When and Where: March 23, 2016 – Manchester, N.H. (Sullivan Park)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 3, Saint Anselm College 1
Records: SNHU 15-2 (1-0 Northeast-10, 1-0 NE Division), Saint Anselm 3-13 (0-1 Northeast-10, 0-1 NE Division)
Junior Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn.) hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth and sophomore Justin Valdespina (Garfield, N.J.) pitched six sharp innings as the 14th-ranked Southern New Hampshire University baseball team recorded a 3-1 victory against crosstown-rival Saint Anselm College in both team's Northeast-10 opener Wednesday afternoon at Sullivan Park.
Saint Anselm jumped on the board first with an unearned run in the bottom of the second as Shaine Carpenter led off with a single, moved to second on a throwing error and eventually scored two groundouts later.
Southern New Hampshire tied it in the fourth with an unearned run of its own when Helms singled up the middle, stole second, advanced to third on a grounder to first and scored when the first baseman threw the ball wide of the covering pitcher.
The Penmen snapped the deadlock in the sixth when Helms led off and belted his fourth home run of the year to the parking lot in left-center. Graduate student Ryan Gendron (Nashua, N.H.) followed with a double to left and junior Derek Bauer (Millis, Mass.) singled him in with a knock to right that made it 3-1.
Valdespina cruised from there, retiring six straight before giving way to the bullpen in the seventh. Senior Ian Searles (Wareham, Mass.) squirmed his way into a jam, allowing two on with two out, but sophomore Jake Walkinshaw (Seymour, Conn.) entered and induced a fly out to center to escape the sticky situation. Walkinshaw gave up a hit in each of the final two innings, but was never truly threatened.
Valdespina (4-1) allowed one run – unearned – on three hits, while striking out seven and not walking a batter in six innings of work. Searles tossed two-thirds of an inning, relinquishing two hits and a walk, while Walkinshaw nailed down his league-leading fifth save of the season with two-and-a-third innings of shutout ball as he gave up two hits, struck out a pair and did not walk a batter.
Autrey Gates pitched well for Saint Anselm, allowing three runs – two earned – on seven hits, while striking out three and not issuing any walks in seven innings of work.
- SNHU is back in line with the 2012 team, matching it for the best 17-game start in program history.
- Valdespina ended his outing by retiring 12 of 13, including seven-in-a-row.
- Gendron threw out two runners at first from right field on would-be base hits.
The Penmen are back in action Friday, March 25 (3 p.m.) when they take on Bentley University. The home opener for the Penmen is scheduled for Thursday, March 31 (3 p.m.) against Saint Michael's College.
For the latest on Southern New Hampshire University athletics, follow the Penmen via social media on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Sign up to receive text message alerts and e-mail newsletters about your favorite Penmen teams here.