WINTER PARK, Fla. – Rollins College enior catcher Sean Reilly (Westwood, Mass.) drove in three runs, including two in the first inning to stake his club to the early lead, and the Tars held off visiting Bentley University, 5-3, in non-conference college baseball Sunday afternoon at Alfond Stadium.
Rollins being able to escape the eighth inning with the lead was the key to the Tars completing the four-game series sweep.
With his team trailing 4-1, Falcon senior shortstop Vinnie Eruzione (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop HS) led off the eighth with an infield single and took second on a wild pitch. Sophomore center fielder Sean Keady (Norwood, Mass./Norwood HS) followed with another infield single, giving the Falcons runners on the corners.
Sophomore DH Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) delivered an RBI single to score Eruzione, cutting the deficit to one. Junior second baseman Logan Gillis (Merrimack, N.H./Lawrence Academy) hit a ground ball to short, but the throw to second was off the mark, allowing Keady to score and giving Bentley runners on first and third, still with no out.
However, a 5-4-3 double play erased Gillis and senior lefty Ben Blanton (Stamford, Conn.) came in from the bullpen to get an inning-ending strikeout, preserving the 4-3 lead. Rollins (7-3) went on to pick up an insurance run in the bottom of the inning.
Down 2-0 through four, Bentley picked up its first run of the afternoon in the top of the fifth. Three straight hits from senior left fielder Mark Lane (Tyngsboro, Mass./Tyngsboro HS), senior catcher Greg Baggett (East Bridgewater, Mass./East Bridgewater HS) and sophomore third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose, Mass./Malden Catholic HS) loaded the bases with no outs. Following a fielder's choice, a sacrifice fly by Keady plated Baggett before Witkowski was thrown out at third to end the inning.
Gillis, the team's top hitter with a .308 average, and Baggett each had two of Bentley's ten hits. Rollins finished with nine off a quartet of Falcon pitchers with three of those produced by senior second baseman Josh Band (Peabody, Mass.).
Junior righty Jeff Croteau (Auburn, Mass./Auburn HS) was the most effective Falcon pitcher as he struck out two during his only inning of work, a 1-2-3 seventh. Senior righty Matt Howard (Norwalk, Conn.) earned the win for Rollins with five innings of five-hit, one-run pitching.
Bentley, 0-7, will be back at Rollins Mar. 2-4 for games against Saint Anselm and Assumption.