Endicott Holds Off Wentworth Rally, 7-5

BEVERLY, Mass. – Trailing 7-2 entering the ninth inning, the Wentworth Institute of Technology scored three times, however left the bases loaded as the Leopards' comeback attempt was held off by Endicott, 7-5, in opening-round action of the 2014 Commonwealth Coast Conference Baseball Tournament.

With the win the top-seeded Gulls (27-12) will host fourth seeded Salve Regina (25-13), which was edged by third-seeded Western New England, 7-6, tomorrow at Noon, while sixth-seeded Wentworth will travel to second-seeded Roger Williams (22-15) in an elimination game beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Hawks were upended by fifth-seeded Gordon, 15-4.

CCC Pitcher of the Year JJ Branch (Milford, Mass.) picked up the win to improve to 7-1 on the year as he pitched seven innings, allowing a pair of runs on seven hits, struck out six, and picked two runners off.

Endicott scored three runs in its first two at bats as freshman Cam Farnham (Andover, Mass.) doubled to lead off the first inning and advanced to third on a single to left by senior Brett Holmgren (Middleboro, Mass.), Senior Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) roped a double to right center to plate Farnham. Sophomore Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) came up next and grounded out to second base to bring home Holmgren who was sitting on third base.

The Gulls added a run in the bottom of the second as Farnham hit a single to center to score sophomore Steve Morganelli (Milford, Mass.) who reached on a leadoff single through the infield earlier in the inning.

In the fifth inning Holmgren made it a 4-0 game with a two-out RBI single to right to bring home Farnham for his second run of the game.

The Leopards got on the board in the top of the sixth when senior Paul Dassau (Franklin, Mass.) led off with a double and went to third on a single by classmate Jon Spitz (Hanover, Mass.). Junior Anthony Matera (Trumbull, Conn.) grounded into a double play, which scored Dassau.

An inning later, junior Jake Mailman (Medway, Mass.) led off with a single – and in the process became the 18th player in program history to reach the century mark in hits – and went to second on a single by freshman Jordan Burst (Jackson, N.J.). Both players moved up 90 feet when sophomore Sam McManus (Hopkinton, N.H.) laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Mailman came in to make it a 4-2 game on a sacrifice fly off the bat of sophomore Greg Confessore (West Hartford, Conn.).

Endicott put up three in the home half of the inning when Holmgren had an RBI groundout then back-to-back triples by Gold and Paola put three runs on the board to push the Gulls lead up to 7-2.

The Leopards trailed by five going into their final at bat in the top of the ninth but quickly loaded the bases when Mailman walked, Burst was hit by a pitch, and McManus had a bloop single. Confessore was hit by a pitch to bring the first of three runs in the inning and, after a strikeout, Dassau was hit by a pitch to make it a 7-4 contest. Senior Jon Spitz (Hanover, Mass.) grounded out to score McManus before Matera walked to load the bases with two outs. However, Gulls senior Connor McLaughlin (Clinton, Mass.) got a groundout to end both the threat and the game.

Mailman was 2-for-3 with two runs scored while Spitz was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Confessore drove in two runs on the day. Freshman Aaron Denis (Dover, N.H.) fell to 5-3 on the year as he allowed seven runs on 12 hits in 6.2 innings. Junior Dakota Baird (Bermuda Dunes, Calif.) pitched the final 1.1 innings, allowing zero runs on one hit.

Wentworth and Roger Williams will meet for the 57th time since 1987 with the Hawks, who have won the last four games in the series (including sweeping a CCC doubleheader on March 23, 4-3, and 2-0), holding a 29-26-1 all time lead. This will be the 12th time the two teams have met in the post-season with the Hawks holding a 6-5 edge.