BOSTON, Mass.—For the first time in program history, #5 UMass Boston Baseball will be playing in back-to-back Little East Conference Tournament Championship Games, after pulling away for a 7-1 win over second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University.
#1 UMass Boston 7, #2 Eastern Connecticut State University 1
UMass Boston (33-8)
Eastern Connecticut State University (24-15)
HOW IT HAPPENED
In a matchup of the final two undefeated teams in the 2018 LEC Tournament, the Beacons used a strong outing from junior Fernando Burgos (Hyde Park, Mass.) to earn their third win of the year over the Warriors.
The junior turned in the Beacons' third-straight quality start for the Beacons in three games this tournament. Burgos became just the fourth player in program history to win eight games in a single-season and also tied the program record with 17 career wins. He allowed just seven hits and one earned run over 6.2 innings.
Burgos received early run support, as the Beacons offense brought home two runs in the home half of the first inning. Right from the get-go UMass Boston put base runners on, as Eddie Riley (Quincy, Mass.) led off with a single down the left field line and Kyle Boudrias (Medford, Mass.) took a four-pitch walk. Dave Murphy (Plymouth, Mass.) kept it going with a single that brought home Riley from second base. Two batters later, Ryan McCormick (Cumberland, R.I.) hit another RBI single to give the Beacons a 2-0 advantage.
There was very little offensive action through the next few innings, besides the fact that Burgos continued to deal. In the bottom of the fifth inning with Riley on third thanks to a Boudrias single, Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that could've been much more, if not for a phenomenal jumping catch at the left-center field wall by
Burgos finally gave up a run in the sixth, but managed to stay cool calm and collected with his 3-1 lead. Anthony Cecere (Wakefield, Mass.) quickly responded to the run with a one-out triple down the right field line. Sal Frosceno (Derby, Conn.) then got a hit up the middle to bring home pinch-runner Wanderson Pinales (Bani, D.R.).
Mike Doherty (Brewster, Mass.) took over with two down in the seventh and quickly got out of the inning by forcing the first batter he faced to pop out in the infield.
UMass Boston put the lead out of reach in the eighth as they tacked on three more runs. With two runners on, Charlie Huegi (Sandy Hook, Conn.) cleared the bases with a two-run triple down the right field line. Riley then sent Huegi home with a double up the middle, putting the Beacons ahead 7-1.
Doherty stayed on the mound for the rest of the game and only allowed two hits without giving up a run while striking out two. The Beacons won the game 7-1 and are now on their way to the LEC Championship game.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Burgos' eight wins are tied for the program record. He matched former teammate Matt Tulley ('17), James Dalton ('11) and Steve Cahill ('93).
- Burgos's 17 wins are tied with Dan Mantoni ('17) and Steve Howard ('98).
- In three games this year against the Warriors, Huegi has six RBI and four hits.
- The Beacons have now won four in a row over the Warriors for the first time in program history. UMass Boston was just 7-43 all-time against ECSU prior to this year, but they are 3-0 this year and have outscored the Warriors 37-12.
- UMass Boston needs to win just one game on Saturday to become the first LEC team to win back-to-back titles since the University of Southern Maine did it in 2012-13.
The Beacons will face the winner of Friday night's Game 9 of the LEC Tournament, between #2 Eastern Connecticut State University and either #4 Rhode Island College and #6 UMass Dartmouth. Whichever team advances, needs to beat the top-seeded Beacons twice on Saturday to earn the LEC Title.