MANCHESTER, N.H. – Seventh-ranked Southern New Hampshire University scraped together a run in the bottom of the ninth inning for a walkoff 6-5 Northeast-10 baseball victory over Stonehill College Sunday night at Penmen Field. The Penmen, who have now posted seven walkoff victories this season, improve to 32-5 overall and 8-2 in the NE-10 Northeast Division, while the Skyhawks, who entered Sunday a half-game behind the Penmen in the division standings, now stand 23-12 and 6-3 in the division.
With the game tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Brendan O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Mass.) legged out an infield single to lead off the inning, however, was erased on Kevin Spatkowski's (Bristol, Conn.) sacrifice attempt. Spatkowski would move into scoring position on a wild pitch during Matt Boulter's (Wrentham, Mass.) at-bat, however, Boulter would strike out. Andy Lalli (Lakeville, Mass.) then hit what appeared to be a routine grounder to second, but the throw from Stonehill's Dan Fratus was low, and unable to be scooped up by first baseman Steven Popp. With the ball in the dirt, Spatkowski motored around with the winning run.
Southern New Hampshire trailed 5-4 entering the eighth inning, but with two away, Jon Minucci (Madison, Conn.) tied the game when he took the first pitch of the at-bat deep to right for his fifth home run of the season.
The Penmen jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third. Bryan Toland (Wildwood, N.J.) led off with a single and scored on a triple by Alejandro Diaz (Old Bridge, N.J.). Diaz would score on an O'Brien single that snuck inside the left field line, while Boulter knocked O'Brien in with a single to left.
Stonehill responded with three runs in the fourth to tie the game. Billy Karalis delivered a two-run single that scored Fratus and Michael White, while Karalis would score from third on a successful squeeze by Dan Pidgeon.
Southern New Hampshire reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Spatkowski led off the inning with a double and scored on a Boulter single up the middle. Stonehill scored twice in the top of the sixth to take its first lead of the game, 5-4.
Alex Powers (Brewster, Mass.) (pictured) earned his second win of relief in the series, working the final 1.1 innings and not allowing a hit. SNHU starter Jon Massad (Shrewsbury, Mass.) worked the first 7.2 innings and allowed six hits and five runs (four earned) while striking out six. Michael Von Stein took the loss for the Skyhawks, allowing two runs in 2.1 innings of relief. O'Brien led the Penmen with three hits as the Penmen outhit Stonehill 10-6.
Southern New Hampshire returns to action Tuesday afternoon when it travels to Franklin Pierce for a 3:30 contest.