BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University baseball team split a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) doubleheader with visiting Fitchburg State University on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Park. Bridgewater State won the first game in walk-off fashion, 4-3 in eight innings, while the Fitchburg State earned the split with a 7-0 victory in the nightcap.
The host Bears see their record go to 9-14 on the season and 6-6 in the MASCAC, while the visiting Falcons are now 18-7 overall and 9-2 in conference play.
Freshman Ruben Gonzalez' (Stoughton, Mass.) walk-off, suicide squeeze base hit in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Bears to a 4-3 extra inning victory in the opener.
With the score tied at 3-3 in the home half of the eighth, freshman David Skiendiel (Norton, Mass.) got the rally started with a base hit up the middle and moved to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by classmate Liam Bell (Wells, Maine). With the count two balls and one strike, Gonzalez laid a bunt down towards first and Skiendiel easily raced home with the game-winning run.
The Bears opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first inning. A base hit by Gonzalez and a walk to senior Kevin Bresciani (Hopedale, Mass.) followed by a double steal put runners on second and third with two outs. Senior Dominic Precopio (Framingham, Mass.) beat out an infield single to third to plate Gonzalez with the first run of the game.
The Falcons took advantage of a pair of wild pitches to knot the score at 1-1 in the top of the third. Junior Brandon Lefebvre (Leominster, Mass.) singled to lead off the frame, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on another wild pitch. Lefebvre would score on sophomore Nicholas Cordeau's (Melrose, Mass.) RBI fielder's choice ground out.
Fitchburg took a 2-1 lead in the fourth as freshman Brendan Ferrell (Plymouth, Mass.) led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a ground out to the right side and trotted home on classmate Vincent Eramo's (Shirley, Mass.) long sacrifice fly.
The Bears rallied for a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to reclaim the lead. Junior Tyler Rondeau (Bourne, Mass.) walked to lead off the inning and reached second safely when the pitcher threw wide of the bag on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Bresciani walked two batters later to load the bases and junior Jonathan Livolsi (Bridgewater, Mass.) followed with a two-run double down the left field line off Fitchburg senior reliever Andrew Dunn (Danvers, Mass.).
A nice leaping grab by Lefebvre, the Falcons' shortstop, with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the sixth kept it a one-run game.
Fitchburg loaded the bases with one out in the seventh on Lefebvre's double followed by a hit by pitch and a walk. Cordeau was then hit by a pitch to force in Lefebvre with the game-tying run. One out later, BSU sophomore Michael Catanoso (Marshfield, Mass.) made a fine running catch in center field to keep the game deadlocked.
Bridgewater did not score in the bottom of the seventh as the game headed to extra innings.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision. Senior Jarrett Archambault (Seekonk, Mass.) gave up two runs on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts for the Bears, while sophomore Ryan Towle (Westfield, Mass.) allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts for the Falcons. Archambault also hit two batters.
Sophomore David Kerns (Cambridge, Mass.) picked up the win in relief for Bridgewater State. Kerns (2-1) worked the final three innings allowing one run on three hits with a pair of walks and two strikeouts. He also hit two batters.
Sophomore Shaun Gamelin (West Kingston, R.I.) suffered the loss on the mound for Fitchburg State. Gamelin (1-2) gave up one run on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with a run and the game-winning RBI to pace the BSU offense.
Lefebvre finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and two runs scored.
Senior lefthander Tommy Parsons (Peabody, Mass.) tossed a complete game, three-hit shutout to lead the Falcons to a 7-0 victory in the nightcap and a split of the doubleheader. Parsons (3-0) walked four and struck out nine.
The Falcons jumped out in front with a five-run first inning. The Falcons banged out four hits in the frame including a pair of RBI singles by senior Noah Milliard (Leominster, Mass.) and junior Joshua Macomber (Berkley, Mass.) and a two-run single off the bat of junior Alexander Bissanti (Franklin, Mass.). Eramo also knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Eramo singled, stole second and scored on junior Brennan Cuddahy's (Leominster, Mass.) RBI base hit to give Fitchburg a 6-0 lead in the fifth.
The Falcons tacked on an unearned run in the sixth to make it a 7-0 game. Junior Matthew Pingitore (Rutland, Mass.) reached on an error to open the frame, moved to third on Cordeau's base hit and raced home on Ferrell's sacrifice fly.
Senior Shawn Smeglin (Wakefield, Mass.) allowed five runs on four hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning in the setback for the Bridgewater State. Senior lefthander Greg Cavaioli (Leominster, Mass.) pitched well in relief for the Bears. Cavaioli gave up just a hit and a walk in 3 1/3 innings of scoreless ball.
Lefebvre went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles to pace the Falcons' nine-hit attack, while Cuddahy singled and walked twice in three plate appearances with a run and an RBI.
BSU junior Lewis Robinson (New Britain, Conn.) recorded two of three Bears' hits.
The Fitchburg defense turned three double plays in game two.
Both teams are back in action on Thursday afternoon at 3:30. The Bears travel to Gordon College, while the Falcons head to conference rival MCLA.