MANCHESTER, N.H. – In a battle of two teams leading their respective Northeast-10 divisions, fourth-ranked Southern New Hampshire University and Pace University split a baseball doubleheader Friday afternoon. The Setters rallied for a 4-3, 10-inning victory in the opener while the Penmen bounced back with a 7-3 win in the nightcap. The Penmen now stand 26-4 overall, while the Setters are now 16-11.
With the win, SNHU broke the program single-season record for wins set last season when the Penmen went 25-22.
In the nightcap, Zach Robins (Westford, Mass.) and Greg Pezzuto (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.) led Southern New Hampshire with three hits apiece, with Pezzuto knocking in a pair of runs. Kevin Spatkowski (Bristol, Conn.) finished 2-5 and drove in a pair of runs.
The Penmen took a 2-0 lead in the second. A Spatkowski single to right brought in Robins, who had singled to lead off the inning. Pezzuto would score from third when an attempted pickoff at second bounced off the foot of Alejandro Diaz (Old Bridge, N.J.). Pace would get a run back in the fourth when Charlie Galasso reached on a throwing error, allowing Joe Solomeno to score from second.
Southern New Hampshire broke the game open with four runs in the sixth. A Pezzuto double to right brought in Robins and Jon Minucci (Madison, Conn.), while Pezzuto would later score when a ball up the middle by Brendan O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Mass.) went under the legs of Pace shortstop Chris Gili. Spatkowski would drive in the fourth run when his triple to right scored Diaz. After Pace scored twice in the top of the seventh to make it 6-3, Minucci tacked on a run in the seventh when his sac fly to left brought in Andy Lalli (Lakeville, Mass.), who worked a leadoff walk.
Zach LeBarron (Bennington, Vt.) upped his record to 3-0 by allowing eight hits and three runs in seven innings of work while recording nine strikeouts. David Gibson (Hanover, Mass.) worked the final two innings and registered four strikeouts while allowing no hits.
In game one, Southern New Hampshire scored all three runs in the bottom of the first. O'Brien led off with a walk and scored on a groundout by Al Stanton (Sandwich, Mass.). A Matt Boulter (Wrentham, Mass.) single plated Spatkowski, while Lalli singled down the left field line to bring home Boulter. Pace tied the game with three runs in the sixth. The Setters did not record a hit, but took advantage of an error, a wild pitch, a hit batsman and three walks. Galasso tied the game with his sac fly that scored Kyle Turnier.
Southern New Hampshire got the winning run into scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, with O'Brien leading off with a walk and moving to second on a sac bunt by Spatkowski. O'Brien moved to third on a groundout by Kyle McGinnity (Northboro, Mass.), but after Boulter was intentionally walked, Pezzuto grounded out to end the threat.
Pace's Joe Lombardi delivered a game-winning home run to right to lead off the 10th off new SNHU reliever Lucas Olen (Bedford, N.H.). In the bottom of the frame, Robins doubled with two out to give the hosts the game-tying run in scoring position, but Riley Palmer (Goffstown, N.H.) grounded out.
Lalli was 3-3 in the opener, while Boulter had two hits as the Penmen outhit the Setters 9-5. SNHU starter Brad Monroe (Hampton, N.H.) allowed just one hit in five-plus innings of work, but walked four in addition to his seven strikeouts. He was responsible for three runs (one earned). Alex Powers (Brewster, Mass.) threw four innings of scoreless relief and fanned seven while allowing a pair of hits.
Southern New Hampshire returns to action Saturday when it hosts Adelphi University in a noon doubleheader at Penmen Field.