When and Where: May 11, 2018 – Hooksett, N.H. (Penmen Field)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 8, Le Moyne College 5
Records: SNHU 34-14, Le Moyne 33-15-1
Graduate student Thomas Buonopane (Peabody, Mass.) was on base four times and drove in a pair with a huge hit in the sixth, as the Southern New Hampshire University baseball team stayed alive and sent Le Moyne College home with an 8-5 triumph in a Northeast-10 Championship Weekend elimination contest Friday at Penmen Field.
Southern New Hampshire, seeded first in the Northeast Division, avoids elimination and will take on the loser of Merrimack College, the Northeast's No. 3 seed, and the University of New Haven, the second seed in the Southwest, in another NE10 Championship Weekend elimination contest later Friday at approximately 7 p.m. The Dolphins, the Southwest's top seed, are eliminated.
Southern New Hampshire jumped on the board first with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. After walks to sophomore Tom Blandini (Bow, N.H.) and Buonopane, and a fielding error by the pitcher on a sacrifice bunt attempt that loaded the bases, freshman Dakota Mulcay (Goffstown, N.H.) made it 1-0 with a sac fly to left. Senior Caleb Potter (Mentor, Ohio) followed by driving a one-out double into the gap in right center that plated the second run and put a pair in scoring position. Le Moyne would battle back with consecutive strikeouts to limit the damage.
The Dolphins tied it against grad student Shane McDonald (Blue Point, N.Y.) in the home half of the inning as a two-out walk to Brian Cox, followed by a lined shot over the fence in center from Andrew Taft, evened the score at 2-2.
The Penmen scraped across a run to go in front in the fourth, as a walk to redshirt-sophomore Joshua Goldstein (Haverhill, Mass.), single by Blandini and another walk to Buonopane loaded the bases, with redshirt-senior Ryan Sullivan (Hopkinton, Mass.) working the count full before taking ball four to force in Goldstein from third and make it 3-2. Mulcay then lifted a fly ball to shallow right, with the Penmen being aggressive and trying to tack on an insurance run, but getting cut down at the plate to keep it a one-run game.
McDonald preserved the lead in the bottom of the frame, working his way out of a bases-loaded jam.
SNHU gained some breathing room with a four-run fifth. A one-out single from freshman Sam Henrie (Middleboro, Mass.) began the trouble, with senior Kyle Pangallo (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) getting credited with a two-out single that put runners at the corners after a bloop to shallow center that was lost in the sun. Pangallo then swiped second before Goldstein's chopper in the hole resulted in an RBI single that made it 4-2. Blandini plated the second run of the inning with a base hit to center, while Buonopane grew the lead to 7-2 with a two-run single through the left side.
Le Moyne made it a game again in the bottom of the frame, with Camillo Spinoso crushing a two-out, three-run homer to left to trim the deficit to 7-5.
The Dolphins threatened in the sixth, with Nicholas Jacques leading off by reaching on an error before McDonald nailed down the first two outs. Redshirt-sophomore Brendan Welch (Easton, Mass.) then entered, hitting Cox and falling behind Taft before issuing the intentional walk to load the bases. Welch slithered out of trouble with a three-pitch strikeout of Nick Place.
Welch set down the Dolphins, 1-2-3, in the eighth and issued a one-out walk before redshirt-junior Jake Walkinshaw (Seymour, Conn.) recorded the final two outs and neutralized a one-out walk in the ninth with a game-ending, 5-4-3 double play.
Blandini went 2-for-4 with a walk, RBI and two runs scored, with Potter going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and a run. Buonopane was 1-for-1 with three walks, two RBI and a run. Pangallo (walk, run) and Goldstein (walk, RBI, two runs) were each 1-for-3. Mulcay finished 1-for-4 with an RBI.
McDonald (6-2) allowed five runs on five hits, while punching out eight and walking three, over five-and-two-thirds. Welch did not allow a hit in an inning-and-two-thirds of scoreless work, striking out two and walking three. Walkinshaw collected his third save of the season with an inning-and-two-thirds of shutout baseball, striking out two and walking one.
- Southern New Hampshire improves to 12-5 (.706) all-time in NE10 Championship play.
- The Penmen have won 16 of their last 18 and are outscoring their opponents, 158-48, during that stretch.
- Southern New Hampshire is now 16-3 at home this season and improves to 75-16 (.824) at Penmen Field since the start of the 2014 season.
- Potter's home run was his team-leading 11th, which moves him one shy of matching the program's single-season record.
- Potter extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
The Penmen return to action Friday, May 11 (7 p.m.) when they take on the loser of Merrimack and New Haven in another NE10 Championship Weekend elimination contest at Penmen Field.
For the latest on Southern New Hampshire University athletics, follow the Penmen via social media on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Sign up to receive text message alerts and e-mail newsletters about your favorite Penmen teams here.