WALTHAM, Mass. – Despite four hits from sophomore third baseman Mike Samko (Arlington/ BB&N School), the Bentley University baseball team dropped a pair of one-run games to 14th-ranked Southern New Hampshire University, 1-0 and 5-4, as the Falcons opened their home and Northeast-10 Conference schedule at DeFelice Field Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore righty Jake Walkinshaw (Seymour, Conn.) saved both games for the Penmen, who improved to 17-2 overall and 3-0 in the NE-10's Northeast Division. Bentley dropped to 5-12 overall and 0-2 Northeast.
The opener was a pitchers' duel between Bentley junior righty Will Alden (Westford/Westford Academy) and SNHU senior lefty Tim Viehoff (Derry, N.H.). Alden tossed a complete game three-hitter with one walk and six strikeouts. Viehoff, before giving way to Walkinshaw with one out in the ninth, matched Alden in the strikeout column while allowing five hits and two walks.
The only run of the game came in the fourth inning following a two-out error. Junior center fielder Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn.) reached on the miscue and scored on a double to left by right fielder Ryan Gendron (Nashua, N.H.).
Bentley, which did not have a runner reach third, had its best scoring opportunity in the ninth following a one-out walk to center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater/Xaverian Bros. HS) and a single by first baseman Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport/Newburyport HS). However, Walkinshaw came in from the pen and got a game-ending double play on his second pitch.
In game two, Bentley jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Samko led off with a single and scored on the Penmen's second error of the inning. Later in the first, freshman right fielder Brandon Grover (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill HS) drove in sophomore DH Nick Neshe (Waltham/Waltham HS) with a double to left.
Samko reached on a two-out error in the second and scored on Muir's single to center, making it a 3-0 game. After SNHU scored twice in the top of the third, Bentley got one back in the bottom of the inning when senior second baseman Zachary Littman (Abington/Abington HS) walked, stole second and scored on back-to-back grounders to second.
Down 4-3 after five, the Penmen grabbed the lead, and completed the game's scoring, in the sixth with two runs. SNHU had four hits in the inning, including RBI singles by junior first baseman Derek Bauer (Millis) and sophomore pinch-hitter Matt Rabbito (Chelmsford).
Sophomore righty Ivan Clough (Dublin, N.H.) earned the win with five innings of two-hit scoreless relief. Walkinshaw came in for the final two innings and struck out four while allowing just one hit.
Samko had three hits for the Falcons and Muir finished with two in a game that saw the Falcons outhit 11-7.
The two teams are tentatively scheduled to play again on Tuesday, a game that was postponed on Friday.