GORHAM, Maine – A late inning offensive surge coupled with strong pitching out of the bullpen lifted 21st/22nd baseball to a 10-4 win over UMass Dartmouth to earn a spot in the 2017 Little East Conference Championship game Saturday morning at Ed Flaherty Field.
#21/22 UMass Boston 10, UMass Dartmouth 4
UMass Boston (32-10)
UMass Dartmouth (24-19)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Despite having the game halted for the second time during the tournament, the Beacons found themselves in total control of the momentum. Even with one out on the scoreboard in the top of the 9th inning, UMB led the Corsairs 10-4, before the umpires called the game due to darkness.
When the resumed play Saturday morning, Chris Munro (Marshfield, Mass.) collected the final two outs UMB needed to secure the spot in the title game, for only the second time in program history.
Junior infielder Josh Lopez (New Haven, Conn.) proved to be the offensive catalyst in the Beacons huge victory as he went 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Chris Fowler (Barnstable, Mass.) secured his place in program history as he broke the record for hits in consecutive games with his 35th. The junior first baseman registered a 2-for-3 day with two RBI and three runs scored, and was also walked twice.
On the hill, Fernando Burgos (Hyde Park, Mass.) collected the win after going six complete innings. He allowed just three runs on seven hits, and struck out five. Bryan Kaufman (Farmingdale, N.Y.) and Joe Maguire (Peabody, Mass.) allowed just two hits in 2.1 innings out of the pen.
The Beacons wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as they tacked on three runs in the bottom of the first inning. A triple by Fowler, which broke the program record set in 1989, plated two runs, while an error by the Corsairs pitcher allowed UMB's third run of the opening inning to cross the plate.
The Corsairs would cut into the deficit in the second inning with a run, before tying the game in the top of the third on a two-run home. However, that tie was short lived, as Anthony Searles (Shelton, Conn.) scored the go-ahead run on a suicide squeeze with Lopez laying down a great bunt.
After a scoreless fifth inning, UMB erupted for six runs between the sixth and the eighth innings to jump out to a commanding lead. The Corsairs got their final run in the top of the ninth right before the umpires halted the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston will be making their second championship game appearance in program history; The Beacons went undefeated to win their first title in 2010
- Fowler's record-setting performance broke the original mark set by Steve Coffey from 1988-89
- The Beacons and UMass Dartmouth are 2-2 in their 2017 meetings having split their regular season series, while also going 1-1 in the tournament
The Beacons will face the winner of the UMass Dartmouth/Southern Maine game today. That game will begin 30 minutes following the conclusion of the UMD/USM contest.