Harvard, George Mason, Boston College, and Brown pick up wins

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCES

Harvard 7 Northeastern 6

Brookline, Mass. – Matt Rogers’ decisive eighth inning home run powered Harvard to a 7-6 victory over Northeastern in the Crimson’s regular season finale Wednesday afternoon at Friedman Diamond.

With the score tied at six and one out in the top of the eighth, Rogers connected on the first pitch the saw from reliever Dan Zehr (1-4) for a no doubter, high over the scoreboard in left-center for his third long ball of the season. The solo shot would hold up on the strength of outstanding relief pitching as three Crimson relievers limited Northeastern to one hit through the last 5.2 innings.

Harvard started the scoring with a pair of runs in the third inning as the first three batters reached with Matt Vance scoring on a passed ball and Sean O’Hara delivering a run with a single down the left field line.

The margin could have been considerably higher after four Harvard at bats but the Crimson stranded runners on second and third in the first and third innings and left the bases loaded in the fourth. It looked like the missed opportunities would hurt the Crimson as Northeastern broke through for five runs in the bottom of the fourth.

It all started innocently enough against starter Dan Berardo who had breezed through the first three innings. A walk, bloop single and bounding ball single plated the first run and the tying run came home on an opposite field single. A walk and a throwing error would prove costly as three more runners came home before Zach Hofeld came out of the bullpen to get out of trouble with a strikeout and popup.

Harvard regained the lead in the fifth as NU reliever Russ Lloyd walked the bases loaded to start. Jeff Stoeckel delivered a two-run single up the middle and, following a sacrifice bunt from Griff Jenkins, Dillon O’Neill laced a two-run single to left.

Northeastern tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when NU’s Frank Pesanello hit a wind-aided homer against Hofeld but it would be the last hit of the game for the Huskies.

Senior Brad Unger relieved Hofeld (two strikeouts) to start the seventh inning and threw two hitless innings with a pair of strikeout to earn his third win of the season. Fellow senior Shawn Haviland capped a fine career by throwing a scoreless ninth and striking out the final batter with a trademark hard curveball for his second save of the year.

In all, Harvard had 11 hits to NU’s five with Rogers, O’Hara, O’Neill, Taylor Meehan and Harry Douglas all registering two hits. Vance and Kramer both walked twice in their final collegiate games with Vance adding a stolen base.

George Mason 7 Liberty 6

Lynchburg, Va. – George Mason pushed across a run in the 11th inning, sending the Patriots past the Liberty Flames, 7-6, Wednesday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.

The setback drops Liberty to 22-23 on the year. George Mason moves to 24-21.

After turning back George Mason threats in both the first and second innings, the Flames jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the third frame. With one out, Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) and Kenneth Negron (Jr., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) collected back-to-back singles. Tim Rotola (Jr., CF, Wichita, Kan.) followed with a well-placed bunt between the first baseman and the second baseman for a single, loading the bases. Phillips scored the first run of the contest, as David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field. After a walk to Cody Brown (Jr., 3B, Boca Raton, Fla.) once again filled the bases, Aaron Grijalva (Sr., LF, Redlands, Calif.) received a base on balls, forcing in a run for a 2-0 advantage. Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.) followed with a single up the middle to plate the third run of the frame.

The Patriots got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth with a single tally, only to see Liberty answer in the bottom of the inning with two more runs. Right fielder Shane Davis walked to open the fourth for George Mason and later scored on a single by second baseman Ryan Soares. In the bottom of the frame, Negron singled with two outs and moved to second on a single by Rotola. Giammaresi then looped a single in front of the right fielder to chase home Negron. Rotola also scored on the play, when second baseman Soares dropped the throw on an attempt to get Giammaresi trying to advance to second, for a 5-1 Liberty lead.

In the fifth inning, George Mason plated five runs to take a 6-5 advantage. After a walk to first baseman Justin Bour, left fielder Scott Krieger lined a double down the left field line to move both runners into scoring position. Designated hitter Josh Steinberg followed with a double to the left center field gap to bring home both runners and cut the Patriot deficit to 5-3. The next two Patriots walked to load the bases, before the visitors scored their third run of the inning on a grounder to second base by center fielder Spencer Wiggins. The next George Mason batter, Soares, then gave the Patriots a short-lived 6-5 edge with a two-run double.

The Flames countered in the bottom of the inning, pushing across a run to knot the contest at 6-6. Grijalva singled through the middle to begin the frame and advanced on a bunt single by Young. After a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Jefferson (Fr., RF, Danville, Va.) moved both runners into scoring position, a grounder to the first baseman by Nathan Thompson (So., C, Stonehill, N.C.) brought home Grijalva to tie the game.

Over the next several innings, neither team could break through, sending the game to extra innings. After a scoreless 10th frame, the Patriots plated the game-winner in the 11th. Catcher Chris Henderson doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a ground out. The next batter, Krieger, struck out. However, Liberty catcher Errol Hollinger (Jr., Upland, Calif.), who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the 10th, dropped the third strike. When the catcher threw to first to record the out, Henderson beat the return throw to put the Patriots up, 7-6.

In the bottom of the 11th, Rotola doubled into the right field corner to open the inning, but George Mason reliever Shawn Griffith retired the next three batters to seal the 7-6 victory for the Patriots.

