Falcons register 5-4 win in opener; Suffer tough 11-10 setback in nightcap
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. –The Fitchburg State baseball team split its final doubleheader of Spring Break, earning a 5-4 come from behind victory during game one, but dropping the nightcap of the series with Renessealer Polytechnic Institute, 11-10. The Falcons conclude the 2017 RussMatt Invitational Tournament with a 4-6 record.
Fitchburg State returns to Massachusetts for its first game at Riccards Field against Elms College on March 20th at 3:30 (weather/field conditions permitting). RPI (5-8) has one game left in its Florida trip, taking on William Paterson University on March 17th at 11:00 a.m.
Fitchburg State 5, RPI 4 (Game 1)
The Falcons showed early season grit against RPI in game one, knotting the score at four and going onto win their third straight in extra frames.
Senior Nathan Littman rounded out his 2-for-4 performance when he drove in freshman Cooper Bigelow with two outs in the seventh inning. Littman had a game-high two RBIs on a pair of doubles, while junior Andrew Currie matched his teammate, going 2-for-4 at the dish, scoring a team-high two runs, while stealing one base in the victory.
Junior Benjamin Chiasson earned his first win in a Falcons uniform, coming in for a scoreless inning of relief and striking out one., while sophomore Andrew Mooney picked up a no-decision in his second start, lasting 5.2 innings and striking out five. Freshman Kyle Nocera and senior Andrew Lessard combined for 2.1 innings of without allowing a hit
After a pair of unearned runs crossed for the Engineers in the opening inning, the Falcons got on the board following Currie's single and advancement to second before Littman doubled down the right field line to bring Currie in (2-1).
RPI took advantage of another miscue, scoring its third unearned run during the top of the third frame when senior Jason Ramos plated junior Weston Hawkins on a RBI single.
In the bottom of the inning, the Green & Gold snagged the run back when Currie singled to center, before moving to second on a wild pitch, stealing third and finally coming around the diamond on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Noah Milliard singled to get things going for the Green and Gold. Bigelow dropped down a bunt and reached on a throwing miscue, while freshman Brandon Lefebvre plated Millard following a defensive miscue, resulting in the 5-4 game one victory for the Falcons.
Junior right fielder Sean Maki extended his hitting streak to three games with a single in the third inning, while sophomore first baseman Brennan Cuddahy and freshman shortstop Andrew Curran added one hit each for Fitchburg State.
For RPI, junior Ethan Meister and senior Justin Valente finished with multi-hit games while combining to score two runs. On the hill, senior Mike Paleologopoulos took the loss after surrendering two runs in 2.2 innings of work, while sophomore right hander Patrick McMackin had the start for the Engineers, striking out a game-high eight batters.
RPI 11, Fitchburg State 10 (Game 2)
The Falcons tried to match the resiliency demonstrated in game one, cutting the deficit to one after a two-run seventh inning, but were unable to duplicate the feat, falling 11-10 to RPI in game two of the double header.
Senior Mike St. John led the Fitchburg State hitters with a 3-for-4 game at the dish, while Curran had a 2-for-4 performance, his second multi-hit game of the year. Littman was also solid for the Green and Gold, ending his day with four RBIs after going 1-for-4 with two RBIs in the night cap.
Fitchburg State, still riding-high from its comeback victory in game one, opened the second contest with tons of offensive momentum, scoring three runs in the first, one in the second, and two in the third to take the early 6-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Engineers sent twelve men to the plate, tallying eight runs and taking an 8-6 lead. The outburst was fueled by seven hits, including back-to-back RBI doubles from Weston Hawkins and Sam Lawrence.
The two teams exchanged runs over the next two innings, beginning in the fourth when Littman crossed the plate following a fielder's choice for the team's seventh run. After giving the run back in the bottom of the fourth, Fitchburg State battled for another in the fifth when Brendan O' Flaherty reached on an error before scoring on another defensive miscue by RPI.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Engineer's got the run back as well as adding an insurance run, using a three-hit inning to get two runs on the board, highlighted by a Jeff Sitarski RBI base knock up the middle (11-8).
Down three runs, Fitchburg State opened the top of the seventh with singles from Curran and Mooney before pinch runner Vianchi Pujols and Curran eventually scored to clear the bases, cutting the gap to one-run. But with two outs, the Falcons were unable to threaten further, flying out to end the game, resulting in the 11-10 game two final.
RPI used a committee of pitchers to get through the game, with five different arms tossing at least an inning. Freshman Griffin Kelley earned his first collegiate victory with two complete innings while senior Jack Krasovec closed the door on the game for his first save of the year.
Fitchburg State sophomore Andrew Dunn took the loss, surrendering three earned runs on three hits in one inning on the hill. Freshman Jack Gallant and sophomore David Barry combined to pitch two scoreless frames, while newcomer Austin Alzate was charged with one run in one inning, striking out one.
Release Courtesy of Fitchburg State student journalist Kyle Prudhomme