April 13, 2010
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA - The only bad part about Tuesday afternoon's Little East Conference thriller was that someone had to lose. In 12 innings, the loser proved to be the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's baseball team, after being outlasted 6-1 by visiting Rhode Island College at the UMass Dartmouth Athletic Complex.
The game was a quintessential pitchers' duel for the first 11 innings, as the two teams traded goose eggs with just a lone tally for each along the way. Corsair freshman starting pitcher Aaron Brunette (North Andover, Mass./North Andover HS) and Rhode Island junior starter Gary Levesque (East Providence, RI/East Providence HS) put on a show for the audience, breezing through the first seven innings in expedient fashion. While Levesque went onto pitch nine full innings, Brunette gave way to sophomore reliever Pat Lavey (Cranston, R.I./Cranston East HS) who retired all six batters he faced during regulation. The game moved at a brisk pace, and moved into extra innings just one hour and 47 minutes after the first pitch.
In extra innings, the game became a battle of the closers, with UMass Dartmouth's junior reliever Brian Pedrotti (Dalton, Mass./Wahconah Regional HS) squaring off against Rhode Island's junior reliever Matthew Thadeio (West Greenwich, RI/Bishop Hendricken HS). Each hurler kept his respective opponent off the scoreboard in innings 10 and 11. Pedrotti escaped an error-induced bases loaded jam in the top half of the 11th, while Thadeio ran through the Corsairs in order in the bottom half.
The Anchormen finally broke through by batting around in the top of the 12th, scoring five runs. After allowing a leadoff single, Pedrotti mishandled a sacrifice bunt from freshman right fielder Kevin Carey (Wakefield, R.I./South Kingstown HS), which placed runners at first and second with no outs. Pedrotti compounded his problems with a wild pitch in the subsequent at-bat, advancing both runners into scoring position. The righthander bounced back by inducing a ground ball out without any advancement, and then issued an intentional walk to fill the vacant first base. But then junior designated hitter Joseph Correia (Pascoag, R.I./Burrillville HS), who entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh inning, delivered a back breaking two RBI single to score the game-winning runs.
The victory keeps Rhode Island College in sole possession of first place in the Little East Conference, two games ahead UMass Dartmouth. The two teams will meet again in Providence next Tuesday.
For the Corsairs, it was their second straight frustrating conference loss in which a timely hit or two may have altered the final result. The Corsairs had a tremendous opportunity in the bottom of the tenth inning after freshman right fielder Nick Fuller (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford HS) led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore second baseman Dan Demello (Taunton, Mass./Taunton HS). Following a strikeout, senior center fielder Jeff Macchi (Franklin, Mass./Franklin HS) smashed a one-hopper toward the hole on the left side, only to have Rhode Island sophomore shortstop Kyle Allaire (Uxbridge, Mass./Uxbridge HS) make a diving stop, spring to his feet, and gun Macchi down by a step to retire the side and save the game for the Anchormen.
UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Bob Curran enjoyed the game, but lamented the loss. "We hit one ball hard all day with runners in scoring position: Macchi's," Curran said. "[Allaire] made a big league play. That ball was up the middle, and he dove and made the catch. We pitched it well and we played good defense. Their pitching just shut us down."
The Corsairs had nine hits in the game, all of which came off of Levesque in the first nine innings. Although the Corsairs were held without an extra base hit, they stranded a runner in scoring position on six different occasions.
The Corsairs fell behind in the top of the fourth when Rhode Island senior centerfielder Jared Rossi (Johnston, R.I./NE Christian Academy) tripled to lead off the inning and scored on an RBI ground out by Levesque, who served as pitcher/designated hitter. In the bottom of the sixth, the Corsairs tied the score. Macchi was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. The next batter, junior catcher Zak Talis (Lynnfield, Mass./Lynnfield HS), pushed a ground ball single into right field. With Macchi digging hard for third base, Carey threw wildly from right field, with his toss escaping both the third baseman covering the bag and the pitcher backing up. Macchi scored an unearned run on the error, while Talis advanced to second with no outs. Although the inning was promising, a strikeout and two foul pop outs quickly ended the threat.
While Thaddeio (4-0) took the win in relief, it was Levesque's peformance that stood out. The righthander scattered nine singles over nine innings, while registering eight strikeouts and only one walk. Levesque did not allow an earned run.
For the Corsairs, starter Brunette allowed just one earned run on six hits over seven innings while striking out three. Lavey also had three strikeouts in two and one third innings of scoreless work while allowing only one hit. Pedrotti (2-2) took the loss although four of his five runs were unearned.
"We've got to get better tomorrow," Curran said. "We've got Wentworth, we've got Clark, and then we've got to get ready for two at UMass Boston on Saturday."
Rhode Island College improved to 16-5 and 5-0 in the Little East Conference with the victory, while UMass Dartmouth dropped to 12-7 and 3-2 with the defeat. The Corsairs will return to action when they host Wentworth Wednesday. The Anchormen will host Johnson & Wales Wednesday.
UMASS DARTMOUTH BASEBALL