WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior designated hitter Dante Padovani (Lynnfield/Lynnfield HS) had a three-run double and senior righty Scott Lueders (Mansfield/Newton South HS) went the distance on the mound as Bentley University won for the ninth time in its last ten games, besting Merrimack College 7-3 in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division baseball Wednesday afternoon at DeFelice Field.
Bentley improved to 10-8 overall, 6-1 against conference opponents and a division-leading 4-1, good for a one-game advantage over both Southern New Hampshire and Saint Anselm College. Merrimack, 12-8 overall, dropped to 6-3 NE-10 and 2-2 Northeast despite having a 10-8 hit advantage.
Down 1-0 early, Bentley struck for four runs in the bottom of the third. A two-run triple to right by senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS) put the Falcons in front and Nagy made it a 3-1 game when he scored on a ground out by junior center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater/ Xaverian Bros. HS). Later in the inning, Padovani singled and scored on a single to center by freshman first baseman Justin Ashworth (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional HS).
An inning after the Warriors got one run back in the sixth, the Falcons opened the game up with three runs. Like the third, the table was set with a leadoff single by senior left fielder Sean Keady (Norwood/Norwood HS). After a single by senior third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose/Malden Catholic HS) and a walk to Muir filled the bases, Padovani cleared them with a double to right.
Lueders, who evened his record at 2-2, needed only 93 pitches during the route-going performance, using an average of just 2.7 pitches per batter. He scattered ten hits, walked just one and struck out three while being helped out by a pair of double plays.
Sophomore DH Matt Brown (Belmont) led the Merrimack offense with four singles and two RBI. Junior righty Tim Cashman (Rowley), who entered the game 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA, gave up six runs and seven hits in his six innings of work. He threw 116 pitches, an average of four per batter, and finished with four strikeouts and three walks.
Bentley, in the midst of a six-game homestand, will host Pace University Friday at 3:30 pm and Saturday at 1 pm.