When and Where: May 12, 2016 – Rindge, N.H. (Pappas Field)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 9, College of Saint Rose 7
Records: SNHU 43-5, Saint Rose 19-19
Graduate student Mike Mastroberti (Ramsey, N.J.) homered and drove in four runs to lead the eighth-ranked Southern New Hampshire University baseball team to Thursday's 9-7 win against the College of Saint Rose in the Northeast-10 Championship at Franklin Pierce University's Pappas Field.
SNHU, seeded second in the Northeast Division, advances to the winner's bracket semifinal against Pace University, the Southwest's No. 2 seed, Friday (10 a.m.). The Golden Knights, the fourth seed from the Southwest Division, take on Franklin Pierce, the Northeast's top seed, in an elimination game Thursday night. Pace moved on with a 2-1 upset of Franklin Pierce in Thursday's middle game.
Saint Rose grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the second as Alec Caprarella plated a run after a bad hop off the turf on a fly ball to left turned into a triple before he scored on Mike Flynn's RBI groundout.
Freshman Joshua Zbierski (Stafford Springs, Conn.) sliced the Southern New Hampshire deficit right in half in the bottom of the frame when he crushed his first career home run to left field.
SNHU then tied it in the third when junior Manny Cruz (Wolcott, Conn.) drew a leadoff walk and scored on a three-bagger to left-center by Mastroberti, which gave him the program's all-time record for triples. Junior Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn.) then followed with a hustle double to score Mastroberti and give the Penmen their first lead of the afternoon at 3-2.
Flynn's RBI single against sophomore starter Justin Valdespina (Garfield, N.J.) in the fourth inning tied the game at 3-all, but Mastroberti quickly untied it in the bottom half with a three-run bomb that put the Penmen up, 6-3.
SNHU stretched the advantage to six with a three-spot in fifth. Grad student Ryan Gendron (Nashua, N.H.) led off the stanza with a single to left, stole second and scored when Zbierski dropped a single into right center that was misplayed by the right fielder for the first run of the inning. Two-out singles through the left side later in the frame from and junior Zach Goldstein (Merrick, N.Y.) and Cruz brought the score to 9-3.
Flynn pulled Saint Rose within four with a two-run homer to left off freshman Connor Gavin (E. Bridgewater, Mass.) in the top of the ninth before Chris Introcaso made it 9-6 with an RBI double to left. Sophomore Mitchell Powers (Portland, Maine) entered and nailed down the second out before a base hit brought the tying run to the plate. That brought sophomore Jake Walkinshaw (Seymour, Conn.) out of the 'pen to close it out, but a single back up the middle made it a two-run game with the go-ahead run walking to the plate. Walkinshaw punched out the better, however, and sent the Penmen to the winner's bracket semifinal on Friday.
Valdespina (9-3, 2.72 ERA) allowed three runs on five hits, while striking out eight and walking one. Gavin was charged with four runs on four hits as he struck out a batter for the only out he recorded. Powers and Walkinshaw (10th save) each gave up a hit in a third of an inning of work.
Cruz was a perfect 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, an RBI and two runs scored, while Zbierski, making just his 12th start of the year, went 2-for-3 with an RBI and pair of runs. Mastroberti batted 2-for-4 with a walk, four RBI and two runs scored, with Goldstein going 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs.
- Southern New Hampshire, which has won 29 of its last 32 and 25 of 27, is on pace for its best record ever at 43-5. The 2012 squad that advanced to the Division II College World Series in Cary, N.C., was 36-12 through its first 48 games.
- SNHU's 43rd win of the season matches the 2012 team for most victories ever in a single campaign.
- Mastroberti, who already owned the program's single-season record for triples and hits, broke Chris O'Neil's career triples mark of 15, set from 2007-11.
- Mastroberti has a hit in 20 of his last 21 contests, Goldstein has hit safely in 16 of 17, and Cruz and Helms have both collected a base knock in 10 of 11. Mastroberti, Goldstein and Cruz are tied for the longest hitting streak on the team at seven contests.
- Junior Derek Bauer (Millis, Mass.), who went 0-for-4, had his 15-game RBI streak snapped.
The Penmen are back in action Friday, May 13 (10 a.m.) when they take on Pace in the winner's bracket semifinal of the Northeast-10 Championship at Franklin Pierce's Pappas Field.
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