NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Freshman first baseman Justin Ashworth (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional HS) broke a 2-2 tie with an RBI single in the top of the tenth inning and the Bentley University Falcons went on to record a 5-2 win over Merrimack College in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division baseball Thursday afternoon at Warrior Field.
The come-from-behind victory lifted the Falcons (21-14, 12-5 Northeast) past Southern New Hampshire into second in the division, a half-game back of idle Franklin Pierce.
Bentley, held scoreless for the first eight innings, rallied to tie the game in the ninth, a comeback ignited by a lead-off single to left by freshman second baseman Burton Deady (Andover/Andover HS). Senior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) followed with a single to right, and after a ground out, the Falcons got on the board when Deady scored on a base hit to left by junior center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater/Xaverian Bros. HS). Following a pitching change, Brennan scored the tying run on an error by the shortstop.
Sophomore catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth/Dighton-Rehoboth HS) led off the tenth with a single down the right field line. After he stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch, he scored on Ashworth's single to left. It was the second time this year Bentley scored the winning run in the tenth on a hit by Ashworth, who had a walk-off against St. Thomas Aquinas in mid-March.
The Falcons added to their lead with an RBI single to left center by Brennan, his third hit of the afternoon, and an RBI double to left by senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS). Senior left fielder Sean Keady (Norwood/Norwood HS) scored on Brennan's hit, becoming the fifth player in program history to amass 150 career runs.
Junior lefty David Long (Brookfield, Conn./Brookfield HS) pitched all ten innings for the Falcons, with the victory evening his record at 3-3. He allowed seven hits, blanked the Warriors over the final seven innings and struck out seven, including the side in order in the tenth.
An RBI double by sophomore first baseman Matt Brown (Belmont) gave Merrimack (20-19, 8-10 Northeast) a 1-0 lead in the first and the Warriors picked up their second run in the third on a sacrifice fly by sophomore third baseman Frank Crinella (Springfield).
Bentley finished with 11 hits, all but three coming in the final two innings. Before the ninth, the Falcons' best scoring opportunity came in the seventh when they had runners on the corner with one out and two in scoring position with two outs.
In addition to the three hits by Brennan, Ashworth and Nagy each had a pair for the Falcons.
Bentley is scheduled to begin a three-game home series with Assumption College Thursday at 3:30 pm.