FITCHBURG, Mass. – Fitchburg State baseball swept Bridgewater State in Massachusetts State Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action on Monday afternoon, outlasting the visitors 2-0 in game one before taking it to the Bears for an 8-2 victory in the second, improving to 6-2 in conference play.
The sweep also extends the Falcons' winning streak to five dating back to a 10-1 victory against Keene State last week. Head Coach Kevin Barnaby has been pleased with the play of his team as of late saying, "over the past week our team has really come together - they're learning how to win."
The Green and Gold were bolstered by a strong bounce-back performance from freshman starting pitcher Evan Meleedy and a six-RBI day from first baseman Derrick Frazier, who came into the game as a defensive replacement for the injured Brendan Cutler during game one, en route to their first sweep of Bridgewater in two seasons.
"My approach was just to keep the type of confidence Cuddy [Cutler] brings to the team. He set the tone before he was injured and I really felt the need to follow it," said senior Frazier. "In game two, everyone just needed to step up and they did."
Fitchburg State (13-14, 6-2) takes on Fisher College on Wednesday April 20th before going into the later half of the MASCAC schedule when it travels to Westfield State for a pivotal two-game series.
Barnaby acknowledged the tough road ahead saying, "We know the next six conference games are going to be a grind. We control our destiny in conference which is all you can ask for."
For Bridgewater State (9-15, 2-6), the Bears have two out-of-conference games this week before traveling to MCLA next Saturday.
Game One, 2-0
Freshman southpaw Evan Meleedy came out on top of a pitcher's duel, earning his first shutout in his conference debut, outlasting the opponent on the mound with five strikeouts and just two hits. "Evan bounced back from a tough outing vs. Wheaton and he carried us today, putting up zeroes and giving our offense some time to click," said Barnaby.
Sophomore Connor Birch was hit with the loss, his second of the season for the opposing Bears. He completed six innings of work, striking out six, and allowing two runs on four hits.
Meleedy began the game dealing as he put down the side in order to start the game, picking up his first two strikeouts in the process.
The next inning, Bridgewater State picked up its first hit as Anthony Licciardello singled into centerfield where he was stranded as the Fitchburg State lefty got the next batter to pop out to the catcher.
The first Falcon hit wouldn't come until the bottom of the fifth when Brendan Cutler jumped on the first pitch of the at-bat, lacing it down the left-field line before pulling up to second with an injury that ended his day.
Meleedy proceeded to set the next six batters down before the Green and Gold got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when sophomore catcher Nate Littman brought home Andrew Mooney from third with a grounder. The next batter, Frazier, jumped on the first pitch sending it over the centerfielder for the second run of the inning.
The Green and Gold went on to secure the shutout in the seventh, allowing one hit, a double from sophomore Reed Pike, before closing out the 2-0 win.
Fitchburg State had base hits from Currie and Mazzeo, to go along with the doubles from Cutler and Frazier.
Game Two, 8-2
The Fitchburg State offense didn't wait to get going in game two of the twin bill, jumping on the opposing pitchers for eight runs and 10 hits to power past Bridgewater State 8-2 to complete the sweep.
Bridgewater State starter Kevin Bresciani was hit with six earned runs in 1.2 innings of work while Samuel Devine allowed two runs in 3.2 innings of relief work.
Falcons junior Tom Gammell delivered his second-consecutive quality performance going five complete while allowing one earned on three hits to pick up his second win of the season.
The visiting Bears took the lead in the top of the first as second baseman Scott O' Brien walked to lead off the game before shortstop Ryan Feeney singled him home a few batters later (1-0).
After a scoreless bottom of the first Fitchburg State took the lead with two outs in the second inning as centerfielder Javier Lozada punched a two-RBI single into the outfield before Littman drove home another run with an infield single. Following a walk to load the bases, Derrick Frazier then cleared them with a double down the right field line (6-1).
In the top of the fourth Bridgewater State took advantage of shoddy defense to chip into the deficit when an error at shortstop allowed Feeney to score unearned from third base (6-2).
The Green and Gold added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when Steven Drury doubled in Lozada before being brought home on a single from Frazier, his sixth RBI of the day (8-2).
Tyler Smith secured Gammell's victory in the top of the seventh with a hitless frame, capping off his scoreless two-inning outing, and ending the game with the 8-2 score.
Lozada and Frazier each went 2-for-4 at the dish, knocking in two and four respectively, while six other Falcons chipped in with a hit apiece to keep the hot-streak alive in conference start.
Release Courtesy of Fitchburg State Journalist Kyle Prudhomme