BOSTON, Mass. - The Keene State College baseball team put the tying run on base in the top of the ninth in the first game of two, but could not push across a run and fell to UMass Boston 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Monan Park. The 22nd-ranked Beacons also recorded an 11-2 win in the nightcap.
- Keene State: 4-9, 0-2 LEC
- No. 22 UMass Boston: 8-4, 2-0 LEC
How It Happened - Game One
In a low-scoring pitcher's duel, Nico Kydes' two-run single in the bottom of the sixth proved to be the difference as UMass Boston hung on for a one-run win. The Owls were led offensively by Tom Meucci, who had a double and a solo home run in a 3-for-4 effort. John Tarascio chipped in a 2-for-3 afternoon, also drawing a walk, and Connor Walsh had one hit and drove in a run. UMass Boston got six hits from six different people, and two RBI from Kydes.
The Beacons struck first in the opening inning despite the initial two batters whiffing (and three overall), as Kyle Boudrias singled to center and Nick Herzog reached on an error to put two on with two out. Ryan McCormick's single to right cashed in a run for a 1-0 UMB lead. After neither team threatened in the second, KSC evened it up in their half of the third when the No. 9 man Meucci got a rally started with a single. Sam Czel grounded into a fielder's choice and replaced Meucci on the base paths, and subsequently moved to third on Mac Struthers' single before scoring on a base hit from Connor Walsh, tying it 1-1. Looking to take a lead, Meucci's one-out double in the fifth put a man in scoring position for Keene State, but he could advance no further, and KSC also stranded two in the top of the sixth. The Beacons went ahead in their half of that inning, as they loaded the bases with nobody out and Kydes made it 3-1 with a one-out, two-run single. Shawn O'Donnell then relieved Owls starter Brandon Heath and got out of further trouble with a grounder and a strikeout. Meucci's hot bat got one of the runs back immediately, as he cranked his first career homer to make it a 3-2 game in the top of the seventh. After O'Donnell worked in and out of trouble in the eighth, Keene State got a leadoff single from Tarascio off UMB closer Bobby Tramondozzi to put the tying run on base in the ninth, but the next three went down in order as the Beacons held on.
Heath (1-1) allowed three runs (two earned) and fanned four over 5 1/3 innings, but took the loss. O'Donnell followed with 2 2/3 innings, surrendering one hit and striking out three. Fernando Burgos improved to 2-0 for UMB with 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball.
How It Happened - Game Two
The Beacons secured the sweep by scoring in each of the first four innings, and Keene State was never able to climb out of that hole despite threatening several times. The Owls were limited to just four hits, three of them for extra bases, but also walked six times. Walsh doubled and drove in a run in three at bats while also drawing a free pass. Czel went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk, while Tarascio went 1-for-2 with a triple and a run. Eddie Riley and McCormick combined to go 6-for-10 with 5 RBI, a double and a home run for UMB.
The hosts took an immediate lead again, as Riley reached on an error and Anthony Cecere a single before Boudrias followed with an RBI single to center. The lead doubled on McCormick's bouncer to first, and the Beacons added on in the ensuing innings, with a four-spot in the third inning blowing the game open. Danny Brown's two-run double made it 5-0, and was followed by a run-scoring bunt single from Charlie Huegi and a passed ball, making it 7-0 after three. KSC did get a run back in their half of the fourth after Czel and Walsh traded places after each doubled. Trailing 8-1 into the fifth, the Owls got a leadoff triple from Tarascio and later loaded the bases looking to get back into the game, but all three were stranded. The bases were filled with Owls again in both the seventh and ninth innings, but only one run materialized.
Ryan Sliwinski (0-1) started on the mound for KSC, going 1 2/3 innings while allowing three runs (none earned). UMB hurler Tylor Arruda allowed one run and three hits in six innings, improving to 2-1.
Around the Horn
- Meucci has upped his batting average to .333 on the season, having gone 14-for-42 with three doubles, one home run, and eight RBI. He had driven in a run in five consecutive games before not having any in the second contest today.
- The Owls have lost 11 consecutive games against UMass Boston dating back to April 19, 2014. Prior to today's second game, the last three losses had been by a total of five runs (3-1, 3-1, 3-2).
- Keene State will take on Little East rival Plymouth State University on Tuesday, March 26 at 3:30 pm in Rindge, N.H. The game, initially scheduled to be at Owl Athletic Complex, was moved to Pappas Field on the campus of Franklin Pierce University due to unplayable field conditions.
- UMass Boston hosts UMass Dartmouth on the same day at 3:00 pm.