WINTER PARK, Fla. – The University of Bridgeport Purple Knights took advantage of two ninth-inning errors to score three times and went on to record a 5-2 victory over Bentley University in non-conference college baseball Thursday afternoon at Rollins College's Alfond Stadium.
Purple Knight senior shortstop John Ascenzia (West Haven, Conn.) led off the top of the ninth with a single and moved to second on an errant throw by senior center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater, Mass./Xaverian Bros. HS), a 2014 ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove winner. It was his first error in 184 chances, dating back to April 2012.
After a walk and a ground out put two in scoring position, pinch-hitter Brian Kondor (Shelton, Conn.) grounded to short. Ascenzia scored on the play and when the throw home was off the mark, another run came in. Later in the inning, a single to center by freshman DH Jose Negron (New Haven, Conn.) made it a 5-2 game.
Bentley opened the bottom of the ninth with its first two hitters reaching, junior shortstop Zachary Littman (Abington, Mass./Abington HS) on a single to right and freshman second baseman Mike Samko (Arlington, Mass./BB&N) on a walk. However, consecutive strikeouts and a game-ending grounder to short ended the Falcons' hopes of a comeback.
It was the second time in three innings that Bentley had two on with no outs and failed to score. In the seventh, Samko led off with a double to left center and senior DH Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport HS) was hit by a pitch. This time, Bridgeport used a strikeout, a fly ball and a ground out to escape unscathed.
After Bridgeport grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first, Bentley put two on the scoreboard in the second. Littman drew a one-out walk, O'Connor hit a double down the left field line and sophomore first baseman Justin Ashworth (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional HS) brought both in with a double to left.
Ashworth's hit was the Falcons' only one of the afternoon with runners in scoring position, Bentley finishing 1 for 11 in that category.
Samko was the only Falcon to have more than one hit as he had two of the team's six. Ascenzio and Negron each had a pair for the 1-5 Purple Knights, who finished with only seven.
Senior right-hander Bill Sullivan (Carver, Mass./Carver HS) turned in a solid mound effort for Bentley despite being charged with the loss. In 8.1 innings, he allowed six hits and three earned runs with two walks and four strikeouts. He was able to go deep into the contest by virtue of throwing only 88 pitches, 59 of which were strikes.
Bentley, 2-8, and Bridgeport will continue the three-game series with games at 10 am Friday and 2 pm Saturday. Both of those contests will be played at the University of Tampa.