BOSTON, Mass. – The Keene State College baseball team was unable to get the bats going on Saturday afternoon, falling in both ends of a doubleheader against 5th-ranked UMass Boston by identical 3-1 scores at Monan Park.
- Keene State: 13-13, 3-5 LEC
- No. 5 UMass Boston: 26-5, 9-0 LEC
How It Happened – Game One
The Beacons struck for two in the first inning and that proved to be enough for starter JT Morin (4-1) and two relievers as UMB took the first game. Mac Struthers went 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Connor Longley also went 1-for-3 as KSC was limited to just two hits. The Owls were able to work three walks and got plunked four times, but only one baserunner crossed the plate. Cleanup hitter Chris Fowler went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk to pace UMass Boston's offense. Ryan McCormick also had two hits and drove in a run, while Wanderson Pinales doubled and had three hits on the afternoon.
KSC was put in a hole in the first inning when starter Isaac Keehn (1-2) walked leadoff man Eddie Riley and Kyle Boudrias followed with a single. After a fly out, two run-scoring singles from Fowler and McCormick gave the Beacons a 2-0 lead. Keehn was able to work around further trouble, though, as he struck out Anthony Cecere and fielded a comebacker to retire Nick Herzog.
The Owls responded with a rally of their own in the very next inning to halve the deficit. Abe Grainger took ball four to start the frame and Connor Longley was then plunked to put two men on with nobody out. The next two were retired, but Struthers came through with a two-out RBI single to plate Grainger and trim the deficit to 2-1.
The scoring slowed considerably from there as both starters settled in. Keehn sent UMB down in order in the bottom of the second and worked around a leadoff double in the third. The Beacons put runners on second and third with one down in the fourth, but Charlie Huegi lined into an inning-ending double play as that rally fizzled.
Keene State got a leadoff walk from David Sevigny to open the fifth, but he did not advance any further. UMB loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but another tapper back to the mound from Cecere ended the frame. The Beacons did crack the scoreboard in the sixth when Pinales doubled with one down and Huegi followed him with a run-scoring base hit up the middle for a 3-1 lead.
Runs were tough to come by after that, but the Owls did put the tying run on base in each of the final two innings. In the eighth, pinch-hitter Christian Bourgea was plunked, moved up to second on a passed ball and third on Devin Springfield's grounder that was the first out. Nate Rossi was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and third, but Bobby Tramondozzi came in and induced a double play ball from Connor Walsh to get out of trouble. In the ninth, KSC put two on with one down after Longley reached on an infield single and Tarascio was hit by a pitch, but Sevigny bounced into a 1-6-3 double play to end the game.
Keehn allowed three runs over five innings on the hill for Keene State and Ryan Sliwinski followed him with 2.2 innings of one-hit ball while striking out three. Morin went seven innings and earned the win for UMass-Boston before Tramondozzi picked up his seventh save.
How It Happened – Game Two
Brandon Heath (4-1) tossed five innings of two-run ball, but the clutch hit for KSC remained elusive as the second game followed a similar script as the first. Struthers had two more hits and drove in his second run of the day, while Rossi, Walsh and Sevigny each had one. Fowler and Pinales had multiple-hit efforts for UMB.
The game was scoreless over the first three innings, as Keene State had a bases loaded and two out situation snuffed out in the top of the third when they were unable to cash in on two singles and a hit batter. Meanwhile, Heath tossed a 1-2-3 first and worked around singles in both the second and third. The Owls were able to score first in the fourth. With two down and Tyler Gammie at second, Struthers came through with a base hit for a 1-0 KSC lead.
The Beacons immediately responded, though, as Boudrias doubled to kick off the Beacons' half of the fourth and eventually scored on McCormick's two-out single to even the game at one. Keene State threatened to take the lead back as they put two on in the fifth, but a fly out from Bourgea ended the frame and UMass Boston went ahead in the very next half inning. Pinales' leadoff triple was cashed in when Boudrias hit a sacrifice fly that put the Beacons up 2-1.
Another opportunity for the Owls arose in the sixth as Sevigny walked and stole second with nobody out against reliever Chris Munro, but he was stranded at third to end the inning. UMass Boston added an insurance run in the seventh with Huegi singled, stole second, and scored on Riley's single. Trailing 3-1, KSC could not get anything going against Mike Doherty, as they went down 1-2-3 in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Heath went the first five innings on the mound for KSC, allowing two runs while striking out three. Connor Johnson, Andrew Houde and Tyler Fitzgerald all tossed an inning out of the bullpen. Fernando Burgos (7-0) started and went the first five for UMass Boston before Munro and Doherty both tossed two scoreless innings to seal the Beacons' victory.
Around the Horn
- Struthers now has 16 runs batted in on the season, easily a career high. He also currently has a batting average (.300), on base percentage (.413) and slugging percentage (.378) that would be career-best marks.
- Houde's appearance in the second game was his first as a reliever this season.
- Keene State, which has not beaten UMass Boston since 2014, did hold the Beacons to their lowest combined run total in any conference doubleheader this season. The Owls' last four games at Monan Park have all been decided by one or two runs.
- Keene State will host Babson for a non-conference contest tomorrow, April 22, at 1:00 pm.
- UMass Boston, winners of a school record 15 games in a row, will visit No. 23 Southern Maine for a Little East game on Tuesday, April 24 at 3:30 pm.