chelmsford, Mass.), a single in the bottom of the third that scored junior Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) to tie the game 1-1 and a double to the gap in right center that plated freshman Dan Zabbo (Dracut, Mass.) in the bottom of the seventh as the Gulls looked to erase a 4-1 deficit.
After DeDonato's double in the seventh made it a 4-2 game, McLaughlin set Endicott down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth and allowed only a one-out single by senior Chase Sullivan (Cumberland, R.I.) in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the Vikings victory.
Endicott, 4-4 over the past week, fell to 17-11 with the loss heading into their Saturday doubleheader against NESCAC foe Bates. The Gulls and Bobcats throw the first pitch of game on at 1:00 p.m. in Lewiston, Maine. Salem State (15-10) returns to their MASCAC slate on Saturday with a home doubleheader against Westfield State starting at noon.
Salem State got on the board first in the top of the third as sophomore catcher Teghan Malionek (Salem, Mass.) singled to get on and found his way on third with two down. Vikings senior outfielder Kevin Carens (Northborough, Mass.) hit a slow chopper in front of the mound that was bobbled, allowing Carens to reach first and Malionek to safely score from third for the 1-0 Salem State lead.
After DeDonato's RBI single in the bottom half of the third inning tied the game, the Vikings regained the lead in the top of the fourth as once again a Gulls fielding miscue extended the inning with two outs. This time, the error allowed Colton Fontaine (Newburyport, Mass.) to score from third and Ben Smith (Bellingham, Mass.) to cross home plate all the way from second base.
Salem State would add to their 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth after sophomore outfielder Andrew Deloury (Andover, Mass.) tripled to right to lead off the inning and scored on the very next at bat, a slow grounder up the middle off the bat of Carens.
Endicott's bullpen was led by sophomore righty Eric Nagle (Manchester, Conn.) who lowered his ERA down to 1.53 with 3 2/3 shutout innings in relief. Nagle allowed three hits and a walk but struck out two batters to help keep the Vikings off the scoreboard in the later innings.
As Nagle shutdown the Salem State lineup over the final frames, DeDonato's double sparked Endicott's comeback effort but McLaughlin held on for the complete-game victory.
For Salem State, freshman designated hitter Dan Connors (Danvers, Mass.) went 3-for-5 with a stolen base while Deloury went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored out of the nine-hole. DeDonato was Endicott's only batter with multiple hits while senior captain Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) reached base three times with a hit and two walks. Senior Michael Cahill (Plymouth, Mass.) came on as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fourth and blasted a one-out triple over the centerfielder's head but was stranded at third.