MANCHESTER, N.H. – Tim Flight (Portsmouth, R.I.) fanned 13 batters in eight innings and allowed just three hits as top-seeded Southern New Hampshire University blanked No. 6 seed Dowling College 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship East Regional Thursday at Penmen Field. The Penmen improve to 39-12, while the Golden Lions are now 31-18 on the season.
Southern New Hampshire advances to face the loser of Thursday's third game between third-seeded Franklin Pierce University and No. 4 seed Saint Anselm College Friday at 3:00 pm in the second round of the double-elimination tournament.
Flight, the Northeast-10 and consensus East Region Pitcher of the Year, upped his record to 8-1 with his eight shutout innings. He worked himself out of a bases-loaded, one out jam in the first by recording back-to-back strikeouts and from there allowed just two runners into scoring position the rest of the afternoon. Flight struck out the side in the first and fourth innings.
Southern New Hampshire staked itself to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Brendan O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Mass.) led off the inning with a bunt single and scored on a single up the middle by Andy Lalli (Lakeville, Mass.).
Lalli scored the second run after standing at second and Jon Minucci (Madison, Conn.) at first. The duo attempted a double steal with a 3-1 count on Greg Pezzuto (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.), who drew ball four. Dowling catcher Taylor Bargiacci threw down to third, and Golden Lion third baseman Ian Schneider tagged Lalli. Thinking it was the third out, he rolled the ball to the pitcher's mound, but an alert Lalli took off for home and scored before Schneider could recover the ball and throw him out.
SNHU scored its other run in the seventh. With two outs, Bryan Toland (Wildwood, N.J.) singled and stole second. He would score on O'Brien's single to the gap in left-center.
Alex Powers (Brewster, Mass.) struck out the side in the top of the ninth for Southern New Hampshire to pick up his sixth save of the season. Dowling hurler Marc Rutledge allowed just six hits in eight innings and two earned runs while striking out two.