When and Where: March 13, 2016 – Lantana, Fla. (Santaluces Complex)
Game 1 Score: Southern New Hampshire University 20, Caldwell University 0
Game 2 Score: Southern New Hampshire University 15, Caldwell University 0
Records: SNHU 12-0, Caldwell 2-3
Junior Manny Cruz (Wolcott, Conn.) went 5-for-8 with four RBI and five runs scored over two games, while junior Alex Person (Foxboro, Mass.) and sophomore Justin Valdespina (Garfield, N.J.) turned in quality starts, as the 11th-ranked Southern New Hampshire University baseball team posted a pair of shutouts against Caldwell University on Sunday at Santaluces Complex. SNHU rang up a 20-0 victory in game one and notched a 15-0 triumph in the second game.
Game one was scoreless into the fourth inning when an RBI triple down the right field line by junior Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn.) put the Penmen on the board. Graduate student Ryan Gendron (Nashua, N.H.) followed with an RBI groundout to third to double the lead.
Southern New Hampshire sustained momentum and came alive in the fifth. Junior Zach Goldstein (Merrick, N.Y.) drove in the first run with a triple to right and then scored himself on a single from Cruz to make it 4-0. A Helms RBI knock to right and a two-run single to left from Gendron stretched the advantage to 7-0.
SNHU duplicated its five-run frame again the following inning to completely break the game open. Another error led to the first run of the inning before Cruz' two-run, ground-rule double to center ballooned the score to an even 10-0. A run-scoring triple down the left field line by grad student Mike Mastroberti (Ramsey, N.J.) and an RBI groundout to third from Helms capped the scoring and pushed the lead to 12-0.
After the Penmen added a single run in the seventh, they exploded to hang a six-spot on the board in the eighth as sophomores Matt Rabbito (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Andrew Lalonde (Bedford, N.H.), as well as senior Lorenzo Papa (Stoneham, Mass.), did the bulk of the damage with RBI singles. SNHU tacked on another single run in the ninth to close the scoring.
Helms (two runs), Cruz (three runs) and Gendron were each 2-for-4 with three RBI. Lalonde finished 3-for-5 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored, with Goldstein and freshman Robert Fulkerson (Anaheim, Calif.) both going 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Rabbito was 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored after entering as a pinch hitter.
Meanwhile, Person was overshadowed by the offensive explosion, but pitched brilliantly in the win. Person (2-0) tossed seven shutout innings, allowing four hits, while striking out seven and walking three. Freshman Connor Gavin (E. Longmeadow, Mass.) worked two shutout innings, giving up two hits, while striking out three and not walking a batter.
Southern New Hampshire picked up where they left off in the second game as it hung a five-spot in the bottom of the first. Mastroberti started it with an RBI single to left, while a two-run double to left from Gendron and a two-run single down the right field line by freshman Joshua Zbierski (Stafford Springs, Conn.) capped the scoring in the frame. Junior Derek Bauer (Millis, Mass.) kept the runs coming with a two-run bomb in the third.
Southern New Hampshire placed a jumbo cherry on top as it hung an eight-spot in the sixth. A Cruz infield single plated the inning's first run before a three-run crush job from Helms broke it wide open at 11-0. The Penmen would push four more across in the frame.
Bauer (two RBI, three runs) and Zbierski (three RBI, run) were both a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk, while Gendron was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and three runs scored. Cruz went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, with Mastroberti going 3-for-5, knocking in a run and scoring twice. Goldstein collected two hits in four at bats and crossed the plate twice.
Valdespina (3-0) tossed a complete-game shutout as he scattered five hits over seven innings, while punching out seven and walking a pair.
- The Penmen are off to their best start since 2012 when they began the year 13-0 and made it to the College World Series.
- The Penmen racked up 35 runs on 38 hits over the two games.
- SNHU scored at least one run in each of the final six innings of game one.
- The 20 runs the Penmen put up in the first game are the most in a single game for SNHU since it defeated Robert Morris University Illinois, 24-8, on March 11, 2003.
- The 20-run margin of victory in game one is the most since SNHU recorded a 23-3 victory against Laroche College on March 8, 1996.
- Southern New Hampshire is outscoring its opponents 66-10 over the last four games.
- The Penmen already have four shutouts in their first 12 games this season, including three in which they scored 10 runs or more. SNHU had four shutouts all of last season.
The Penmen are back in action Monday, March 14 (11 a.m.) against Adelphi University at the Lynn University Baseball Field. The home opener for the Penmen is scheduled for Thursday, March 31 (3 p.m.) against Saint Michael's College.
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