FITCHBURG, Mass. (March 31, 2012) – The Fitchburg State baseball team suffered a pair of losses to Salem State University this afternoon, dropping game one, 4-3 in eight innings before falling 7-4 in the nightcap.
Salem State 4, Fitchburg State 3 (Game 1)
In the opener, Salem State rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning and added a single run in the eighth, spoiling a strong start from Fitchburg State starter Tynan Flegg (Calgary, AB/National Sport Academy) with a 4-3 victory.
Trailing by three (3-0) entering the top of the seventh inning, Salem State sent eight batters to the plate as the Vikings notched three runs to force extra innings. The Vikings plated their first run with a fielder's choice, groundball from Steve Buitkus (Reading, Mass./Reading), and later took advantage of a costly Falcon error and a wild pitch to set runners in scoring position. Sophomore Kyle McElroy (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport) then delivered a line drive, base-hit to left field, plating both runners to knot the score at 3-3.
In the eighth, Salem State sealed its victory as Brett Cahill (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester) led off with a single through the right side and pinch runner Bill Cataldo (Reading, Mass./Reading) later scored on a Matt Burgess (Kingston, Mass./Silver Lake) RBI double. The Falcons were held scoreless in the bottom half as senior Mario Padovani (Lynnfield, Mass./Lynnfield) recorded his second save of the season.
Fitchburg State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third inning of the contest, using a run scoring double from Jeff Boice (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury). The Falcons later increased their lead with solo homeruns off the bat of Mike Szajner (Leominster, Mass./Leominster) and Cody Bamforth (Vernon, Conn./Rockville) but Salem State's heroics in the bottom of the seventh gave the Vikings the momentum for their first conference victory.
Flegg tossed a complete game for the Falcons, falling to 1-2 on the season. The junior southpaw allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits, while striking out five and walking three. Senior Matt Kerr (E. Freetown, Mass./Apponequet) earned the win for the Vikings, throwing seven innings of three run, four hit baseball.
Salem State 7, Fitchburg State 4 (Game 2)
In the nightcap, Salem State broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the sixth inning, scoring a pair of runs with three hits to clinch the MASCAC doubleheader sweep, 7-4.
Back-to-back doubles from McElroy and sophomore Nick Conti (Lynn, Mass./St. Mary's) sparked the Vikings two-run, sixth inning while Buitkus single through the left-side in the seventh capped the scoring for Salem State.
The Vikings opened an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning with run scoring hits from Chris Cocci (Wakefield, R.I./Proust School), McElroy and Conti, but the Falcons rallied back over the next two innings, plating four runs to knot the score at 4-4. Fitchburg State took advantage for four Salem State errors, plating runs with RBIs from Chris Rivera (New Britain, Conn./New Britain) and Patrick McMahon (S. Windsor, Conn./S. Windsor).
For the contest, Salem State pounded out 15 hits, led by Cocci's 4-for-4 performance. Cocci notched one double and a trio of singles, while McElroy finished 3-for-4 performance with a pair of double, two runs scored and one RBI. McMahon was the lone Falcon with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with one RBI.
On the mound, senior Perry Russo (E. Hartford, Conn./E. Hartford) suffered the loss for the Falcons, yielding five runs and 11 hits over 5.1 IP. Sophomore Ed Derren (Westford, Mass./Westford) earned the win for the Vikings, tossing five scoreless innings of relief with five K's and only four hits allowed.
Fitchburg State (3-14, 0-2 MASCAC) returns to action on Tuesday as it hosts Suffolk University at 3:30 p.m. Salem State (15-5, 2-0 MASCAC) will also be in action on Tuesday as it hosts MIT at 3:30 p.m.