March 25, 2012

Croteau, Ashline Pitch Bentley to Doubleheader Sweep of Pace & 4-0 Weekend in New York

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Junior right-hander Jeff Croteau (Auburn, Mass./Auburn HS) broke the school record for consecutive scoreless innings en route to a game one victory and classmate JP Ashline (Clinton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Reg. HS) duplicated Croteau's nine-hit complete game in the nightcap as Bentley University swept Pace University, 3-2 and 6-3, in Northeast-10 Conference non-divisional baseball Sunday afternoon at Finnerty Field.

The sweep completed a 4-0 weekend trip to New York for the Falcons, who have now won seven of their last eight and nine of their last 11. Bentley climbed over .500 to 12-11, including 12-4 against NCAA Division II East Region opposition, and Pace fell under that same measuring point, to 9-10.

Croteau, coming off a shutout of Bridgeport Mar. 15, blanked the Setters until the seventh inning. That ran is scoreless skein to 21.2 innings, replacing the 20.2 recorded by Tim Bryant in 2004 as the longest in the program's history.

Croteau, now 2-1 on the season, lowered his ERA to 2.10 while scattering nine hits and not allowing a walk. He struck out one batter during the game.

Bentley opened the game's scoring in the third inning. After three walks loaded the bases, senior first baseman Lamarre Rey (Lynn, Mass./Pingree School) singled to left to give the Falcons the lead.

The top of the seventh inning saw grad student and right fielder Bryant Johnson (Hopedale, Mass./Milford HS) follow a single by junior second baseman Logan Gillis (Merrimack, N.H./Lawrence Academy) with his third home run of the season.

Those two runs proved big as Pace matched them in the bottom of the inning  with both junior Joe Solomeno (Holbrook, N.Y.) and senior Joe  Lombardi (Briarcliff, N.Y.) scoring on a double by senior Tyler Collins (Stamford, Conn.).

Following the two-run double, Croteau closed out the game by retiring seven of the final eight batters he faced, with a double play erasing the one batter who reached.

The Falcons outhit the Setters 10-9 with sophomore third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose, Mass./Malden Catholic HS) the only Bentley player with two.

Bentley took control of game two with a five-run fifth turning a 1-0 Pace lead into a 5-1 Falcon advantage. After singles by senior DH Kevin Korwek (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand HS) and Witkowski put runners on the corners, a single to center by senior catcher Greg Baggett (East Bridgewater, Mass./ East Bridgewater HS) drove in the tying run.

Following a pitching change, sophomore shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) greeted reliever Josh Grant (Corning, N.Y.) with a single, plating Witkowski with the go-ahead run. A two-run single by freshman center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater, Mass./Xaverian Bros. HS) made it 4-1 and a sacrifice fly by Gillis put the finishing touches on the big inning.

Bentley added an insurance run in the sixth with Rey scoring on a Brennan sacrifice fly to right.

Ashline pushed his record to 3-0 with his complete game effort. He struck out five, including two of three batters in the ninth, and walked three.

Bentley's 12 hits included two apiece by sophomore left fielder Sean Keady (Norwood, Mass./ Norwood HS), Muir, Korwek, Witkowski, Baggett and Brennan.

Bentley begins a four-game homestand Wednesday at 3:30 pm against Merrimack.

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