Ashline, Witkowski Lead the Way as Bentley Takes Down #12 SNHU to Move into Tie for 1st

Nate Witkowski
Nate Witkowski

MANCHESTER, N.H. --- Senior JP Ashline (Clinton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough Reg. HS) posted his third straight complete game victory and junior third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose, Mass./ Malden Catholic HS) drove in three runs as Bentley University moved into a tie for first in the Northeast-10 Conference's Northeast Division with a 7-1 win over Southern New Hampshire University, the 12th-ranked team in Division II, in college baseball action at Penmen Field Friday afternoon.

The win, the team's fourth of the year over a top 25 team, was the fourth straight and 10th in the last 11 games for the Falcons, who improved to 19-15 overall, 11-7 NE-10 and 7-3 in the Northeast Division. Southern New Hampshire dropped to 25-12 overall, 11-9 conference and 8-5 division.

Ashline, coming off a three-hit shutout of then-nationally-ranked Franklin Pierce, blanked the Penmen until the eighth when he gave up an unearned run, ending his scoreless skein at 19 innings. He walked one, struck out six and allowed only two hits in 12 at bats with runners on base. The victory boosted his record to 1.51 and he lowered his ERA to 1.72 in the process.

Offensive highlights included senior catcher Kevin Korwek (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand HS) and junior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) extending their hitting streaks to 17 and 16 games, respectively, and junior Sean Keady (Norwood, Mass./Norwood HS) tying Rob Ross' Bentley career record for stolen bases (86) with his 27th and 28th of the season.

The scoring for the Falcons began in the second. Brennan led off with a single up the middle, stole second, took third on a ground out and scored on an infield single by junior left fielder Dante Padovani (Lynnfield/Lynnfield HS).

After leaving seven on base through the first four innings, Bentley made it a 3-0 game in the fifth. Junior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS) earned on an error, Korwek walked and Witkowski delivered a two-run two-out double to center.

Bentley, 12-2 since Mar. 30, broke the game open with four in the sixth, with Keady getting things started. He singled up the middle, stole both second and third, and scored on a wild pitch. Later in the inning, Korwek had a two-run single to center and he scored on Witkowski's single to center.

The lone SNHU run came in the eighth. Senior right fielder Jon Minucci (Madison, Conn.) reached on an error, junior second baseman Jamie Wollerman (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.) had a one-out single to give the Penmen two on for the first time, and grad student Andrew Pezzuto (Hastings-on-the-Hudson, N.Y.) plated Minucci with a two-out single to center.

Keady, Witkowski and sophomore first baseman Evan Mondor (Rehoboth, Mass./ Dighton-Rehoboth Reg. HS) each had two hits for the Falcons, and each of the top six batters in the Bentley lineup scored at least once.

SNHU junior righty Derrick Sylvester (Franklin, N.H.) entered the game with a 4-1 record and a 1.59 ERA, but he didn't get through the sixth and was saddled with the loss. In 5.1 innings, he struck out nine, but gave up eight hits, five runs (three earned) and three walks.

The two teams will continue their three-game series Saturday at Penmen Field, with the first pitch of the doubleheader scheduled for noon.