MANCHESTER, N.H. – Senior right-hander Derrick Sylvester (Franklin, N.H.) allowed only three hits and struck out 15 as top-seeded Southern New Hampshire University ousted fourth-seeded Bentley University, 9-1, in the opening round of the Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Championships Wednesday afternoon at Penmen Field.
The Penmen, ranked 18th in Division II by Collegiate Baseball, improved to 36-12 overall and will host the double-elimination portion of the championships, beginning Friday. Bentley finished its season at 22-18.
SNHU established control with four runs in the bottom of the second, scoring all four after two were out. Junior DH Bryan Toland (Wildwood, N.J.) provided Sylvester with all the runs he would need with a two-run triple following a pair of singles earlier in the inning. Toland stole home, as part of a double steal, to make it a 3-0 game, and senior center fielder Brendan O'Brien (Bridgewater, Mass.) had an RBI single.
The Penmen added two unearned runs in the third and made it an 8-0 game in the fourth. Like Toland two innings before, O'Brien stole home as part of a double steal, and senior third baseman Riley Palmer (Goffstown, N.H.) followed with an RBI triple.
Bentley's only run was scored in the sixth inning. Senior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) hit a two-out double to left and senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./ Ludlowe HS) brought him home with a single to center.
Brennan, a first-team All-Conference honoree, accounted for two of the team's three hits as he also had a single to left center in the first inning.
O'Brien and junior first baseman Alejandro Diaz (Old Bridge, N.J.) each had three hits for Southern New Hampshire, and all nine batters in the Penmen order scored once.
Sylvester, one of two eight-game winners in the conference, improved to 8-2 as the Penmen avenged a loss to the Falcons in the opening round of last year's championships and a doubleheader sweep by Bentley in late March. He walked two and hit one in his complete game effort.
Junior All-Conference lefty Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport HS) took the loss for Bentley after being charged with six runs (four earned) in 2.1 innings. The Falcons used a total of seven pitchers with senior Scott Lueders (Mansfield, Mass./Newton South HS) and freshmen Jack Burke (Reading, Mass./St. John's Prep) and Nick Taber (Eastham, Mass./Nauset Reg. HS) each turning in a scoreless inning.
It was the final career game for Brennan and three other Falcon starters: third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose, Mass./Malden Catholic HS), designated hitter Dante Padovani (Lynnfield, Mass./Lynnfield HS) and left fielder Sean Keady. Nagy and Lueders plan to return next spring for their final year of eligibility.