Bates leads Owls over Beacons 9-6 and 14-7
WALTHAM, MASS. 4/21/12 – Led by junior third baseman Greg Bates (Salem, N.H.) the Keene State College baseball team recorded a Little East Conference sweep over UMass-Boston Saturday afternoon at Yetten Field. In game one, the Owls scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning to pull out a 9-6 win in 10 innings, while in the nightcap Keene State earned a 14-7 win over UMass Boston.
On the day Bates, the Owls' lead-off hitter, went 7-for-9 with three RBI and five runs scored. Of seven hits, four were doubles. Senior Kyle Morrill (Auburn, N.H.), who batted second for Keene State capped off the one-two punch, going 5-for-11 with three RBI and three runs scored. Keene State College bats exploded for 32 hits in the sweep. Morril had another triple in the second game, giving him six for the season and improving his KSC career record mark to 18.
Keene State's sweep coupled with Rhode Island College taking two games from Eastern Conn., pushes the Owls (25-9, 8-2 LEC) back on top of the LEC standings. UMass-Boston falls to 16-13-1 (5-5 LEC).
"I felt pretty good today. I struggled during the week and just tried to hit the ball in the middle of the field," said Bates. "The team morale is pretty high right now. After the game, we found out Eastern was swept by RIC, so we're pretty pumped to be back in first place."
"The guys showed a lot of resiliency with the ability to bounce back in the first game," said KSC Coach Ken Howe. "In the second game, we put some good at-bats together and we're looking for some good pitches to hit and did a good job at the plate."
In the opener, Keene State scored single runs in the first, second and fourth innings to take a 3-0 lead after four innings. Morrill had a RBI double in the fourth.
UMass-Boston scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth and one in the seventh to go up 6-3. Keene State tied the game with three runs in the top of the eighth. Freshman Tanner Chase (York, Maine), who opened the inning with a walk, scored on a wild pitch. Morrill brought in a run with a ground out, and senior Larry Longo (Londonderry, N.H.) plated the tying run with a sacrifice fly.
Sophomore Nick Vita (Spofford, N.H.) began the 10th inning rally with a one-out walk. Freshman Tyler Estevez (East Hartford, Conn.) was hit-by-a-pitch, moving Vita to second. Chase had a single to score Vita and Estavez came home on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Matt Boulay (Stafford Springs, Conn.). Bates had a RBI double to score the Owls' third run of the inning.
Bates and Morrill each had three hits in the Owls' 13 hit attack in the opener. Chase had two hits and scored three runs.
Senior Tim Thiesing (South Grafton, Mass.) went 5.1 innings, giving up five runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Junior Tim Quagliaroli (Windsor Locks, Conn.) tossed two- hit ball over the final 2.2 innings to pick up the win and improve his record to 4-1. He fanned three and walked two batters.
In the second game, Keene State scored six runs in the top of the first inning. Vita and Estavez had RBI singles and Bates scored another run with a double down the right field line. Longo and Chase came through with run-producing singles in the second to give KSC an 8-0 lead.
Leading 8-3, the Owls scored two more runs in the third with Morrill bringing home another run with a triple to right. Keene State broke open the game with a four-run fifth inning that featured RBI doubles from seniors Erik Bergstrom (Enfield, Conn.) and Peter Burgio (Bolton, Conn.) and a two-run home run by Longo, his team-leading fifth of the season.
Burgio had four hits, Bergstrom collected three hits and three RBIs and Longo finished with two hits and four RBIs for KSC, which had 19 hits in the second game.
Senior Jeff Pelkey (Fitzwilliam, N.H.) got the win (4-1) despite struggling in his six innings on the mound. He gave up seven runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
"We have Southern Maine and UMass-Dartmouth left, so it should be a wild finish. "That's Little East baseball," said Howe.
Keene State is at Curry College on Tuesday.