SALEM, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University baseball team opened Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play with a doubleheader split on the road against Salem State University on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
The Bears took game one by a score of 7-4 with Reed Pike (Bellingham, Mass.) leading the BSU offense with three RBI. Stephen Keskinidis (Stoneham, Mass.) tossed a complete game and struck out nine batters to lead the Vikings to a 14-1 win in the nightcap and a split of the twinbill.
Bridgewater State is now 7-9 on the season and 1-1 in the MASCAC, while Salem State goes to 10-11 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
Working quickly through the first two frames, Steve Leavitt (Peabody, Mass,) kept the Bears off the scoreboard until midway through the third inning. Bridgewater State starter Connor Birch (Bellingham, Mass.) was just as effective as he stuck out the side in the first and allowed just one run over the first five innings.
The Bears' offense helped out Birch with a five-run third inning. Leavitt gave up six consecutive hits, including an RBI triple from Matt Cassese (Taunton, Mass.) that scored Anthony Licciardello (Haverhill, Mass.), who singled to start off the inning. Pike followed with an RBI single up the middle that scored Cassese to put the Bears ahead 2-0. After leadoff hitter Ryan Kelleher (Danvers, Mass.) reached on an infield single, Matt Levasseur (Milton, Mass.) extended the Bears' lead to 3-0 when he drove in Pike with an RBI single to right field. Kelleher scored on a wild pitch and Ryan Feeney (East Bridgewater, Mass.) made it 5-0 with a run scoring single to center field.
The Vikings got on the board with a run in the fourth as Birch walked four in the inning with Joe Kasper (Lynn, MA) crossing the plate.
Pike knocked in two more runs with a bloop single to the right center field gap that scored Licciardello and Zack Churchey (West Wareham, Mass.) in the sixth.
Nick Day (Lynn, Mass,) mashed a solo homerun over the center field wall in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Vikings' deficit to 7-2.
Salem State had one last chance at a comeback. The Vikings added two more runs off reliever Mike Nader (Hollywood, Fla.) after a White two-run single, but couldn't add anything more as Nader prevented more damage to secure the 7-4 win.
Birch (2-1) got the win with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work while allowing only two runs. Leavitt (1-3) drew the loss as he tossed 5.2 innings as well, striking out five and allowing eight runs (seven earned).
Pike led the Bears' offense with a 2-for-3 day with three RBI's. Licciardello also added two runs scored while he went 2-for-3 from the plate. White drove in half of Salem State's runs with the two-run single in the bottom of the seventh.
After giving up three consecutive singles to start off the game, Keskinidis buckled down after the one-run inning and shut down the Bears the rest of the way to earn a complete game win.
Meanwhile, the Vikings had an outburst of offense that gave them a 3-1 lead after two innings played. Brandon Greene (Winchester, Mass.) drove in two runs with a single to right field that scored White and Kasper. Zac Duval (Middleton, Mass.) added an RBI fielder's choice ground out that brought in Day.
Salem State tacked on two more runs in the third to make it a 5-1 game. Greene struck again with a two-run double to the left center field gap that scored White and Kasper.
A five-run, fourth inning put the Vikings in command of the contest. Connors and Greene both brought in two runs apiece with a single and a double. Kasper tacked on a run with an RBI single that scored Tyler Galimi (Northbridge, Mass.).
Salem State closed out the scoring with four more runs in the sixth as Connors, Kasper, Day, and Greene all connected for RBI singles to raise their lead to 14-1.
Keskinidis allowed one unearned run and scattered eight hits with no walks in the complete game effort.
Three Bridgewater pitchers were roughed up for 14 runs (11 earned) on 15 hits and four walks. Samuel Devine (3-1) drew the loss as he only worked into the third inning.
Greene had a huge day at the plate going a perfect 4-for-4 with six runs batted in while Kasper was also a perfect 4-for-4 with four runs scored. White finished 3-for-3 with four runs scored. Connors added three RBI's with a 2-for-4 day while scoring three times as well.
Levasseur (2-for-3) and Feeney (2-for-3) finished with two hits apiece the highlight the BSU offense. Levasseur scored the Bears' only run of the game in the top of the first on Feeney's RBI single.
Feeney extended his season-long hitting streak to 16 games with a hit in the first game and two more in the second.
Both teams host MASCAC doubleheaders on Sunday afternoon at one. The Vikings welcome the Trailblazers of the MCLA, while the Bears entertain the Owls of Westfield State University.