Despite five innings of strong relief, Andrew Wilson (Jr., RHP, Cary, N.C.), the fourth Flames’ pitcher in the contest, falls to 1-3 on the season. The right-hander pitched five innings, allowing three hits and one run. He struck out five George Mason hitters. Griffith, the fourth Patriot hurler in the contest, pitched two scoreless innings, giving up one hit to run his record to 2-1 on the year.

Liberty’s Rotola led all hitters in the contest with four hits and three stolen bases. Teammate Negron had three hits in the game. Third baseman Mark Hill had three hits for the Patriots. Soares added two hits and drove in three runs for George Mason.

The Flame returns to conference action on the weekend. Liberty, 9-6 in the Big South, will travel to Charleston, S.C., for a three-game weekend series at Charleston Southern. The series opener is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m.

Boston College 8 Dartmouth 5

HANOVER, N.H. – Boston College (21-24) scored six times in the top of the second inning and held on defeat Dartmouth (24-15), 8-5, at Red Rolfe Field on Wednesday afternoon.

BC tallied 12 hits against the Big Green pitching staff, including four players with multi-hit contests. Michael Belfiore and Tony Sanchez each collected two hits and a RBI, while Garret Smith went 2-for-4 with a solo homer, and Mickey Wiswall registered two singles and two RBIs on the day.

Ted Ratliff (2-1) worked the first five innings and allowed one earned run on five hits with seven punch outs to earn the win.

John Leonard tossed a scoreless sixth with a pair of strikeouts. Chris Kowalski bridged the gap to Belfiore in the ninth. Kowalski worked 1.2 innings, while Belfiore tossed the ninth to earn his sixth save of the year.

The Eagles made the second inning count as they pushed across six runs in the frame. Eric Campbell hit a two-run double and Smith connected for a homer to highlight the inning.

BC will host ACC foe Maryland on Friday at Commander Shea Field in Chestnut Hill, Mass. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Brown 10 Bryant 5

SMITHFIELD, RI – Despite early and late-inning runs from the Bryant University baseball team Wednesday afternoon, visiting Division I opponent Brown University exploded for a seven-run top of the tenth to take a 10-5 win away from the Bryant Baseball Complex, handing the Bulldogs their second loss in as many days.

The Bears (20-24) took six hits off the closing combination of senior Adam Vuolo (Walpole, Mass.) and sophomore Eric Polvani (Wallingford, Conn.), touching Bryant’s fourth and fifth pitchers of the day for seven runs and a 10-3 lead in the top of the extra frame.

Designated hitter Conor Reardon led off the inning with a double down the right field line before Matt Nuzzo topped off his 3-for-5 day (RBI, 2 runs) with an intentional walk to put runners on first and second for Nick Punal. A fielder’s choice off Punal’s bat got the lead runner at third, but a costly error by first baseman Dylan Stone (Portsmouth, RI) loaded the bases for Robert Papenhause with just one out.

Vuolo gave up back-to-back RBI singles to give Brown the 5-3 lead, but the scoring wasn’t close to over as Polvani took over on the hill. With the bases still loaded, a wild pitch brought home Matt Colantonio, while pinch hitter Peter Greskoff singled to center for the third run of the inning.

Steve Daniels tripled to plate two more, and scored himself on a JJ Eno single to right the next at bat before Polvani found his way out of the inning.

Junior Pat O’Connor (Mattapoisett, Mass.) got two back in the bottom of the 10th for the Bulldogs (36-16) with his eighth home run of the season – a two-out, two-run shot off Andrew Bakowski – but it wouldn’t be enough to keep the home team from dropping back-to-back contests for the first time since mid-March.

Both Wednesday’s defeat and Tuesday afternoon’s 5-3 loss to Northeastern University were against Division I opponents and played with aluminum bats rather than the Northeast-10 Conference wooden bat norm.

But it was the Bulldogs that came out with bats blaring to start out the game, as senior co-captain Jason Alexander (Simsbury, Conn.) ripped a double down the left field line off starter Josh Feit to lead off the game.

The third baseman moved to third on an error and came home on the next batter for the early 1-0 lead.

The home side tacked on two more in the second, when Dave Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) singled home Jeff Vigurs (South Windor, Conn.), who led off the frame with a walk. Alexander then singled to center to plate Mark Dondero (Medfield, Mass.) and take a 3-0 advantage.

But the Bears would hold the Bulldogs to just two more hits and no runs through the ninth while getting lone runs back in the third, fourth and eighth to knot the score at 3-3.

Two RBI days from Papenhause and Daniels led Brown on the day as they shook the Bryant staff for 17 hits. Papenhause was near perfect at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

A 3-for-3 day from Alexander – who recorded an RBI, two runs scored and was hit by a pair of pitches – led Bryant offensively, while Dondero also chipped in a multi-hit afternoon (2-for-3, run scored). The Bulldogs scattered eight hits off a five-man Bear pitching combination.

Vuolo (1-3) took the loss for Bryant, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits in 1.2 innings of work, while Rob Hallberg notched his first win of 2008, moving to 1-3 in a two-frame appearance.

Bryant returns to Division II play Friday, May 2 when the Bulldogs travel to Orangeburg, NY for a 1:00 p.m. faceoff with Dominican College before rounding out Northeast-10 Conference action Saturday, May 3 with a doubleheader at Pace.