Weekend Roundup — April 11, 2016

Revenge was a theme this week, with teams like Rhode Island, Dartmouth, and Mass Maritime avenging painful playoff losses from a year ago. Along with that, we saw Boston College earn a big series win over the defending national champions, big weeks for the Rolfe Division and the NE-10 Northeast, and conference standings taking shape in D3. Read on for more.

Co-Team of the WeekBoston College took home a hard-fought series win this weekend, taking two of three from #16 Virginia, the defending College World Series champions. As I mentioned in the Weekend Preview, this was a historic series– it’s been decades since a defending national champion has paid New England a visit. After getting shut out by Connor Jones on Friday, the Eagles got two one-run wins to make it a winning one. On Saturday, first-inning RBI from Joe Cronin (double) and Donovan Casey (sac fly) gave BC an early lead, and Justin Dunn threw five scoreless to keep it that way till the sixth, when UVa touched the ‘pen for two to tie things up. Jesse Adams, bumped from the starting rotation for the series, came through with 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings to keep it 2-2, and that allowed for some heroics in the ninth. The Cavs’ Tommy Doyle got two quick outs, but pinch hitter Chris Balogh singled, and pinch runner Dominic Hardaway stole second and reached third when Virginia catcher Matt Thaiss threw the ball away. That gave Johnny Adams a chance to win it. He struck out, but the ball got away from Thaiss, who committed his second throwing error in as many chances in trying to retire him at first. Hardaway came in from third to give BC a big walkoff win. On Sunday, they won an even wilder one to win the series. A strong start from Mike King was matched by Alec Bettinger and UVa’s bullpen, and the rubber match went to extra innings tied at 1. In the 10th, the Hoos’ Pavin Smith, who’s no stranger to a big home run, launched a three-run bomb to right to put his team up 4-1. Game over, right? Not for these Eagles. With two outs and the bases loaded, Michael Strem tied the game with a huge bases-clearing double. From there, the bullpens dueled their way to the 13th, when, again with two outs, Scott Braren drove in Johnny Adams to walk off once again. It’s the second top-25 series win of the year for Mike Gambino’s club, and a big momentum boost ahead of next weekend’s trip to South Bend.

Co-Team of the Week: Further south, Rhode Island got a big series win of their own. The Rams welcomed defending A-10 champions VCU, who’d just beaten the aforementioned Cavaliers in the midweek. In a meeting of the teams picked to finish 2-3 in the league, Rhody had revenge on their minds– it was VCU who stopped them one step short of the NCAA Tournament in last year’s conference championship game. Revenge they got, with wins on Friday (5-1) and Saturday (7-3) clinching the series. In the opener, Mike Corin’s third homer of the year helped to give them a 4-0 lead after three. Tyler Wilson (7.0 IP, 5 H, R, 6 K) and Mark Silvestri (2.0, H, K) took care of things from there. On Saturday, the visitors jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, but Martin Figueroa’s three-run jack in the third gave Rhody the lead for good, and Steve Moyers settled in for six hitless innings after the second to key the win. Sunday’s extra-inning loss notwithstanding, it’s a great series win. At 4-2, the Rams are tied for second in the league, and the road ahead is pretty friendly: VCU is the only team in the top six of the preseason poll on the URI’s schedule. Nothing’s a given, of course, but with more baseball like this, Raphael Cerrato’s team will be well-poised to make a run at the A-10 Title in the Bronx come May.

Co-Team of the Week: Yale bossed its way to a 5-1 week and a 4-0 Ivy League weekend with doubleheader sweeps of Princeton and Cornell. The biggest wins came on Saturday against the Tigers, who’d started 4-0 in the league. Richard Slenker’s two-run homer helped make the difference in the 6-3 opener, and Chasen Ford gave up just one run in nine to complete the tennis-score sweep with a 6-1 victory. The most dramatic wins, however, came on Sunday, when the Bulldogs beat Cornell in extras twice. In the opener, senior Brent Lawson jacked a two-run homer to win in 11. In game two, Yale trailed 4-0, 7-3, and 8-4, but a four-run 8th helped them tie things, and Harrison White’s 10th-inning single won it in 10. The Elis now sit two games clear of second-place Dartmouth in the division, and ride a five-game winning streak– their longest since 2011– into a midweek meeting with Sacred Heart. After that, it’s rivalry time with Harvard coming to town.

