PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Bridgewater State University baseball team picked up its first win of the 2019 season as the Bears rallied from four runs down to post an 8-7 walk-off victory in 12 innings over #23 La Roche College on Thursday afternoon at the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida.
The Bears improve to 1-4 on the season with the victory, while the Redhawks fall to 6-4. La Roche was ranked 23rd in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Division III Preseason Poll and also received votes in the NCBWA/D3baseball.com Preseason Poll.
The win also marked the first collegiate coaching victory for new BSU skipper Greg Zackrison.
With the score tied at 7-7 in the bottom of the 12th, BSU freshman Ruben Gonzalez (Stoughton, Mass.) led of the frame with a base hit up the middle and, one out later, stole second. Gonzalez then came all the way around from second with the game-winning run when senior Dominic Precopio (Framingham, Mass.) reached on an error.
Bridgewater State rallied from a 6-2 deficit with a run in the sixth inning, three in the seventh and one in the eighth.
Gonzalez singled and moved to second on an error to start the rally in the sixth. Two outs later, Gonzalez raced home on senior Kevin Bresciani's (Hopedale, Mass.) RBI single.
The Bears took advantage of a La Roche error in the seventh to push across three runs on a Gonzalez sacrifice fly and junior Jonathan Livolsi's (Bridgewater, Mass.) game-tying, two-run double.
In the eighth, Precopio singled to lead off the frame, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and came around to score the go-ahead run when junior Tyler Rondeau (Bourne, Mass.) reached on a two-base error.
Sophomore Troy Kifer (Hopewood, Pa.) belted a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 7-7 and ultimately send it into extra innings. Kifer's clutch home run came just moments after Bresciana gunned down senior Jonathan Spina (Washington, Pa.) attempting to steal third base. Spina had doubled to lead off the inning.
Neither team threatened until the top of the 12th when sophomore Dylan Urban (Monroeville, Pa.) tripled with two outs. However, BSU sophomore reliever David Kerns (Cambridge, Mass.), who was in his fourth inning of work, got a big strikeout to end the threat.
Kerns (1-1) picked up the win relief as he allowed a run on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
Freshman Tyler Dasilva-Medeiros (Taunton, Mass.) also pitched well for the Bears in relief as he retired all four batters he faced and had a runner erased on the base paths with a caught stealing. Dasilva-Medeiros fanned three in an inning and two-thirds.
Gonzalez went 4-for-5 at the plate with three runs scored and an RBI. He has at least one hit in each of his first five collegiate games and is batting.609 (14-23) over that stretch. Precopio (2-6, R, RBI), Bresciani (2-3, BB, 2RBI) and freshman Liam Bell (Wells, Maine) also finished with multiple hits for the Bears. Bell went 2-for-5 and scored a run in his first collegiate start. Bridgewater banged out 13 hits in the game.
Junior Austin Hoffman (Pittsburgh, Pa.) went 3-for-5 with a double, a walk and two runs scored to pace the Redhawk offense. Spina (2-3, SB, R, RBI) and senior Shane Roebuck (Brownsville, Pa.) added two hits apiece for La Roche. Roebuck went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI.
Sophomore Travis Holman (Economy, Pa.) got the start for La Roche and allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts in five innings of work. Freshman Tre Cunningham (Jeannette, Pa.) gave up the unearned run in the 12th as he was saddled with the loss.
The Bears wrap up their Florida trip on Friday afternoon when they take on SUNY Canton in a doubleheader starting at two. The Redhawks are off until next Wednesday (Mar. 20) when they travel to Marietta College for a one o'clock twinbill with the Pioneers.