KEENE, N.H. – A walk-off bases loaded single in 11th inning of game one and a 10-run through the first two innings in game two pushed Keene State College (15-16, 5-3 Little East) to a two-game sweep of baseball as they defeated the Beacons (12-16, 4-5 Little East) by the finals of 4-3 and 13-4 Sunday afternoon at Owls Stadium.
With the sweep, the Beacons who originally sat atop the conference standing are now holding on to fourth place with only two more weekends of doubleheaders left before the start of the conference tournament. They also have one game remaining with the Huskies of Southern Maine, which is scheduled for Tuesday.
In Sunday's match-up the Beacons bats made contact but once again struggled to drive runners home when the opportunities presented themselves. The opener proved to be a nailbiter as the Beacons went into extras for the first time this season.
UMass jumped out to an early 2-0 lead through the first three innings, but with a pair of runs by Keene State in the bottom of the fourth the game was quickly evened at 2-2. UMass did get one run in the fifth, but the Owls once again countered with a run of their own this time in the bottom half of the same inning.
After four quick innings, the Beacons got their best chance to put the go-ahead run on the scoreboard in the top of the 10th. A quick groundout got the inning off to a good start for Keene State, but that would change as UMB recorded back-to-back singles. They would then load the bases on an infield error with only one out on the scoreboard. However Keene would escape the inning retiring the next two batters on a strikeout and a lineout.
In the 11th the Owls put a pair of runners on with one out on the scoreboard. UMass then got their second out of the contest with a flyout to centerfield. Unfortunately a wild pitch would move both runners up 90 feet. A walk would then load the bases and with an infield single the Owls would steal the conference victory by the final of 4-3.
The nightcap got off to a very rough start for UMB as the Owls tacked on seven runs in the first and then another three in the second to take a commanding 10-0 lead. UMass did tack on two in the fourth, but with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning, Keene State still remained in firm control of a 10-run lead. The Beacons managed just two more runs in the seventh, while Keene put-up their final in the eighth as the Owls secured the sweep.
Game one saw catcher Todd Ezold (Westfield, Mass.) have the most productive showing at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of walks. Charles LaPaglia (Marshfield, Mass.) was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI which he recorded in the top of the second. As a team the Beacons recorded their three runs on nine hits, with their only error proving to be the costly one.
On the hill, Kyle Szatrowski (Agawam, Mass.) went seven complete allowing three runs, all earned, on eight hits. He would strikeout three and walk one in the no decision. Matt Dziok (Southampton, Mass.) was handed the loss, his first of the season, after going the final 2.2.
Game two saw UMB put-up their four runs on six hits, with three belonging to Ryan Manning (Plainville, Mass.), two to Nick Radcliffe (Randolph, Mass.), and one to Jamill Moquette (Boston, Mass.). Each player recorded one double, with Manning leading the Beacons with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Radcliffe also drove in a run as he earned the start in left field.
Having a tough day on the mound was Patrick Austin (Torrington, Conn.) as the lefty lasted just 1.1 before getting handed his second loss of the year. However some of the blame did not rest solely on the Connecticut native as the Beacons defense, which was solid for the most part in game one, completely fell apart in game two. Of the first 10 runs allowed by Austin, only four were earned as the Owls needed just five hits to take their huge lead. He also struckout two and walked two. After him the Beacons used four pitchers out of the bullpen to close out the contest.
Baseball returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to the University of Southern Maine for a 3:30 p.m. Little East Conference game. The Beacons were originally scheduled to play Wentworth Institute of Technology on Monday but that game just like the Worcester State University contest which was supposed to be played this afternoon has been cancelled.