BROCKTON, Mass. – A seven-run top of the ninth in game one and a six-run top of the seventh in game two proved to be the deciding innings as the Colonials of Western Connecticut State University swept baseball by the finals of 12-9 and 13-7 Friday afternoon at Campanelli Stadium in the final Little East Conference regular season doubleheader of the year.
With Friday's sweep, the Colonials (17-22, 5-9 Little East) who entered the contest tied for last place catapulted themselves into sixth and earned the final spot in this year's conference tournament Western also need a little bit of help from the other doubleheaders this afternoon and got everything they needed to sneak into the postseason. The Beacons (15-21, 7-7 Little East) who could have ended the year in third will enter next week's conference tournament as the fourth-seed.
The Beacons pitching staff which has been solid all year had a pair of tough games Friday afternoon. Facing the conference's top line-up at the plate, Western Connecticut recorded a combined 33 hits, with only 16 of the 25 runs scored in the sweep marked down as earned.
UMass battled back in both contests but the two huge run innings proved to be the deciding factor. In the opener junior Jamill Moquette (Boston, Mass.) was un-fire as he went 3-for-6 with a double and a home run, five RBI and two runs scored. Also having a strong game one at the dish was shortstop Bryan Failla (Torrington, Conn.) as he went 3-for-5 with a RBI and three runs scored.
In the nightcap, Matt Consiglio (Southbury, Conn.) had one of his better days at the plate finishing the 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Jose Pena (Boston, Mass.) also had a decent day finishing 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and runs scored.
Looking to close out their 2013 regular season on a winning note to build some momentum for next week's tournament the Beacons knew they would have to limit the big bats of the Colonials. Just like every conference doubleheader this season, the Beacons turned to their ace Kyle Szatrowski (Agawam, Mass.) in the opener.
Unfortunately the lefty did not have his best outing allowing three runs on 10 hits, while only striking out two. However it was the bullpen later in Friday's contest that had the most trouble as the final three pitchers surrendered the seven runs in the top of the ninth on just three hits. All seven runs were earned with five of those and the loss being charged to Matt Dziok (Southampton, Mass.).
The late rally by the Colonials countered a huge five-run bottom of the eighth for the Beacons which at the time gave them a 9-5 lead going into the top half of the ninth. Prior to the two huge half innings, Western Connecticut led for most of the afternoon scoring their first run of the day in third before tacking on two more in the fifth. The Beacons cut WCSU's lead to one in bottom half of the fifth when Moquette and Failla each recorded RBI singles.
After the two runs in the seventh for both teams, the Beacons would explode offensively as they jumped all over the Colonials pitching staff, which ranked last in the LEC going into Saturday's doubleheader.
Consistent hitting and head's up base running would put the Beacons in a position where they were able to erase the Western Connecticut deficit and take what everyone thought was a commanding lead. That was until the ninth with the Colonials bats just powered through the Beacons pitching staff to pullout the late inning comeback.
The nightcap got off to a really bad start for UMB as they allowed four runs in the first inning on three hits and three errors. With sophomore Patrick Austin on the hill the Beacons looked to their lefty to repeat his magic from one week ago when he threw 7.1 perfect innings before allowing just two hits to earn the conference win.
Like Szatrowski, Austin's day would be limited to just five complete innings in which he allowed seven runs, three earned, on nine hits. He would also walk two and strikeout two.
Western Connecticut's bullpen got a huge pick-up from one of their biggest bats as Conor Bierfeldt went all nine innings to earn his first win of the season. Bierfeldt who leads the conference with an over.700 slugging percentage allowed seven runs, four earned, on 10 hits. He also struck out six and walked one.
After the four-run first, the Beacons would battle back in the third with four-runs of their own to even the game. The two squads each put-up three runs in the fifth to keep the score deadlocked now at 7-7. Things did not come apart for UMB until the top of the seventh. UMB would eventually turn to senior Michael Boughton (New Britain, Conn.) to stop the bleeding the seventh which he did quickly. He then pitched back-to-back scoreless innings to keep UMB in the contest, but unfortunately like the temperature the Beacons bats had become cold.
Baseball will return to action next Wednesday when they travel to the University of Southern Maine for the 2013 Little East Conference tournament. The Beacons will face the third-seeded Owls of Keene State College in the third game of day one. Start time is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.