WINTER PARK, Fla. – Sophomores Chris Volberg (Farmingdale, N.Y./St. Dominic HS), Burton Deady (Andover, Mass./Andover HS) and Justin Ashworth (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional HS) each recorded an RBI during a three-run second inning that lifted Bentley University to a 3-2 win over defending NCAA Division II East Regional champion St. Thomas Aquinas College in non-conference college baseball Sunday afternoon at Rollins College's Alfond Stadium.
The three runs proved to be enough for a trio of Falcon pitchers, who combined to scatter 11 hits. Senior righty Connor Root (Nashua, N.H./Nashua HS North) pitched the first six-and-a-third before being relieved by sophomore lefty Evan Walsh (Arlington, Mass./Arlington Catholic HS) and senior righty Bill Sullivan (Carver, Mass./Carver HS).
Root, who lowered his ERA to 1.35 while picking up his first victory of the season, allowed nine hits and one unearned run while striking out seven and walking four. Walsh came in for the final two outs in the seventh and stranded runners on second and third. Sullivan pitched the final two for his first career save.
Bentley junior shortstop Zachary Littman (Abington, Mass./Abington HS) led off the second inning with a single up the middle and moved to third on a double to left center by freshman second baseman Mike Samko (Arlington, Mass./BB&N). After grad student Kevin Foley (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug HS) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Volberg drove in Littman with a single to right.
Deady did the same, also on a 2-1 pitch, with Samko scoring the Falcons' second run. Following a strikeout, Ashworth drew a bases loaded walk, forcing in Foley for a 3-0 lead.
St. Thomas Aquinas, playing its first game of the spring, spoiled Root's shutout bid in the fifth when freshman Giovanni Dingcong (Brooklyn, N.Y.) singled and eventually scored on a throwing error.
In the bottom of the ninth, Spartan junior Brandon Fischer (East Northport, N.Y.) lined a one-out triple to right field. Sullivan got Joseph Pena (Brooklyn, N.Y.) on strikes for the second out, but an infield single by junior Nicholas Gargan (Nesconset, N.Y.) kept STAC alive and scored Fischer to make it a one-run contest. Gargan stole second but was thrown out by junior catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth HS) attempting to steal third to end the contest.
Bentley, 1-6 overall, finished with 10 hits, including two apiece by Rocha, senior center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater, Mass./Xaverian Bros. HS) and Littman.
The three-game series between the two teams will continue Monday at 2 pm and conclude Tuesday at 11 am.