Yale’s fellow Rolfe Division clubs had strong weekends as well, looking much better at home against the Gehrig Division than they did on the road last weekend. Dartmouth earned its first sweep of Columbia since 2013, getting a bit of revenge for the three Ivy League title series losses they’ve suffered to the Lions since then. After winning the opener, the Big Green entered the ninth trailing 6-4 in a back-and-forth game two. At that point, they jumped on the Lions’ bullpen, and after closer Harrison Egly issued two bases-loaded walks that tied the game, Justin Fowler won it with a game-winning single to center. Elsewhere, Harvard and Brown both had 2-2 weekends, the Crimson splitting with Columbia and Penn and the Bears sweeping a doubleheader from Cornell.

Plenty of other good series wins to report. Fairfield has itself in a tie for second in the MAAC after sweeping Iona on the road. Mitch Williams’s 14th-inning RBI single gave them a win in Friday’s extra-inning slogging match, and the pitching took it from there. Gavin Wallace’s seven inning complete game gave them the series in game two, and Kyle Dube allowed just one run in eight to secure the sweep. Bryant kept rolling in the NEC, taking three of four on the road against FDU. The offense exploded for a nine-homer, 30-run day in the Sunday doubleheader sweep that clinched the series. Hosting Mount St. Mary’s, Central Connecticut put up 19 in the opener, then got shutouts from Andrew Hinckley and Mike Appel to take three of four themselves. Finally, UMass Lowell recovered from a loss in the opener to walk off against Binghamton twice in their first AEC series win. In a 2-1 win in game two, freshman Chris Sharpe collected both RBI, including the game winner in extras. And in the finale, Michael Young’s sacrifice fly gave the RiverHawks the win in a back-and-forth 8-7 affair.

Division II

Team of the WeekSouthern New Hampshire separated themselves by going 5-0 in a busy week in the Northeast-10. You might think that putting together five games of pitching in three days would be a tall order, but not for the Penmen, who gave just five runs on the weekend. NE-10 Pitcher of the Week Tim Viehoff keyed the staff in the weekend opener against Post, fanning 11 Eagles and allowing just one hit in seven scoreless. The next day, Justin Valdespina threw a complete-game shutout against Pace, and Alex Person gave up just one run in game two. On Sunday, finally, Benjamin Criscuolo K’d seven in nine against Adelphi. Offensively, Mike Mastroberti picked up yet another triple on both Saturday and Sunday, giving him 10 on the season– that’s tops across all three divisions of the NCAA. Next up: a rematch with their rivals Franklin Pierce on Wednesday.

Speaking of which, Franklin Pierce was one of a trio of Northeast Division teams to go 4-1 on the week. On Friday, Matt O’Herron homered, and Paul Covelle allowed just a run while pitching into the 9th in a 3-1 win over Saint Anselm. After dropping the back end of Saturday’s doubleheader with Adelphi, the bats came out to sweep Pace on Sunday, 15-3 and 9-7. For the day, Jay Jabs went 6-9, homered twice, scored five runs, and drove in six as part of a big week that saw him share NE-10 Player of the Week honors. Merrimack‘s 4-1 week was highlighted by Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of Southern Connecticut. In the opener, Bobby Losanno’s two-run double helped to key a five-run sixth, and Perry Kulaga picked up his third win of the season in a 6-4 result. The Warriors then won 8-3 in game two behind Mike Forgione (3-5, 2 2B, 3 R); Zach Schindler earned his fourth win of the year. Finally, Assumption had an excellent 4-1 week of their own that included a sweep of that same SCSU team. In the 15-8 opener, six Greyhounds had multi-RBI days. In game two, AC led 6-0 after six before the visitors exploded for a seven-run 7th (Jack Daniels!) to take the lead. Credit the hosts for fighting back, though– Andrew Jaehnig tied it with a 7th-inning single, Trevor McQuade scored the go-ahead in the 8th, and freshman Colton King came through with some excellent relief to pick up his first collegiate win.

Finally, Stonehill (10-9, 2-0 over AIC), Bentley (5-3, 10-9 over AIC) and Post (5-2, 16-11 over USciences) all picked up doubleheader sweeps. Justin Nicklas provided a walkoff single in the Skyhawks’ game one win over AIC, and Steve Lee’s 8th-inning homer broke a late deadlock in game two. Bryan Rocha’s two-RBI single gave the Falcons a walk-off win in their own 10-9 game against the Yellow Jackets. And last but not least, Post first baseman Don Walsh drove in an astounding 10 runs in the Eagles’ game-two win in their CACC sweep.

