WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior right-hander Will Alden (Westford/Westford Academy) struck out 12, the most by a Falcon in four years, and his teammates supported him with 15 hits as Bentley University extended its winning streak to four with a 6-2 win over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division baseball Wednesday afternoon at DeFelice Field.
Bentley's offensive attack included four hits from graduate student and first baseman Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport/Newburyport HS), along with three apiece from senior second baseman Zachary Littman (Abington/Abington HS) and junior shortstop Justin Ashworth (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional HS).
Stonehill, which had won five straight and 11 of its last 13, got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the third inning. Sophomore third baseball Isiah Nunez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led off with a triple and scored on a single from senior second baseman Chris Hoyt (Walpole). Hoyt stole second, went to third on a throwing error and came home on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, Bentley got one run back. Ashworth led off with a single to left, senior catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth/Dighton-Rehoboth Reg. HS) followed with an infield single, both advanced 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt and Ashworth scored on a ground out by sophomore third baseman Mike Samko (Arlington/BB&N).
An inning later, a balk moved O'Connor, who had reached on a fielder's choice, into scoring position with one out. Littman doubled down the left field line, the ball ricocheting off the third baseman's glove into foul territory, with O'Connor scoring the tying run on the play. After a couple errors extended the inning, Ashworth singled up the middle, driving in Littman with the go-ahead run.
In the fifth, Muir reached on a single to short, stole second and scored on O'Connor's single through the right side, just eluding the catcher's tag.
Bentley added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning. Included was Muir's fourth sacrifice fly in a span of three games.
Alden, who was helped out by a couple double plays, faced only 20 batters over the final six innings, giving up just two singles and a walk during that span.
Bentley improved to 13-21 overall, 8-11 in the conference and 5-10 in the division with its second win in three games over the Skyhawks this season. Stonehill, number six in this week's NCAA Division II East Region rankings, dropped to 23-14 overall, 11-7 NE-10 and 8-6 Northeast.
Bentley will be on the road this weekend for a three-game series at St. Michael's, beginning with a doubleheader at noon Saturday.