BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – Junior lefthander Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport HS) pitched his first career shutout, a five-hitter, and his teammates supported him with a five-run ninth inning as Bentley University completed a two-game sweep of LIU Post, 5-0, Saturday afternoon in non-conference college baseball at the LIU Post Baseball Field.
Bentley, which had picked up the winning run in the ninth Friday in a 3-2 win over the Pioneers, rode a two-run single by junior center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater, Mass./Xaverian Bros. HS) and a two-run triple by senior third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose, Mass./Malden Catholic HS) to its third straight victory.
Senior left fielder Sean Keady (Norwood, Mass./Norwood HS) led off the ninth with a single to right center and was sacrificed to second. Senior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) was hit by a pitch and senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS) walked to load the bases.
Muir pulled a single down the right field line, bringing in Keady and Brennan with the game's first run. Following a pitching change, Witkowski hit the first pitch thrown by sophomore righty Christian Stancavage (West Islip, N.Y.) to right center, pushing the lead to 4-0. Later in the inning, he scored the fifth run on a fielder's choice.
The big inning came two innings after the Falcons came up empty after having the bases loaded with no outs. Freshman lefty James Long, who was charged with the loss and the first four runs in the ninth, came in from the bullpen to close the door with a strikeout and a pair of fielder's choices.
O'Connor, who threw 75 of his 110 pitches for strikes, fanned seven and walked only one en route to the victory. He allowed only two base runners to reach third and held the Pioneers (4-5) hitless in 11 at bats with runners on base.
Bentley, held hitless until Keady led off the seventh with a single to left center, finished with four hits. Muir's single in the ninth was not only the game-winner, but it also extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Bentley, 4-7, will play American International in a noon doubleheader Sunday. Due to field conditions out in Springfield, those games will be played at the Haverhill Stadium.