Division III

Co-Team of the Week: After dropping three of four to end March, Southern Maine got back on track in a big way this week, winning five on the road and four in the league as part of a 6-0 week. After picking up good midweek wins at home against Bowdoin and on the road at Salem State, USM took to the road to kick off LEC play. On Saturday, they swept a twinbill from UMass Dartmouth. In the opener, an 8-6 game that was also the closest of the weekend, Brandon Martins went 3-3 with three RBI, and Shyler Scates picked up win #5 of his senior campaign. In the back end, Sam Stauble (4-6, 2B, 3 RBI) paced the offense in a 10-3 win, and freshman Dalton Rice gave up just a hit and a run in five while striking out eight. On Sunday, a 10-0 win in game one of a doubleheader with RIC made a perfect week look like a formality, but the Anchormen battled well in the back end to take a 7-4 lead into the ninth. The Huskies’ offense stormed back, though, putting up seven runs in the inning to take home their sixth win of the week. Ed Flaherty’s team is now 13-5 on the year and sharing first place in the league.

Co-Team of the Week: An uneven 6-8 start had made Mass Maritime‘s special 2015 season looking like a one-off, but a 5-0 week that included a pair of conference sweeps has the Bucs back in business. After downing Coast Guard in a battle of the academies in the midweek, MMA traveled to Fitchburg to take on the Falcons on Saturday. Their pitching carried the day in 3-2 and 2-1 wins. In the opener, Riley Fusaro’s 6th-inning sac fly broke a 2-2 tie, Alex Rozak didn’t allow an earned run in five innings, and Kyle Kennedy K’d three in two perfect relief innings to earn the save. Greg Downs homered in game two, and Kennedy came back out to throw another perfect inning to save Daniel Avery’s win (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 6 K). That sweep gave the club momentum heading into Sunday’s home doubleheader, a big one against the Worcester State team that knocked them out of the playoffs on their home field at year ago. Behind the offense in game one and some heroics in game two, the Bucs exacted revenge. In the opener, Riley Fusaro drove in three and William Keane went 3-4, tripled, and scored three runs in an 11-6 win. In game two, the hosts came from behind twice to enter the seventh tied at 4. After putting runners on second and third with one out, the Bucs took advantage of a Lancer wild pitch, and freshman pinch runner Robert Dembitzki came in to score the winning run. The sweep leaves them tied atop the MASCAC with Salem State, who first-year head coach Mike Kelley’s team will meet for a big doubleheader next Saturday.

Elsewhere in D3, we’re starting to see some separation in conference standings as we put more league games behind us. In the NECC, where things have progressed the most, Mitchell is three games to the good in the loss column over both Becker and Elms, who both dropped a pair of conference games on the week. The Mariners’ pitching staff keyed a 5-0 week, allowing just three runs over the five games. In a pair of 5-1 wins over Daniel Webster on Saturday, Al Jordan Johnson fanned nine in six, and Tyler Shamas (7.0 IP, 2 H, R, 4 K) had his best outing of the year. Southern Vermont, meanwhile, picked up an excellent road series win at Becker, sweeping a Saturday doubleheader to take two of three. Anthony Mercuri’s RBI double in the fifth made the difference in a 4-3 opener, with Dylan Angelo holding the Hawks’ bats scoreless over the final four innings to get the win. A four-run 4th powered SVC in game two’s 8-4 win, with RJ Pingitore collecting a pair of RBI and Chris Bradt tossing a perfect 1 1/3 to pick up the save. After this weekend, Dave Gage’s team is 4-3 in conference with series against two of the top three clubs behind them.

In the NEWMAC, MIT and Wheaton used perfect weeks to separate themselves in the East Division. The Engineers’ offense did some real damage in games against Emerson and Clark, beating the former 16-1, 31-2, and 13-1 and the latter 14-7 and 13-3. All told, they 87 runs, 88 hits, and 27 extra-base hits in five games. I’d be here all day totaling up the stat lines, but feel free to take a look at the boxes for yourself. The Lyons, meanwhile, relied more on pitching in a big sweep of Babson. In the opener, Mike Bruemmel allowed just two runs on five hits in seven, and Jimmy Smith scored the go-ahead run in the 9th before Eric Dumas closed out the 4-3 win. In game two, they got all three of their runs early, allowing Brady Furdon (7.2 IP, 5 H, R, 4 K) to hold the Beavers’ bats quiet before Dumas picked up save #9 of the season. In the finale, the offense took over to the tune of an 11-3 win, with Zachary Goodwin-Boyd doubling, tripling, and driving in three. Over in the West, WPI went 4-1 in a full week of league games, sweeping Clark and splitting with Babson to put themselves atop the division at 6-2. Alex Venditti and DJ Ouellette both homered twice in Sunday’s 8-7 over the Beavers. After a series win over Springfield, Coast Guard (3-3) is only a game back in the loss column ahead of the their meeting with WPI next week.

