HENNIKER, N.H. – Devin Springfield hit a grand slam and Nate Rossi also homered as the Keene State College baseball team used a five-run inning to gain separation before going on to defeat New England College 9-5 in non-conference action on Friday afternoon at Laurie Cox Memorial Field.
- Keene State: 13-11
- New England College: 19-8
How It Happened
Keene State got six hits from six different players and drew ten walks on their way to the victory. Springfield's grand slam capped off a big fourth inning rally, as he finished the day 1-for-5 with four runs batted in and two runs scored. Rossi reached base three times, cranking a home run of his own to go along with three RBIs and two walks, while Mac Struthers singled, drove in two, and also walked twice. Xavier Nunez was 1-for-3 with a solo home run, two walks and two runs scored for New England College. Jeam Castillo and Jameson Carey also had multiple-hit efforts.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the third, as both teams went down in order in the first and KSC starter Shawn O'Donnell worked around a two on, nobody out jam in the bottom of the second. The Owls struck first in the next half inning against NEC reliever Selah Dalomba (0-1). Abe Grainger and David Sevigny started things off with back-to-back singles before each moved up on a balk. Struthers then took ball four to load the bases with nobody out and, with one down, Rossi took another free pass for the game's first run. KSC had a chance for more, but two strikeouts stranded the bases full and the Owls settled for just the one run.
The same could not be said in the top of the fourth. John Tarascio started things off with a one-out single, moving up to second on an error, before Grainger drew a walk. Command continued to elude Dalomba, as he plunked Sevigny and then walked Struthers again to put the Owls up 2-0 before departing. John Prentice then came into a bases loaded, one out jam and was greeted rudely by Springfield, who pulled a grand slam to right for a 6-0 advantage.
New England College was able to get on the board when Nunez cranked a solo shot to lead off the bottom half of that same inning against O'Donnell, but the Pilgrims were sent down from there. Keene State used another long ball of their own in the sixth to widen the lead. Springfield was hit by a pitch with one down and Rossi followed by pulling a two-run shot down the left field line that made it 8-1.
The Pilgrims chipped away, though, putting up a three-spot in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Carey and a hit batsman and walk, both of which scored a run. NEC drew even closer in the eighth, making it 8-5 when they turned a leadoff walk to Luis Atiles into a run courtesy of a KSC error. But the Owls got the run back in the ninth and were not threatened from there. Struthers' two-out single drove home Tarascio for a 9-5 advantage and Ryan Sliwinski came in and worked around a two-out single for a scoreless ninth.
Connor Johnson (1-0) picked up the win, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings in relief of O'Donnell. Greg Poggioli, Michael McDermott, Tyler Fitzgerald and Sliwinski also saw action out of the bullpen. Stanley Vargas started for New England College, tossing two hitless innings.
Around the Horn
- Keene State now has 11 home runs on the season, two each from Springfield, Rossi, Struthers, and Sevigny. Springfield now has driven in a team-leading 19 runs on the season, while Rossi and Grainger both have 18.
- Springfield's grand slam was the Owls' second in the last eight days, as Struthers also hit one last Thursday as a part of an eight-run first inning in KSC's 14-10 home win over Springfield.
- This game, which was a makeup from an April 15 postponement, marked the beginning of a stretch where Keene State is scheduled to play 11 games in eight days. Seven of those will be at home.
- That aforementioned stretch continues tomorrow, April 21, when Keene State travels to No. 5 UMass Boston for an LEC doubleheader that begins at 12:00 pm. The Beacons are 7-0 in conference play and have won 13 games in a row.
- New England College also plays tomorrow, hosting Lyndon State for two NAC games starting at 1:00 pm.