Cronin’s Near No-Hit Bid Forges LEC Split with Warriors

Photo by: Paris Felogloy
Photo by: Paris Felogloy

DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Junior Matt Cronin (Framingham, Mass.) took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of game one to lead the Corsairs to a 5-1 game one victory, but the Blue and Gold pitching staff was tagged for 12 runs in the nightcap as the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth split its LEC twinbill against Eastern Connecticut. Prior to the start of the doubleheader, the Corsairs honored its seven seniors as part of Senior Day on Saturday afternoon at the UMD baseball field.  

The Basics

Score: UMass Dartmouth 5, Eastern Conn. 1 (Game One ) | Eastern Conn. 12, UMass Dartmouth 8 (Two)

Records: Corsairs 20-12, 4-8 LEC | Warriors 19-12, 8-4 LEC

How it Happened

Game One: Corsairs 5, Warriors 1

The Corsairs wasted little time to start the scoring, with the home offense getting some help on the dropped fly ball by Warrior right fielder Anthony Stigler (Mansfield, Conn.) to get sophomore Nate Tellier (Attleboro, Mass.) aboard. A single through the right side by junior Chris Wood (Berkley, Mass.) drove his teammate home, with the next score arriving via junior Jose Vasquez's (Roxbury, Mass.) rip through the drawn-in infield for an early 2-0 lead.

Each right-handed starting hurler went on to match each other zero-for-zero across the next four innings, retiring the side without allowing any harm. Junior Matt Cronin (Framingham, Mass.) mowed down the visiting squad by setting down ten straight spanning from the fourth to the seventh.

With the bases loaded and two down in the home half of the seventh, Tellier continued his season-long clutch hitting with two outs as he drilled a double to the gap to empty the bags to give the squad some more breathing room, pushing the lead to five. In the top of the eighth, the Warriors initiated the inning with men in first and second and nobody out, pushing Cronin's pitch count above the century mark in the process. After a quick visit to the mound by associate head coach and pitching coach Shawn Manfredo to settle down the Corsair ace, the righty induced a huge 6-4-3 double play to record two quick, needed outs. He escaped the jam by grounding senior Mike Funaro (Northford, Conn.) out to first for the easy unassisted putout.

After two errors in the top of the ninth set the Warriors up with a pair of runners aboard and one out, Eastern Connecticut catcher Merlyn Herrera (La Yaquiza, D.R.) broke up Cronin's no-hitter after 8.1 innings after blistering a hard ground ball up the middle that was knocked down by a diving O'Neil. Things got hairy for the Corsairs after the starter's exit, as a Stigler base-hit up the middle moved each player up a station for a 5-1 affair. Freshman reliever Logan Maitland (Tiverton, R.I.) sealed the Corsairs' fourth victory upon fielding the comebacker and firing a throw to first to win the bang-bang play.

Game Two: Warriors 12, Corsairs 8

After a relatively quiet opening two innings on both sides, the Corsairs loaded the bases with just one dead in the third. However, starter Nick Rascati (Wallingford, Conn.) worked out of the inconvenient situation by causing a fly out to shallow center followed by a swinging strikeout of sophomore Mitch Baker (Braintree, Mass.).

Eastern Connecticut would chase senior southpaw Mac Curran (Lakeville, Mass.) approximately halfway through the contest as the Warriors would tally a pair in the fourth and sixth innings. UMass Dartmouth cooked up its own rally in the bottom half of the frame, picking up its starter on sophomore Mike Knell's (Dennis, Mass.) three-run moonshot that still has not landed. A bit of serendipity followed up moments later, as senior Josh O'Neil's (Halifax, Mass.) single to left got through the wickets of outfielder Ryan Hood (Arlington, Mass.) to buy runner Brandon Polignone (Peabody, Mass.) enough time to race around the bags and home to even the ballgame at four apiece.

The top half of the eighth was sloppy for UMass Dartmouth, allowing an eight spot as the Warriors batted around. In their last chance at the plate, junior Erick Ramirez (Boston, Mass.) picked up an RBI single to left, encored by a two-run liner up the middle by Vasquez, but the four-run ninth would be a case of too little, too late for the squad in the nightcap.

Inside the Numbers

  • Tellier's big-time bases-clearing double in the seventh inning of game one accounted for RBI numbers 15, 16, and 17 with two outs.
  • Following the first battle, the Corsairs improved their record to 16-3 when leading after seven innings.
  • Cronin and Maitland paired up to yield just two Warrior base-hits, the Corsairs' fewest allowed base-knocks sine Mar. 25 versus Bates.
  • UMass Dartmouth hurlers have struck out at least five batters in 29 of 32 games thus far.
  • O'Neil completed game two with a perfect 4-for-4 performance at the plate.

Up Next

UMass Dartmouth takes a quick trip to Norton on Tuesday, May 1 for a non-conference affair with regional rival Wheaton College.