College Baseball: Penmen eliminated from East Regional
With that, the tournament, which started on Thursday with six teams, was narrowed to two — Dowling University of Long Island, NY, and St. Thomas Aquinas of Sparkill, N.Y. — and they’ll meet today to decide the champion.
Fifth-seeded Dowling is the double-elimination tournament’s only unbeaten left, meaning fourth-seeded St. Thomas must win today’s first game, starting at noon at Penmen Field, in order to force a winner-take-all final.
The regional champ will advance to the Division II College World Series, beginning May 24 in Cary, NC.
Saturday’s nightcap — which followed a 4-3 SNHU victory over Wilmington and an 8-5 St. Thomas victory over Felician — saw SNHU (41-14) go without a hit for the first three innings.
Dowling took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Jonathan Cruz and Michael Rizzitello singled. Cruz came home on a single from Rob Veltre and Rizzitello, scored when Vinny Orlando grounded out.
The Golden Eagles took advantage of a pair of walks to add another run in the top of the fifth. Starting SNHU pitcher Mike Robert issued free passes to RJ Going and Daniel Parisi before he was replaced on the mound by Joe McCarthy.
McCarthy induced a ground ball which saw Going thrown out at home, but Cruz drove home Parisi with a ground ball fielder’s choice.
Southern New Hampshire struck back in the bottom of the fifth with two runs of its own, also sparked by a lack of control on the mound. With the bases loaded after a pair of singles and a walk, Mike Mastroberti scored when Tyler Fortanascio walked, and Alejandro Diaz then scored on a wild pitch.
More wildness gave Dowling its fourth run, that coming in the top of the sixth when JC Brandmaier was hit by a Same Fuller picth with the bases loaded for a 402 Golden Eagles advantage.
Back-to-back doubles by Palmer and Mastroberti got SNHU back within a run at 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth.
Second baseman Mike Mastroberti produced the game's biggest hit, a three-run double that scored Manny Cruz (walk), Al Stanton (single) and Goffstown's Riley Palmer (walk) in the top of the sixth inning. Catcher Tyler Fortanascio then came up with a two-out single that scored Mastroberti with the go-ahead run.
"All year we've been coming from behind," Fortanascio said. "Most of our wins are come-from-behind wins."
Criscuolo, who entered the game in relief of starter Cole Warren, retired the last eight batters he faced.
Wilmington scored its three runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Wildcats had only one hit in the inning, but Warren, who pitched for Bedford High School, issued three walks and hit a batter.
Before its four-run sixth, SNHU had scored three runs in the previous 22 innings.
St. Thomas 8, Felician 5: St. Thomas Aquinas scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to break a 5-5 tie and pitcher C.J. Ferriggi overcame a leadoff walk to open the ninth to retire the side and send St. Thomas to today's noon game against Dowling. Felician was eliminated from the tournament with the loss.