MANCHESTER, N.H. – A game-ending strikeout by Saint Anselm sophomore righty John Lavoie (Medford, Mass.) to the only batter he faced left the bases loaded and gave the Hawks a sweep of their Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division baseball doubleheader with Bentley University Saturday afternoon at Sullivan Park. Saint Anselm claimed the nightcap 8-7 after using six unearned runs to prevail 7-2 in the opener.
With the Falcons down two heading into the final inning, Bentley junior shortstop Zachary Littman (Abington, Mass./Abington HS) led off the ninth with a single to right. A one-out single to left by senior center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater, Mass./Xaverian Bros. HS) put two on and after the second of three strikeouts in the inning, senior first baseman Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport, Mass./ Newburyport HS) cut the deficit to one with an RBI single to left.
After junior catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth HS) walked to fill the bases, Lavoie came in from the bullpen to fan Falcon freshman third baseman Mike Samko (Arlington, Mass./BB&N), notching his first save of the season. Samko was looking for at least his fourth RBI of the contest.
Bentley (9-18, 7-8 NE-10 Northeast) took leads of 4-2 in the fourth and 5-4 in the fifth but gave up a total of six runs in those two innings to fall behind 8-5. Samko had a two-run single and sophomore second baseman Burton Deady (Andover, Mass./Andover HS) recorded a sacrifice fly during the three-run fourth and senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS) went the opposite way for his ninth home run of the spring in the fifth.
Saint Anselm (13-23, 7-13 NE-10 Northeast) erupted for four runs in the fifth on the strength of three hits, a walk, an error and a sacrifice fly. Sophomore second baseman Matt Flynn (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) had an RBI single, freshman designated hitter Dan Bodi (Westford, Mass.) scored on a wild pitch, freshman catcher Shaine Carpenter (Florham Park, N.J.) had an RBI single and junior center fielder Ken Morrisino (East Longmeadow, Mass.) scored on a throwing error.
Bentley got one back in the sixth on an RBI single through the right side by Samko.
The Falcons' 12 hits included three apiece by O'Connor and Nagy, the team's leading hitters with averages of .359 and .352. Both have double-digit hitting streaks, Nagy 14 and O'Connor 11. For Saint Anselm, Flynn and Morrisino each had three hits.
The opener saw Bentley take a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI triple to right center by Muir. The advantage was short-lived as Saint Anselm answered with two in the bottom half of the inning, all the damage being done after the first two Hawks to bat struck out looking. Following a single and a throwing error, sophomore third baseman Nick Bragole (Newburyport, Mass.) put his team in front to stay with a two-run triple to right center.
Down 3-1 entering the fifth, the Falcons got one back when Nagy made back-to-back walks hurt with an RBI single through the left side.
Saint Anselm restored the lead to two with a run in the sixth and broke it open with three more in the seventh, all scoring after the Falcons' third error of the game.
Bragole and senior right fielder Joe Morin (Salem, N.H.) both had three hits for Saint Anselm, which outhit the visitors 14-8 and received a complete game effort from senior righty Dave Kent (North Falmouth, Mass.).
Bentley will be back in the Queen City on Sunday for a noon contest at nationally-ranked Southern New Hampshire.