Baseball Splits, Slide into Playoffs
BY COLE McNANNA // APRIL 30, 2016 //
Game One: Curry 5, Gordon 1
The Curry baseball team hosted Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) opponent Gordon College for a doubleheader, hoping to collect a pair of victories to propel them to the playoffs.
The day started off well, with freshman Matt Fogarty yielding only one base runner in the top half of the inning to send senior co-captain John Arens to the plate to get the bats going in the home half of the opening inning.
Arens ripped a single through the right side, and moved up to second base after classmate and co-captain Kyle Connors supplied a sacrifice bunt up the first base line. Junior Alex McLean followed with a clean single, and advanced when a play at the plate resulted in Arens scoring the first run of the game.
Two innings later, Arens and Connors went back to work at the plate with Arens starting things with a one-out double to right field. However, this time, Connors advanced Arens on a single to center field, deep enough to allow the speedy Arens to come around and touch home plate to put the Colonels up 2-0 early.
Connors tried scoring on a single to left by junior Nick Crivello, but was cut down at the plate to end the threat.
The Colonels wouldn’t really need the insurance run because they already held a two-run advantage, but the Fighting Scots finally threatened a few innings later.
The first two Gordon batters in the top of the sixth inning reached on a walk and an error, respectively, and freshman Chris Leavitt supplied a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. A ground out would be enough to score sophomore Addison Tarr, and the Curry lead was cut to only one as Curry returned to bat.
The Colonels wasted no time in formulating a response, however. Crivello stroked a single to left, and got all the way to third following a passed ball and wild pitch in the same at-bat to sophomore Will de la Cruz, who eventually earned a free pass to first. Freshman Ben Lary came to the plate with runners on the corners.
Lary delivered an RBI single to left field and de la Cruz was able to “cruise” all the way to third to provide sophomore Anthony Sciaudone with the same opportunity as Lary. Sciaudone got the job done and scored de la Cruz with a fielders choice, and Arens followed with an RBI single through the middle to score Lary.
Freshman Brandon Bercovitz came into the final inning in a non-save situation with a four-run lead and produced a 1-2-3 inning to send the 5-1 score final, keeping the playoff dream alive for the Colonels.
Fogarty earned the win in game one, setting up Bercowitz by throwing a one-hitter across six innings. The freshman’s record improved to 5-2 on the season after he finished with a team second-best 46.2 innings pitched and amassed 39 strikeouts over nine games, seven as a starter.
Game Two: Gordon 3, Curry 2
After securing a victory in game one, the Colonels looked to another top starter, sophomore Dave Griffin to end the day with a sweep to send Curry into the playoffs.
The second game was another tight score, this time, however, Gordon jumped out to an early lead by opening the scoring in the second inning.
Tarr got things going for the Fighting Scots by placing a single to right field that Arens misplayed, allowing Leavitt to score. The throw into the infield got past all of the defenders in the infield and freshman Christian Hodge came around to score on the second error – putting Gordon up by a pair of runs early.
Again, Curry responded quickly, loading the bases after Crivello reached on an error and classmates Fogarty and Tyler Jenkins drew walks. De la Cruz followed, supplying an RBI single through the left side to keep the bases loaded for Lary. Lary put a charge into one, hitting it deep enough to score Crivello to tie the game up at two apiece.
After that second inning, both pitchers dug in and went to work. Griffin gave up five hits in the next five innings, while Gordon’s starter Caleb Bae and reliever Matt Amore yielded only four hits over the course of regulation play. Because of that, the audience at Jack Vallely Diamond got the treat of free playoff-caliber baseball.
The top of the eighth started with two quick outs for Griffin, but freshman Christian Hodge extended the inning with a hit. Classmate Alec Willey laced a ball to the fence that was deep enough to score Hodge and give the Fighting Scots the lead. Bercovitz came on in relief again and only needed one pitch this time to induce a fly out to send Curry to the plate with the playoffs on the line.
Unfortunately, the Colonels weren’t able to get anything done and the 3-2 final score sent them just out of the playoff picture at the time. With a sweep, Curry would have leap-frogged Gordon to take the final sixth seed but the split didn’t provide the movement necessary.
However, Roger Williams, who was previously above the Colonels in the standings, split with Salve Regina and were swept by Nichols this weekend, which took the Hawks out of the last spot. With the other games final, the Colonels were able to hang around long enough to maneuver their way to a playoff berth.
After suffering a sweep at the hands of Western New England in the regular-season finale on Saturday, the Colonels finished their CCC schedule with a 6-10 record, good enough to earn the right to fight another day.
Curry will be paired with the three seed, Salve Regina, who finished 10-4 in the conference when the playoffs open on Thursday, May 5.