BENNINGTON, Vt. — A non-conference baseball doubleheader played at Southern Vermont College's Bill Epstein Field Monday saw completely different outcomes as a huge first inning led to a 28-2 SVC win over visiting University of Maine at Presque Isle before the Owls came back with a two-out charge in the top of the seventh to take game two by a 10-5 tally.
Southern Vermont put up a crooked 13 in the bottom of the first in the opener, leading to a program-high 28 runs in the win. The Mountaineers then led by one heading to the seventh of the day-cap, but UMPI got some two-out action going as the Owls put up seven runs on eight straight hits to take a lead they held for the victory.
The Mountaineers remain at .500 for the season with the day's split (9-9) while Presque Isle moves to 4-7 with the share. SVC next visits Bard College on Thursday for a non-league 4 p.m. start, and UMPI is right back in action on Tuesday as it travels to Division I University of Maine for a 5 p.m. first pitch.
GAME 1: Southern Vermont 28, Presque Isle 2
SVC led the whole way in the first game of the day after taking a 13-run lead in the first inning. 11 Mountaineers registered at least one hit as the hosts put up six runs in the third and five more in the fourth. Four runs by Southern Vermont in the sixth helped set the new program mark as a lone UMPI run in the top of the seventh made for the 28-2 final.
Senior center fielder Sal Sciara (Massapequa, N.Y.) went 3-4 out of the lead-off spot with three runs scored and another pair knocked in while senior shortstop Chris Nicastro Jr. (Kenilworth, N.J.) was 2-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Senior first baseman Cody LaBadia (Howes Cave, N.Y.) went 2-4 with a double, a triple, four RBIs and two runs scored while junior third baseman Richard Rios (Pico Rivera, Calif.) had a 3-5 showing, adding five runs scored, two RBIs, a walk and two stolen bases to his line.
SVC junior right-hander Avery Ford (Fairfield, Conn.) moves to 3-0 from the bump after getting the complete-game victory, allowing just six hits and two walks while giving up the two runs. Owl starting righty Andrew Bartlett (Damariscotta, Maine) was strapped with the loss (1-1).
UMPI sophomore catcher Mitch Thayer (Colchester, Vt.) went 2-3 with a run batted in while freshman first baseman Matt Curry (Caribou, Maine) also had a 2-3 performance at the dish, adding a run scored in the effort. Freshman designated hitter Solomon Fast (Phillips, Maine) was 1-3 with an RBI, and freshman shortstop Matt Cauchon (Kingston, Mass.) went 1-3 with a double and a run scored.
After Southern Vermont got out of the first with a double play started by Ford, the Mountaineers wasted no time in taking the lead. Sciara jacked the first pitch he saw to left center for a double, and he soon-after moved to third on a passed ball. Nicastro stepped up to the plate and fired a run-scoring base hit through the left side of the UMPI infield, and it would be all SVC from there. A hit by pitch put a pair of ducks on the pond for LaBadia who roped his triple to left center to bring both runners around.
The hits continued as the Mountaineers batted around the order, Sciara later singling up the middle to score the seventh SVC run of the game. Nicastro followed with a two-run single to left center to extend the lead. LaBadia then tallied his second extra base hit of the inning with a double to center for an additional two RBIs, and the Mountaineers would add another pair for the big 13-0 upper hand.
Thayer knocked a one-out double to right center in the top of the second, but he would be retired trying to score from second on a Curry single as the Mountaineer relay through LaBadia on the shallow infield was in time for the out at home. After UMPI turned a double play with its middle infield to get out of the second, Ford sat the Owls down in order in the top of the third. The home half of the inning then saw SVC add six more runs with some help from a Presque Isle miscue. Rios started the scoring with a single to left, and a bases-loaded hit by pitch would bring him in for the second run of the frame. A two-run error preceded a two-out single through the left side by Southern Vermont junior second baseman RJ Pingitore (Amsterdam, N.Y.) that scored another pair for the Mountaineers to grab a 19-0 advantage.
The Owls got on the scoreboard in the next half inning after the first two batters grounded out, Thayer singling to right center for Cauchon to score from second. SVC came back with five more in the bottom of the box, doing so with three hits and the help of two UMPI mishaps. Included in that stretch was an RBI pinch-high single to left by Southern Vermont senior AJ Watt (Sharon, Conn.). Freshman Jake Sisk(Tallahassee, Fla.) capped the scoring with a pinch hit sacrifice to fly to right that put his team in front 24-1.
That score stood until the bottom of the sixth when SVC chalked up four runs, three coming when junior Fabian Hance (Carolina, Puerto Rico) cranked his first collegiate home run down the line in right, a blast that just stayed fair for the round-tripper. The Owls scratched across one more run in the top of the seventh as a single to left allowed Curry to touch third and head for home, but Ford induced a game-ending double play to seal the triumph.
