WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore left fielder Luke Figueira (Taunton/Taunton HS) homered twice, and also scored two other runs, and junior right-hander Luke Dawson (Stamford, Conn./ Westhill HS) tied the Falcons' single season strikeout record as Bentley University rolled to a 16-4 win over Saint Anselm College in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division baseball Thursday afternoon at DeFelice Field.
The victory, coupled with Stonehill's 5-1 rain-shortened loss to Merrimack, boosted the team's chances of qualifying for the conference playoffs but the Falcons still have work to do to extend the season. Bentley, 18-20 overall, improved to 8-11 division but still trails both Assumption (8-10-1) and Stonehill (8-10-1) in the battle for fourth place.
All three teams have two games left with Bentley closing out the regular season with a Friday doubleheader against Saint Anselm (12 noon, DeFelice Field). Assumption will play two at Southern New Hampshire Friday and Stonehill will play single games against Merrimack Friday and Saturday.
Against the Hawks (11-26, 5-14), Bentley scored in six of the first seven innings, beginning with a four-run first that included three unearned. Graduate catcher Nathan Littman (Abington/Abington HS) doubled and scored the first run on a fielder's choice, sophomore shortstop Chris Hopkins (Malden/ Malden Catholic HS) had a two-run double and junior left fielder Gino Fordiani (Sudbury/Lincoln-Sudbury Reg. HS) had an RBI single.
In the second, senior second baseman Mike Samko (Arlington/BB&N) made it 5-0 with an RBI single and junior right fielder Brandon Grover (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill HS) followed with an RBI triple to right center.
Figueira lined a home down the left field line to make it a 7-0 game after three, and the Falcons added to their total with two runs in the fifth, three in the sixth and four more in the seventh. His fifth round-tripper of the spring, which was also driven to left, accounted for the final two runs of the seventh.
Bentley's 17 hits included three apiece by Samko, who boosted his team-leading average to .386, and sophomore third baseman Jake Pierce (East Bridgewater/East Bridgewater HS). Pierce had two RBI and Samko extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 32 games.
The Falcons' sixth, seventh and eighth hitters combined for seven hits, nine runs scored and eight RBI. Hopkins had two doubles with three RBI and three runs scored in four at bats, Fordiani was 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs, and Figueira finished 2-for-3 with four runs, three RBI and one hit by pitch.
Bentley also received two hits, two runs and two RBI from Grover.
Dawson, who went the distance for his sixth win of the year, struck out two to boost his season total to 90. His second, on the game's final pitch, tied the school record set by Bill Sullivan a year ago.
The NE10 strikeout leader scattered eight hits and was helped out by four double play, as well as a throw from left by Fordiani to gun down a runner at the plate.
For Saint Anselm, sophomore designated hitter Andre Gaudet (Lynn) was 2-for-3 with three RBI.