MANSFIELD Conn. – In matchup between two conference pitchers of the year, runs figured to be tough to come by.
And they were.
Trinity senior Jeremiah Bayer, the NESAC Pitcher of the Year, and Southern Maine senior Tim Therrian (9-1), the Little East Pitcher of the Year, locked in a scoreless dual until the fifth, when the third seeded Bantams scored the first of their six runs on the game, which would be all would need to move to 2-0 in New England Regional of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The teams were set to play last night, but rain pushed it back to this morning.
“This is the best game I think we’ve played all around,” Bayer said. “Everyone was sharp defensively. I was lucky enough to get the ground balls and the defense did a real good job of making the plays.”
After dispatching the first two batters on routine groundouts, Therrian gave up a bloop single to sophomore left fielder Alex Rokicki and hard single to center by senior catcher Sean Kileen, the NESAC Player of the Year, which sent Rokicki to third.
Junior Kent Graham followed with a hard shot down the third base line that junior Josh Mackey came up with on a dive, but his throw wasn’t in time, allowing Rokicki to sneak home from third.
The second seeded Huskies had a good chance to tie the score in the top of the sixth.
With one out, Mackey singled to left and advanced a hit by senior left field and Little East Player of the Year Anthony D’Alfonso.
But Bayer (11-0) set down the next two batters to hold Southern Maine at bay.
The righthander’s complete game effort along with some key hits by Trinity prevented the Huskies from emerging with the win.
“They got a couple big two out hits and we didn’t,” D’Alfonso said. “We were one or two hits away from making that a ball game.”
While Southern Maine squandered a chance to tie the game in the sixth, Trinity pushed across two more runs to extend their lead. Senior Ryan Piacentini led off with a walk. A grounder to first by freshman Kevin Mortimer sent him to second, where he would score on a hard, two out single up the middle by shortstop Robert Martin. The sophomore then stole second, putting himself in postion to come home on Jack Abbott’s single to left.
The throw home appeared to be in time, but Husky sophomore Jordan Berthiuame allowed the ball to ricchocet off his shin guard, enabling Martin to score uncontested.
Trinity scored three in the eighth to put the game away.
With two outs. Martin dropped down a bunt that Therrian slide to get but bobbled the ball on the transfer and wasn’t able to get a throw off. Abbott was hit by a pitch, and junior Matt Sullivan lined a shot to second that kicked up and caught freshman Anthony Pisani in the face. Martin scored on the play to make it 4-0.
After being attended to by team trainers, Pisani left and was replaced by sophomore Jay Goodrich. Freshman Matt Leach replaced Therrian on the mound and promptly surrended a long drive to Kileen that appeared to pop out of Eaton’s glove when he hit the wall in right center. Two runs scored to give Trinity a 6-0 lead.
“He wanted to keep playing but the trainer took him out of the game,” Southern Maine head coach Ed Flaherty said.
Southern Maine (36-8) will face top seeded Eastern Connecticut at 4:30, while Trinity (31-5) takes on fourth seeded WPI at 7:45.