In the NAC, Castleton and Husson both earned four-game sweeps to move into a first-place tie at 6-2. The Spartans’ pitching staff gave up just five runs in four games against Maine-Farmington. Freshman Charles Stapleford led the way, striking out seven in a seven-inning shutout in game two of the series; on the offensive side, Taylor Vile doubled and homered in that 8-0 win. The Eagles, meanwhile, took four home games of their own against Lyndon. Friday’s sweep, which featured two late-inning wins, highlighted the weekend. The hosts trailed 4-3 entering the final inning of the opener, but Ryan Rebar’s RBI groundout tied the game in the 7th, and Alex Chapman scored the winning run in the 8th. In game two, Julien Boone’s sac fly broke a 6th-inning tie in a 3-2 win. Elsewhere, after splitting four with Thomas, Colby-Sawyer is a game back at 5-3.

In both the Little East and MASCAC, we saw teams holding serve with our Team of the Week honorees. In the LEC, Eastern Connecticut kept pace with USM by sweeping home doubleheaders with Keene and UMass Boston. Alex Zachary hit a grand slam in one of the wins over the Owls, and D.J. Scavone also homered and tripled in the twinbill against the Beacons. Elsewhere in the conference, Plymouth State had a solid weekend on the road, sweeping RIC and splitting with UMD to hang a game back of USM and ECSU. We’ve got a similar situation in the MASCAC, where Salem State‘s doubleheader sweep of Bridgewater has the Vikings tied with MMA at the top of the standings. On the day, Jose Cedeno went 5-8 with three doubles and four RBI. Westfield State, meanwhile, swept the same Bridgewater team and split with Worcester to check in at 3-1, a game back of first.

Perhaps the most hectic week in D3 came in the NESCAC. In the West, favorites Amherst and Wesleyan took home series wins over Williams and Middlebury, respectively, though the underdogs both grabbed upset wins. Four RBI and a homer from Yanni Thanopoulous and Anthony Spina’s homer and triple helped Amherst wrap up their series after two games. In the finale, however, Nate Michalski gave the Ephs a solid start (5 1/3, 5 H, 2 R), and his club edged their rivals, 5-4. Down in Connecticut, meanwhile, Midd got an upset win over Wesleyan in their series opener. Alex Deutsch and Spencer Tonies both knocked RBI doubles in a four-run 6th that made the difference. On Saturday, the Cardinals came back to take the series with two comfortable victories, with Peter Rantz (7.0 IP, 3 H, R, 4 K) and Nick Miceli (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 8 K) picking up the wins on the mound. In the East, Bates‘s Saturday doubleheader sweep of Bowdoin powered the Bobcats to a series win. Connor Speed fanned nine in six scoreless in the opener, and Samuel Warren’s three-run 8th-inning double keyed a late comeback in game two. In the weekend’s other series, Trinity took the long trip from Hartford to Waterville to take two of three from Colby.

In the GNAC, Saint Joseph‘s and Suffolk both had 4-1 weeks marred only by losses to each other in a Saturday doubleheader. The Rams took the opener 6-3, with Jake Frasca’s two-run homer breaking a 3-3 tie and Cal Carroll picking up save #5 on the year. The Monks took the back end by a 10-0 scoreline, with Nic Lops homering and Grayson Jennings and Riley Cox combining for a shutout. It was Johnson & Wales, however, who sits above both of those teams in the standings. The Wildcats, now riding a seven-game winning streak, swept league doubleheaders from Norwich and Albertus Magnus. Lane Compton struck out nine in six scoreless in one of the wins over the Cadets, and Frank D’Amato doubled and drove in three in the final game of the weekend, a 20-3 win over the Falcons.

And finally, five teams came out of the weekend with one loss or less in the CCC, as Gordon, Endicott, and Western New England all swept doubleheaders, and Salve Regina and Nichols both went 3-1. Gordon and Endicott both swept RWU, while WNE took two from ENC. Salve and Nichols meanwhile, only suffered losses against each other in a Saturday doubleheader split. Salve’s Alex Perry took home league Player of the Week honors after collecting a homer, three doubles, and six RBI on the week. Gordon’s Matt Amore was the Pitcher of the Week after fanning 11 in a seven-inning shutout of RWU; teammate Scott Hall became the program’s all-time wins leader in the second game of the same doubleheader.

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