CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Bentley University Falcons scored three times in the bottom of the ninth but their comeback bid fell just short in a 6-5 loss to the University of Minnesota-Crookston Friday afternoon in non-conference college baseball at Jack Russell Stadium.
With his team down 6-2, Bentley center fielder and grad student Mike Muir (Bridgewater, Mass./Xaverian Bros. HS) led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to right center. Singles by grad student/first baseman Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport HS) and freshman right fielder Brandon Grover (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill HS) followed, with Grover driving in Muir.
Following a one-out infield single by junior shortstop Justin Ashworth (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional HS) that loaded the bases, sophomore Nick Neshe (Waltham, Mass./Waltham HS) plated two runs with a single up the middle, bringing the Falcons within one at 6-5.
The Golden Eagles (6-5) went to the bullpen, calling upon freshman righty Zach Seipel (Eagan, Minn.). He retired the first batter he faced and issued a two-out walk to load the bases before closing it out with a liner to first, stranding the tying run 90 feet away.
UMC opened a 5-0 lead with three runs in the third and two more in the fourth, and made it a 6-1 game with an insurance run in the top of the eighth. The Falcons scored a run in the sixth on an infield single by freshman left fielder Cameron Cruz (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton HS) and another in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by sophomore third baseman Mike Samko (Arlington, Mass./BB&N).
Neshe, who pitched a scoreless ninth, had three of Bentley's ten hits and Cruz finished two of five.
Sophomore third baseman Jason Angelo (Manteca, Calif.) and senior DH Kenny Perez (Orlando, Fla.) each drove in two for the Golden Eagles, supporting the pitching of senior righty Nolan Wahlberg (Blaine, Minn.), who is now 3-1 on the season.
The two teams will complete their three-game series Saturday at noon.