KEENE, N.H. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth baseball team secured the No. 3 seed in the 2014 Little East Baseball Championship tournament this afternoon, earning a split of a conference doubleheader at Keene State College.
In the opener, the Owls outlasted the Corsairs, 16-15, while the visitors salvaged the split by capturing the nightcap 10-2.
UMass Dartmouth (19-20) will open its postseason play against fourth-seeded UMass Boston on Wednesday, May 7 at Eastern Connecticut. The intra-state rivals met earlier this season on April 12, winning one game each at Campanelli Stadium.
UMass Dartmouth 15 Keene State 16
The Corsairs and Owls combined for 40 hits and 31 runs, with the host team coming out on top in the slugfest.
Junior George Agostini (Rehoboth, Mass.) went 3-for-6 with 5 RBI, including a two-run homerun and two runs scored for the Corsairs. Senior Wayne Bolz (Billerica, Mass.) recorded three hits with a double and three runs. Junior Ryan Medeiros (Acushnet, Mass.) and junior Nate Farias (Fall River, Mass.) each logged a pair of hits and crossed home plate three times.
For the Owls, Joe Libby led with five RBI, going 3-for-4 including a two-run homer. Nick Vita, Cody Dube and Tanner Chase each registered four hits in the win.
Vita got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning when he singled home Libby. He then rounded the bases on his own when Vinny Parilla singled him and Dube home to give Keene State a 3-0.
Vita and Libby were at it again in the second inning as the two each hit two-run homers to give the Owls a seven run command at the end of the second inning.
Medeiros got the Corsairs on the board when he knocked home Bolz on a ground out to first base. Keene State added another run in the third off a Libby sacrifice fly to right.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Corsairs received runs-batted-in from sophomore Matt Russell (Townsend, Mass.), Agostini, and DeMedeiros, who smashed a three-run round-tripper over center field. In the following half inning, the Owls' offense answered back with five runs of their own to once again give the host team a seven run advantage (13-6).
UMass Dartmouth proceeded to put five more runs on the board in the top of sixth inning. Back-to-back throwing errors allowed junior Alex Newton (Saco, Maine), Ben Monteiro (Swansea, Mass.) and Farias to score. With runners on second and first, Agostini roped a two-run single through the right side of the infield, cutting the deficit down to two runs.
With the score 13-11 in favor of Keene State, the Corsairs tacked on another run in the top of the seventh. A fielding error and an RBI single by Chase gave the Owls a three run cushion at the end of the seventh.
In the top of the eighth UMass Dartmouth tied the game at 15-all when Agostini blasted a two-run homerun to right field and a couple batters later, Farias logged a sacrifice fly.
With the score tied in the bottom of the eighth, Vita singled up the middle and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Dube followed with a double to left field, scoring Vita for the eventual game-winning run.
Relief pitcher Vinny Mangiagli earned the win on the mound for the Owls, while senior Karney Boff (N. Dighton, Mass.) suffered a setback for the Corsairs.
UMass Dartmouth 10 Keene State 2
Clinging to a 4-1 lead through six innings, UMass Dartmouth broke out for a combined six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to capture the win.
In the seventh, freshman Evan Eldridge (Danvers, Mass.) drew a bases loaded walk, then Farias crossed home plate on a wild pitch for the sixth Corsair run. Monteiro, who went 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs, blasted a grand slam in the following inning to secure the road victory.
Farias registered a trio of hits to go with two runs scored, while Bolz went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a pair of runs for UMass Dartmouth. On the hill, Steve Colella (Leominster, Mass.) recorded his fourth win of the season as the sophomore allowed three hits, two walks and one run in seven innings of work.