GAME 2: Presque Isle 10, Southern Vermont 5
The Mountaineers kept the scoring going in game two with a pair of runs in the first for an early lead. It would not last long, however, as UMPI answered with two of its own in the following half inning. Southern Vermont grabbed a 3-2 lead with a lone run in the third before Presque Isle tied the game with one in the top of the sixth. The Mountaineers went back in front in the home half of the sixth with a single score, only to have the Owls string together eight straight two-out hits in the seventh to jump on top 10-4. SVC attempted to make things happen in the bottom of the frame, but UMPI held the Mountaineers to just one run in the inning to finish the 10-5 victory.
Sciara was 2-3 with two runs scored and a stolen base while SVC sophomore catcher Anthony Mercuri (Ridge, N.Y.) went 3-3 in the effort. LaBadia had a 1-3 showing with an RBI, and Pingitore also knocked in a run and scored a second on a 2-4 showing.
Thayer was 3-4 with two runs and two RBIs in the win while Cauchon went 2-3 with two runs scored and another batted in. Fast had a 2-4 performance at the dish with a run scored, and junior center fielder Tommy Collins (Eastport, Maine) added a 2-3 showing with two RBIs.
UMPI freshman starter Jesus Garcia (Jewett City, Conn.) went the distance for the win (1-1), giving up just one earned run while striking out four. SVC relieverBrandon Casella (Pittsfield, Mass.) suffered the loss (0-2) after freshman righty Nick Hartman (Hartland, Conn.) went a solid five innings with the start; Hartman allowed just two runs on four hits, striking out four in his outing.
After the Owls went down in order in the top of the first, Sciara once again led-off with a hit. He would be erased, however, trying to make it to third after Nicastro laid down a bunt for a single. Pingitore followed with the third SVC hit of the inning before LaBadia reached on a UMPI error for the first run to score. With runners at the corners, Garcia then threw over to first in an attempt to pick-off LaBadia; the Mountaineer senior was able to get in the rundown long enough for Pingitore to scamper home to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
The Mountaineer lead would not last for long as UMPI came back with two in the ensuing half inning to tie the contest. Thayer tallied the first Owl run when he tagged his first homer of the season over the fence in right. With two outs and runners on second and third, Collins came to the dish and poked a single out to right; Curry was able to score easily from third, but the throw home by senior right fielder Roland Hernandez (Pico Rivera, Calif.) was in time for his second assist of the day as Mercuri chased the Owl back towards third before tossing to Rios for the tag.
After Garcia got out of the second, an SVC misplay in the outfield put a pair of runners in scoring position for UMPI. Hartman would get out of the jam as he got Thayer to ground towards second where Pingitore collected the ball, stepped on the bag and fired down to first for the inning-ending double play.
The bottom of the third saw Southern Vermont go back in front with help from another Owl miscue. Sciara took one in the back to start the inning, and a failed pick-off attempt then allowed him to move up to second. After Garcia was able to retire the next two batters, LaBadia made the error hurt as he ripped a single to right for the senior center fielder to come around and score the go-ahead run.
Neither squad got much going in the next two innings, sending the game to the sixth with SVC still on top 3-2. Presque Isle was able to tie it up once more as Curry sent a fly ball deep enough to left for Cauchon to tag up and score from third. But once again, Southern Vermont went ahead with a lone run of its own in the bottom of the box. Rios was hit by a pitch and stole second before making his way to third on a passed ball. With only one out, the Owls elected to pull their infield to the grass with the go-ahead run just 90 feet away. The decision paid off as Hernandez lined a pitch right to freshman Saul Nunez (Mapleton, Maine) at shortstop for the second out. Rios would not be stranded at third, however, scoring on the next at bat when SVC freshman left fielder Eric Fields (Lakewood, Calif.) singled to left for the 4-3 Mountaineer edge.
With one last chance, the UMPI hopes seemed to diminish as the first two batters of the seventh were retired. Garcia helped himself by starting the rally, singling back up the middle to get aboard. Another single followed before Cauchon poked the third straight hit out to center for the tying run to round third and come in to score. Thayer then roped a grounder that bounced off of second base for the go-ahead tally to cross and Cauchon to make his way to third before a balk allowed both Owls to advance 90 feet. Curry followed with a run-scoring double as UMPI continued to utilize its momentum. An SVC pitching change couldn't slow down the Presque Isle bats after a double steal brought in the fifth Owl run of the inning. Nunez singled to center for Fast to score, and Collins then registered a run-scoring base hit to left for the 10-4 tally.
Down six, Southern Vermont had the top of its order due up in the bottom of the seventh as the Mountaineers attempted to get back in the game. Sciara led-off with a single to left and got himself into scoring position with a stolen base, and Pingitore then hit a one-out RBI single to left for SVC to trim the deficit. A stolen base and walk ensued for Southern Vermont to get a pair of runners aboard, but a liner to third allowed UMPI to double-off Pingitore at second to wrap up the win for the Owls.