MANCHESTER, N.H. – A walkoff single by Jeff Giannino (Beverly, Mass.) with two outs in the bottom of the ninth lifted Southern New Hampshire University to a 7-6 Northeast-10 baseball victory over Bentley University Sunday afternoon. The Penmen improved to 16-22-1 overall and 9-12-1 in the NE-10, while the Falcons are now 20-21 and 12-10 in the league.
With the game tied 6-6 entering the bottom of the ninth, Thomas Quicker (West Islip, N.Y.) led off with a single up the middle, prompting Bentley to lift pitcher Dean Sandonato for JP Ashline. Eric Pelletier (Beverly, Mass.) then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Quicker over. The next batter, Matt Boulter (Wrentham, Mass.) struck out.
With Giannino up, Quicker would steal third. Giannino, who had entered the game in the top of the ninth as a defensive replacement in left, dropped a single to left that landed in front of Bentley left fielder Mark Lane to allow Quicker to come home with the winning run.
Bentley had tied the game up with a run in the top of the ninth. Ross Curley singled to right with one out and moved to second on an error by SNHU right fielder Jon Minucci (Madison, Conn.). He would score on a single through the left side by James Roche.
Trailing 5-4 heading into the eighth, Bentley tied the game 5-5 in the top of the frame. Brett Damato singled to left with one out and after moving to second on a Chris Hardy single, scored when Lane reached on a Penmen error. Southern New Hampshire reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning when Minucci and Brendan O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Mass.) hit back-to-back doubles to left.
The Penmen took a 5-4 lead with three runs in the sixth. Pelletier singled to lead off the inning and came home on a two-out double down the left field line by Kevin Spatkowski (Bristol, Conn.). Spatkowski would score when the next batter, Jon Massad (Shrewbury, Mass.) doubled to center. Massad scored on a single by O'Brien.
Both teams grabbed two runs in the first inning. Charlie Pagliarulo and Roche hit back-to-back singles, with Pagliarulo scoring on Roche's hit. Roche came home on a Hardy single. In the bottom half, Pelletier delivered a two-run double down the left field line that plated O'Brien and Tim Rines (Merrimack, N.H.).
Bentley took a 4-2 lead with two runs in the third. Pagliarulo reached on a one-out single, and after a Roche walk, scored when Damato reached on an error. Roche made it 4-2 when he scored on a groundout by Hardy.
Pagliarulo and Damato each had three hits for Bentley, which outhit Southern New Hampshire 14-13. O'Brien and Pelletier each finished with two hits and two runs driven in for the Penmen, with Pelletier recording his 100th career hit. Rines and Boulter also had two hits as eight of the nine Penmen starters had at least one hit.
Garrett Jewell (Alexandria, N.H.) allowed three hits over the final 1.2 innings to earn the win for the Penmen, fanning four. SNHU starter Steve Golbranson (Abington, Mass.) went 7.1 innings and allowed 11 hits while fanning five. Sandonato took the loss for Bentley, allowing four hits and two runs in 2.1 innings of work.
Southern New Hampshire returns to action Tuesday when it travels to Saint Anselm College for a non-league contest starting at 3:30.