9th Inning Rally Enables Bentley to Walk Off with 10th Win in 11 Games

Will Brennan
Will Brennan

WALTHAM, Mass. – Facing a 2-1 deficit, red-hot Bentley University scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth to earn a 3-2 walk-off win over Rollins College in non-conference college baseball at DeFelice Field Sunday afternoon. Bentley's fifth straight win gave the Falcons a 10-1 record over the last 15 days and an 18-3 record since March 28.

The decisive ninth began with junior left fielder Dante Padovani (Lynnfield/Lynnfield HS) reaching on an error and junior center fielder Sean Keady (Norwood/Norwood HS) beating out an infield single.  Following a pitching change and a sacrifice bunt, senior second baseman Logan Gillis (Merrimack, N.H./Lawrence Academy) was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Senior catcher Kevin Korwek (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand HS), the team's best hitter with runners in scoring position, flied to left for the second out.

That left the game up to junior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) and he came through. His sharply-hit ball to short handcuffed Yuta Okazaki (Greenwich, Conn.) and kicked into left for a single, with senior pinch-runner Lamarre Rey (Lynn/Pingree School) and the speedy Keady both scoring on the play, giving the Falcons their 25th win.

Bentley got on the board first with Korwek opening the second by extending his hitting streak to 24 with a double to left. Brennan's grounder moved him to short and he scored on a sacrifice fly by junior third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose/Malden Catholic HS).

The slim lead disappeared in the sixth. Okazaki led off with a double to right, took third on an error and scored on a squeeze put down by senior second baseman Steven Betcherman (Toronto, Ont.).

Rollins (22-19-1) jumped away with a run in the eighth. Junior center fielder Zach Persky (Solon, Ohio) opened the frame with a single to center. He stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on a single through the left side by senior first baseman Brian Lattanzi (Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Rollins outhit the Falcons 8-4 with both team's leadoff hitters, Persky and Keady, the only players to have two hits.

Junior Scott Lueders (Mansfield/Newton South HS) notched his first career victory with two innings of relief. He allowed the go-ahead run in the eighth and a total of four hits, but stranded runners on the corners in the ninth to give Bentley a chance. Sophomore lefty Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport/ Newburyport HS) pitched the first seven for the Falcons, allowing four hits and one run while striking out seven.

Bentley, 25-16 overall after its third one-run win in a little more than 24 hours, will be on the road Monday at Saint Anselm to complete a halted game from April 1. Play will resume in the top of the fifth with the Falcons on the short end of a 5-2 score.