Owls Sweep Corsairs 7-1 and 6-3 on Senior Day
KEENE, N.H. 5/4/12 – Doing their part in an attempt to host the Little East Conference tournament, the Keene State College baseball team swept the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs, 7-1 and 6-3, on senior day Friday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex.
Continuously checking scores of other games around the conference, the Owls were disappointed to see the UMass Boston Beacons defeat Rhode Island College 9-8 in 13 innings, crushing any hope for Keene State to host the Little East Conference tournament. "We came out of today doing what we needed to do," said KSC head coach Ken Howe. "Unfortunately the tournament will be on the road, so we need to refocus and get ready for it no matter where it is."
The wins improve the Owls to 29-11 (10-4 LEC) on the season while the pair of losses drops the Corsairs to 14-23 (3-11 LEC) on the campaign. "If you had told me that we would go 29-11 this season before we started I would have taken that in a heartbeat," said Howe. "A 40 game season is a grind, and it turned out pretty well for us."
In between the doubleheader, the program saluted their senior class of, Kyle O'Brien (Springfield, N.H.), Peter Burgio (Bolton, Conn.), Erik Bergstrom (Enfield, Conn.), Kyle Morrill (Auburn, N.H.), Jeff Pelkey (Fitzwilliam, N.H.), Nick Winn (West Hartford, Conn.), Tim Quagliaroli (Windsor Locks, Conn.), Dan Wogksch (Bethel, Conn.), Larry Longo (Londonderry, N.H.) and Tim Thiesing (South Grafton, Mass.). "These 10 seniors are going to graduate tomorrow," said an emotional Howe. "Their families have been terrific, they have meant a lot to the program and they will be sorely missed."
In game one, Thiesing threw a gem for the Owls, going seven innings allowing six hits and one run, while striking out nine Corsairs to improve his record to 4-0 on the season. Pelkey followed suit in game two, throwing five innings and scattering seven hits with four strikeouts to improve to 5-2 on the season and earn his 20th career win. "It is nice for those guys to have solid starts heading into the Little East Conference tournament," said Howe. "All of the pitchers threw well, and got some good work in heading into Wednesday."
Also improving the teams defense, Howe was impressed that the Owls did not have an error in the game until two outs in the top of the ninth in game two. "The guys have been working hard on their defense this week," said Howe. "With it being finals week we had some time individually with players and we had some nice defensive plays on the diamond today."
Jumping out to an early lead in the first game, KSC scored twice in the bottom of the first inning, on RBI-singles from Burgio and sophomore second baseman Nick Vita (Spofford, N.H.) for the 2-0 advantage. The Owls struck again in the fourth inning, with three runs, capped by a two-RBI single down the right field line from freshman shortstop Tanner Chase (York, Maine) for the 5-0 lead.
UMass Dartmouth scratched across their lone run of the game in the top of the sixth, as senior shortstop John Granahan (Hanover, Mass.) ripped an RBI single to right field, scoring center fielder Wayne Bolz (Billerica, Mass.) to make it 5-1.
KSC would score single runs in the bottom of the sixth and eighth innings, on an RBI single from Chuck Vogt (Windsor Locks, Conn.) and an RBI double from Ian Seawards (Dover, N.H.) to account for the 7-1 final.
Vita and Seawards each finished 3-for-4 to lead the Owls at the plate. Granahan and freshman Mike LaFlamme (Bedford, N.H.) each went 2-for-4 to lead the Corsairs in the loss.
Sophomore reliever Shawn Egan (East Hartford, Conn.) threw two scoreless innings of relief for the Owls. Corsair starter Pat Lavey (Cranston, R.I.) went the distance for UMass Dartmouth, allowing the 13 KSC hits, but only three earned runs.
UMass Dartmouth committed five errors in the loss.
In game two, Keene State jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings. Longo drilled a two-RBI double down the right field line in the bottom of the first, and Chase and Bergstrom answered with RBI-singles in the second.
Heading into the top of the eighth with a 6-2 lead, UMass Dartmouth threatened with runners on second and third and only one out. UMass catcher Matt Worden (New Bedford, Mass.) earned his first RBI of the day with a single through the right side of the infield, but it only scored one run, to make it 6-3. After holding the runner at third base after the hit, junior pitcher John Coughlin (Litchfield, N.H.) was able to induce a double-play ball to end the threat and keep the 6-3 lead intact.
Senior reliever Tim Quagliaroli (Windsor Locks, Conn.) allowed only one hit in the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season.
Bergstrom, Longo and Chase each had multiple hits for the Owls in the win. Worden and senior Dan DeMello (Taunton, Mass.) each had three hits for the Corsairs in the losing effort.
In other Little East action, Southern Maine and Eastern Conn. State's doubleheader was postponed to Saturday afternoon due to weather. Those games will determine where the tournament is to be played. The tournament is set to begin on Wednesday afternoon.