College Baseball: Lower part of order has big day for SNHU
HOOKSETT — Among other things, the Southern New Hampshire University baseball team showed off some surprising depth in its batting order Friday.
Designated hitter Joshua Zbierski, catcher Cam Oliveira and second baseman Kyle Ruth — the seven, eight and nine hitters in the SNHU lineup — reached base 11 times in 15 plate appearances as top-seeded SNHU beat fourth-seeded LIU Post, 15-3, in the NCAA Division II tournament’s East Regional at Penmen Field.
Zbierski collected three hits, walked once and scored three runs; Oliveira had two singles, walked twice and scored three runs; and Ruth had three hits and scored once. Each player had two RBIs.
Zbierski’s hits included a two-run home run that gave SNHU (42-9) a 6-2 lead in the third.
“Just because we’re at the bottom of the order I guess you could say it was a little surprising, but we know we have a lot of good hitters in our lineup from top to bottom,” Zbierski said. “It’s always good to get a little extra boost from the bottom of your order.”
Zbierski entered the game batting .287. Ruth and Oliveira were each hitting .200.
Ruth, an Albany, N.Y. resident who lived in Allenstown for a short time when he was 6, hit a two-run homer in the ninth — his first home run of the season — to cap the SNHU scoring.
“The whole lineup hit today,” Ruth said. “Personally, I was seeing the ball deep. As the game went on I got more focused. That last at-bat … I didn’t want to give that one up.”
Junior Mitchell Powers (6-2) earned the win for pitching the first six innings. He allowed a run on five hits and struck out four. Joe DeSarro tossed two innings of relief before Ryan Steffens pitched the ninth.
The Penmen had 17 hits in the game. Third baseman Zach Goldstein and left fielder Derek Bauer also had three hits in the victory. Goldstein finished with three RBIs, and Bauer hit a two-run home run that erased a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first.
Left fielder Kenny Daley, center fielder Rob Andreoli and second baseman Sal Geraci each had two hits for LIU Post (31-19).
“Zbierski’s a guy who’s had a great year at the plate,” SNHU coach Scott Loiseau said. “He’s had a great year for us. Luckily he put some good swings on the ball. Cam Oliveira is a captain who might not have the average and the other numbers, but he always has good at-bats. The thing Kyle (Ruth) did so well today was extend innings and give Goldstein a chance to get the big two-out hit, and I think he had two of them for RBIs.”
SNHU will face third-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas in today’s third game, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. St. Thomas Aquinas beat second-seeded New Haven, 4-1, in Friday’s third game.
Loiseau said junior Jake Stearns (6-0, 2.33 ERA) will start today’s game on the mound.
“We need to make sure the guys do a good job (today),” Loiseau said. “The nice thing is we have our entire bullpen available.”