Panthers fall in opener in extra innings
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth baseball team earned a Little East Conference doubleheader sweep of Plymouth State University Sunday afternoon, defeating the Panthers 5-4 in 11 innings and 6-1.
The doubleheader sweep improves the Corsairs overall record to 8-10 and 2-2 in the conference circuit, while lowering the Panthers' record to 11-8 and 1-3.
UMass Dartmouth received a pair of strong performances for its starting pitchers, giving up a combined two earned runs on eight hits, while striking out 11 batters. Sophomore Steve Colella (Leominster, Mass.) recorded a quality start by allowing one run on three hits, while fanning three over seven innings. In the nightcap, freshman Shawn Callahan (Colchester, Vt.) tossed his first collegiate complete-game to raise his individual record to 3-0 on the campaign.
UMass Dartmouth needed extra innings to earn the victory on its home field. Senior Wayne Bolz (Billerica, Mass.) drew a walk to lead off the 11th frame and advanced to third on a single by junior Ryan Medeiros (Acushnet, Mass.). Plymouth State intentionally walked sophomore Connor Shaw (Goffstown, N.H.) to load the bases for junior George Agostini (Rehoboth, Mass.). Facing a full-count, Agostini lifted a sacrifice fly to shallow left field that scored Bolz from third to give the hosts the dramatic victory.
Agostini sent the contest into extra innings in the ninth, when he laced a two-out single through the left side of the infield to score sophomore Matt Russell (Townsend, Mass.) from second. Russell generated the scoring opportunity by stealing second with two outs off the Panthers' closer.
The Corsairs were forced to rally for a run in the bottom of the ninth because Plymouth State pushed across three runs in its final at-bat to take a 4-3 advantage. The Panthers capitalized on two hit batters and a single to load the bases with two outs. Freshman Jarek Krajewski (Cranston, R.I.) worked a bases-loaded walk, while sophomore Dave Hall (Groton, Conn.) ripped a line drive over the first base bag to give the visitors their first lead of the contest and chase the UMass Dartmouth closer.
The Corsairs jumped out an early advantage, plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Medeiros singled to right field and advanced to third on a Plymouth State defensive miscue. Agostini delivered a RBI sacfrice fly left field and the Panthers erased a UMD base runner trying to steal for the first two outs of the frame. Junior Alex Newton (Saco, Maine) produced the hosts' second run with a home run (1) over the right field fence.
UMass Dartmouth extended its advantage to 3-1 in the second, when the Corsairs capitalized on two Plymouth State errors. Russell advanced on a fielding error to the left side of the infield to plate junior Cory DeMedeiros (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) from second.
Colella was in complete control from the first inning, retiring the first 12 batters he faced. The Panthers sandwiched a pair of singles between an infield pop fly, but Colella was able to get out of the jam by inducing a ground ball double play. He set the visitors down in order in the sixth before giving up his only run of the game in the seventh.
Sophomore Aaron Chouinard (Swansea, Mass./Joseph Case) recorded the final out in the top of the ninth before working a scoreless 10th. Russell did not allow a hit in his lone inning of work to earn his first win of the season, raising his record to 1-2.
Freshman Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) was credited with a no-decision in his first career conference start. Arsenault held the Corsairs to three runs, two of which were earned, on five hits, while striking out four. Senior Ryan Wakefield (Sanbornton, N.H.) struck out the side in order, but was charged with the blown save. Freshman Connor MacRae (Newburyport, Mass.) was saddled with the loss, allowing one hit and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.
Shaw went 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored to power the 12-hit UMass Dartmouth attack in the nightcap. Juniors Nate Farias (Fall River, Mass.) and DeMedeiros were 2-for-3 with a RBI, while junior Ben Monteiro (Swansea, Mass.) and Medeiros each chipped in with a RBI.
Callahan settled into a groove after spotting Plymouth State a run on a wild pitch in the first inning. The rookie right-hander retired six consecutive batters and 12 of 13 between the second and sixth innings. Callahan set the Panthers down in order in the ninth, marking his fourth 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon. He scattered five singles and issued a walk, while punching out eight batters.
UMass Dartmouth snapped a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth, when DeMedeiros led off the frame with a double to left centerfield. Medeiros laced a single through the box to give the hosts a lead they would not relinquish.
The Corsairs provided themselves with some breathing room in the fifth, pushing across three runs. The first five UMass Dartmouth reached safely, while Farias and Monteiro registered back-to-back RBI singles. DeMedeiros capped the surge with a sacrifice fly to right field. The hosts tacked on an insurance run in the sixth to seal the victory.
Junior Josh Young (Somersworth, N.H.) suffered the setback after giving up five runs on 10 hits over the course of five innings of work. MacRae, freshman Kyle Sanford (Torrington, Conn.) and junior Michael Welch (Westfield, Mass.) each threw an inning of relief for the visitors.
UMass Dartmouth will return to action Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., when the Corsairs travel to Brandeis University for a non-conference contest. PSU visits Salem State University for a non-conference affair on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
(Courtesy of UMass Dartmouth Sports Information)
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