DUDLEY, Mass. – Endicott College baseball opened their 2012 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) schedule Saturday by posting a sweep of host Nichols.
The Gulls (6-8, 2-0 CCC) scored three times in the third inning and held off the Bison (1-7, 0-2 CCC) for a 3-1 victory in the series opener. Timely hitting along with defensive miscues allowed Endicott to post a 7-0 shutout of Nichols in the second game, the Gulls' first shutout of the season.
Endicott sophomores EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y. and Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) had the best performances of the day at the dish for the Gulls. Martinez finished the doubleheader 3-for-8 with two runs, two RBI, and two stolen bases, while Gold was 3-for-5 with a double, a 2-run bomb, and five runs driven in.
Gulls senior Benjamin Petrides (Belchertown, Mass.) (2-1) went the distance in the victory, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out two.
Nichols junior Bryan Gill (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the opening game. He finished the day 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base.
In the first game of the twin-bill, all of the Gulls' runs came during what proved to be the decisive third inning. With one out, Martinez singled up the middle and advanced later in the inning on a stolen base. He would come around to score with two outs when Eric Lemke (Southington, Conn.) reached after shortstop Chris Bruno's (Darien, Conn.) throw pulled Gill off the bag.
The error proved costly for the Bison. The next Endicott batter, Gold, drilled the second pitch he saw down the right field line for a two-run homer and a 3-0 lead. It was Gold's second home run of the season.
The score would remain 3-0 in favor of the Gulls until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Bison pushed a runner across the plate. A two-out single to left field by freshman Brett Franciosi (Leominster, Mass.) brought home Gill, who reached on a single earlier in the inning.
Nichols could not get any closer than within two, though, going in order in the sixth and seventh for a 3-1 Endicott win.
Bison Junior James Curto (Braintree, Mass.) allowed three runs – all unearned – over seven innings of work, surrendering five hits and two walks while striking out two (0-2). Endicott left six runners on base to Nichols' four. The affair was a speedy one, lasting a mere one hour and 25 minutes.
In game two, the Gulls scored early and often, as they plated runs in five of the scheduled seven innings en route to a 7-0 win over the Bison.
The story of the game was Endicott's Steven Carter (Brunswick, Maine). The sophomore hurler tossed a gem, allowing just three hits, two coming in the final inning, and three walks while striking out six. Carter pitched the length of the outing, throwing over 110 pitches, and improved to 1-1 on the season.
Endicott opened up the second game with a pair of runs in the top of the first, as a two-out double by Gold scored Lemke from second. Gold came in from third later on, scoring during the throw of Colin Sitarz's (West Hartford, Conn.) successful stolen base attempt.
The Gulls loaded the bases in the top half of the second but only managed to score once as Nichols junior Ray Curto (Braintree, Mass.) got some defensive help to get out of a jam. Endicott rookie Michael Cahill (Plymouth, Mass.) opened the inning with a double and later scored on a fielder's choice, as the Gulls sent seven batters to the plate in the inning.
Endicott added two runs in the fourth, chasing Curto (1-1) from the game during the inning, and put up single runs in the sixth and seventh for the 7-0 final.
The Gulls, who collected nine hits over the second outing and were active on the base paths with six steals, could have had more but stranded 11 runners. The Bison left six men on.
Curto was saddled with the loss, as he allowed five runs (three earned), four hits, and four walks over 3.1 innings of work. Freshman Colin Geagan (Watertown, Mass.) was effective for the Bison in a relief appearance, giving up five hits and two runs while striking out four in three innings before junior John Micciche (Holbrook, Mass.) closed out the day for the Bison.
Endicott and Nichols both return to Commonwealth Coast Conference action on Sunday afternoon. The Gulls return home to host Roger Williams in a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m., while the Bison will battle Curry twice with first pitch scheduled for noon.