When and Where: April 15, 2016 – Manchester, N.H. (Sullivan Park)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 4, Saint Anselm College 3
Records: SNHU 28-3 (13-1 NE-10, 7-1 NE-10 NE), Saint Anselm 7-20 (3-8 NE-10, 3-4 NE-10 NE)
Junior Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn.) went 2-for-3 and homered, while sophomore Justin Valdespina (Garfield, N.J.) turned in a quality start, as the eighth-ranked Southern New Hampshire University baseball team edged Saint Anselm College, 4-3, Friday afternoon at Sullivan Park.
Saint Anselm jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first when Ken Morrisino led off with a single to right-center, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout to second and scored on Nick Bragole's grounder to short.
Southern New Hampshire tied it in the third when sophomore Sean Webster (Boston, Mass.) dropped a one-out, broken-bat single into left, went first-to-third on an errant pick-off throw and scored on a groundout to short by junior Zach Goldstein (Merrick, N.Y.).
The Penmen went ahead, 2-1, in the fourth when Helms led off with a solo shot to the parking lot in center for his fifth home run of the season.
The Hawks tied it, however, in the bottom of the inning as Paul Trabucco hit a leadoff single to right, scampered to second on a wild pitch, went to third on a groundout and scored on Shaine Carpenter's grounder to second.
SNHU snapped the tie in the sixth as junior Manny Cruz (Wolcott, Conn.) drew a leadoff walk, graduate student Mike Mastroberti (Ramsey, N.J.) doubled to left-center and Helms was intentionally walked to load the bases with no one out. Following a strikeout, junior Derek Bauer (Millis, Mass.) hit a grounder to second and beat out the would-be double play at first, allowing Mastroberti to hustle home and score from second after Cruz had easily scored from third.
Saint Anselm sliced its deficit in half in the bottom of the frame when Bragole doubled down the left-field line to score Morrisino, who drew a leadoff walk and stole second.
Southern New Hampshire had a chance to put an insurance run up in the eighth, but Cruz was cut down at the plate trying to score from second on Helms' single through the left side. The missed opportunity would not matter as sophomore Mitchell Powers (Portland, Maine) slammed the door for his first career save.
Valdespina (6-2, 2.94 ERA) allowed three runs on five hits, while striking out nine and walking two over seven innings, as he recorded his second win of the season against Saint Anselm. Powers, in his first appearance of the season, pitched two perfect innings and struck out three.
Helms (walk, RBI, run) and Webster (run) were both 2-for-3, while Cruz went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run scored. Bauer (RBI) and Mastroberti (run) each finished 1-for-4.
- At 28-3, the Penmen are off to their best start ever. The 2012 squad that advanced to the Division II College World Series was 26-5 through its first 31 games.
- Combined with its 3-1 win at Saint Anselm back on March 23, baseball has earned two points for SNHU in the Queen City Cup standings. The Penmen now hold a commanding 24-10 lead over Saint Anselm in the battle for Manchester supremacy.
- The Penmen have won 14 of their last 15, including 10 straight.
- Southern New Hampshire is outscoring its opponents, 96-22, during its current 10-game winning streak.
- Cruz has recorded a hit in 21 of his last 23 games.
The Penmen are back in action Saturday, April 16 when they play host to Assumption College in doubleheader action that begins at 3 p.m. at Penmen Field.
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