BEVERLY, Mass. – In an important Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) baseball double-header at North Field on Sunday, Endicott earned a split with Western New England University and the teams remained tied at the top of the CCC standings with 5-1 conference records.
The Gulls (13-9) broke open a pitcher's duel for a 6-0 win in game one and then lost a lead late in the second game and fell 6-4 to the Golden Bears (14-6) in an extra inning.
Endicott has off until Wednesday night, when they will play UMass Boston at Campanelli Field in Brockton at 6:15 pm.
Western New England will play Keene State College that same afternoon in a single game starting at 3:30 pm.
Game 1: Endicott 6, Western New England 0
In what began as a pitching duel, Endicott senior Tyler Hitchcock (Abington, Mass.) threw a gem for the Gulls, allowing just two hits over a complete seven shutout innings.
Hitchcock's performance may have gotten lost earlier in the game, as he and WNE starter Mike Lospinuso (West Islip, N.Y.) put up matching zeroes through the first five innings, and Lospinuso had a no-hitter going with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
That was until eight straight Endicott batters reached base and the Gulls erupted for six runs on six hits.
Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) got the rally started when he was hit by a pitch and then scored on the first hit of the game for the Gulls, a double to left center by first baseman Brett Holmgren (Middleboro, Mass.). After a walk to Colin Sitarz (W. Hartford, Conn.), singles by EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) drove in two more runs.
The Gulls busted the game open on a two-run single up the middle by senior Eric Lemke (Southington, Conn.), who then scored on a single to left by shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.).
One of Western New England's hits, and their best chance to score in the game, came on the first batter of the day, when center fielder Jeff Schult (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) singled through the right side and then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Schult looked to be ready to cross the plate on a fly out to right by Matt Anthonis (Guilford, Conn.), but he was gunned down on a great throw to the plate by right fielder Conor Ressel (Rockport, Mass.) and a tag play by Martinez.
Left fielder Taylor Perun (Plainville, Conn.) had the other hit in the game for the Golden Bears, while Lospinuso suffered his first defeat of the season (4-1) after allowing six runs on five hits and four walks through five and two-thirds innings.
Lospinuso collected three strikeouts, while Hitchcock, who improved to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.61, fanned two batters.
Game 2: Western New England 6, Endicott 4, 8 Innings
The Gulls held a 4-0 lead in the top of the seventh, but Western New England scored four runs in the frame and two more in the eighth inning to salvage a split of the series.
Senior catcher Robert Goldstick (Deerfield, Ill.) was 2-2 with three runs batted in, while Paola drove in the other Endicott run and designated hitter Michael Cahill (Plymouth, Mass.) scored twice.
Endicott jumped in front with three runs in the second on an RBI single by Paola and a two run single to right by Goldstick, then added another run in the fourth when Goldstick singled in Cahill again.
Endicott lefty Zac Poland (Essex Junction, Vt.) was cruising himself on the mound, allowing his first hit in the top of the fifth inning, which he quickly erased on a double-play ball.
Trouble struck in the seventh inning, when Poland allowed singles to the first two batters of the inning and then the bases were loaded when Perun reached on an error by Hall.
WNE first basmena Steve Ambrosino (Laurel Hollow, N.Y.) delivered a single through the right side to score a run and then senior second baseman Tim Clark (Pepperell, Mass.) sent a ground rule double to deep left field which made the score 4-3 and knocked Poland from the game.
T.J. Wyrebek (Bristol, Conn.) added an RBI groundout to score Kyle McKelvey (Schenectady, N.Y.), who had reached on a fielder's choice, with the tying run.
The Gulls had a chance to walk-off with the victory in the seventh, with Martinez walking and eventually getting to third with two outs. Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) and Oringer both battled through lengthy at-bats and fouled off a combined eleven pitches, but after Gold drew a walk, Oringer grounded out the pitcher to end the threat.
In the eighth, Ambrosino singled home third baseman Mike Rubino (Northford, Conn.) for what would end up being the game-winning run and McKelvey added insurance with an RBI groundout.
The loss fell to Connor McLaughlin (Clinton, Mass.), who allowed a single to Rubino and walked Steve Buckley (Monroe, Conn.) to start the eighth, and was charged with two runs, falling to 1-3 on the season. Poland finished with a line of 6.1 innings pitched four strikeouts with no walks. Poland allowed five hits and two of his four runs were earned.
WNE senior Kevin Jefferis (Cheshire, Conn.) improved to 1-1, pitching three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief. The save went to Brendan Nugent (Milford, Conn.), his first of the year, after pitching a perfect eighth with one strikeout.