MANCHESTER, N.H. – Fourth-seeded Saint Anselm College scored four times in the bottom of the eighth inning to hand top-seeded Southern New Hampshire University an 8-4 loss in the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship East Regional Friday afternoon at Penmen Field. The Hawks, who improved to 29-24-2, will face No. 2 seed Le Moyne College in one loser's bracket contest at 3:00 pm Saturday. The Penmen fell to 39-13 and await the loser of Friday's late game between No. 3 Franklin Pierce and No. 5 Wilmington (Del.) at 11:00 am Saturday morning.
With the game tied 4-4 in the middle of the eighth, Saint Anselm, playing as the home team, made it 5-4 when Mike Hayden singled through the right side to plate Dan Lagasse, who walked with one out and stole second. After the Penmen walked two of the next three hitters, posting a strikeout in between, Tito Lluberes worked a two-out walk to bring in Kyle Grumoli, who pinch ran for Hayden. Richie Manzi made it 8-4 when his single deep in the hole to short scored Jeffrey Criscuolo and Nate Gonya.
Southern New Hampshire trailed 4-2 entering the eighth, but after Andy Lalli (Lakeville, Mass.) walked with two away, Jon Minucci (Madison, Conn.) belted his ninth home run of the season to the gap in left center to tie the game.
SNHU got on the board first, scoring twice in the fifth. Jamie Wollerman (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.) had the first Penmen hit of the game, a single to right, with one out, and scored on a Hawk error after right fielder Dan DeCoste mishandled Tyler Poisson's (Rochester, N.H.) single. Brendan O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Mass.) brought in the second run when his groundout scored Bryan Toland (Wildwood, N.J.) from third.
DeCoste gave Saint Anselm a 4-2 lead with one swing of the bat with his grand slam to left in the bottom of the sixth. Lluberes opened the inning with a single to right, followed by a bunt single by Manzi and a walk to Robert Kelly.
Neil Hesek earned the win for Saint Anselm with four innings of two-hit relief while fanning five. Hawk starter Timothy Cooney went the first five frames and allowed three hits and two unearned runs while notching three strikeouts. David Gibson (Hanover, Mass.) took the loss for the Penmen, allowing three runs and issuing two walks in two innings to go along with his two strikeouts. SNHU starter Brad Monroe (Hampton, N.H.) allowed eight hits and notched a pair of strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.