RINDGE, N.H. – Second-seeded Fitchburg State University outlasted #5 Bridgewater State University in an elimination game of the 2019 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Baseball Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Pappas Field in Rindge, New Hampshire. The game was played on the Franklin Piece University campus with Fitchburg as the home team.
Fitchburg State (24-15) advance to the loser's bracket final on Saturday morning (11:00 AM) against #3 Framingham State University. Framingham dropped a 12-0 decision to top-seeded Westfield State University in the winner's bracket final. Bridgewater State ends the season with an overall record of 17-22.
The game featured plenty of offense as the two teams combined for 25 runs, 29 hits (11 for extra bases), 13 walks and three hits batsmen.
The visiting Bears got on the board with a pair of runs in the top half of the first. Walks to Liam Bell and Kevin Bresciani followed by a pair of two-out, RBI singles by Jonathan Livolsi and Dominic Precopio accounted for the scoring in the inning.
Fitchburg answered with five runs in the home half of the first to take a 5-2 lead. The Falcons connected for four extra base hits in the frame including RBI doubles from Noah Milliard, Brennan Cuddahy and Matthew Pingitore as well as a run-scoring triple off the bat of Vincent Eramo. Timothy Horton also knocked in a run with an RBI single.
Bridgewater pushed across three runs in the third on an RBI double by Livolsi and a two-run double by Colin Josselyn.
In the top of the fourth, the Bears strung together four straight hits including a bases loaded, two-run double by Robinson to move in front. Back-to-back sacrifice flies from Livolsi and Precopio put the finishing touches on the four-run inning as Bridgewater jumped ahead, 9-5.
Fitchburg reclaimed the lead with a six-run, fifth inning as the Falcons sent 12 batters to the plate in the frame. Run-scoring singles by Joshua Macomber and Brandon Lefebvre, an RBI double by Cuddahy and a two-run single off the bat of Nicholas Cordeau highlighted the inning. Milliard added a bases loaded walk to cap off the scoring and give the hosts an 11-9 advantage.
Eramo belted a two-run homer over the left field fence in the bottom of the sixth to extend the Fitchburg lead to 13-9.
Bridgewater loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh on a walk and back-to-back singles by Skiendiel and Bell. Ruben Gonzalez followed with a two-run single and Robinson added a sacrifice fly to make it a one-run game (13-12).
The Bears loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the eighth, and had runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth but were unable to push across the tying run.
David Kerns pitcher very well in relief for the Bears as he tossed three scoreless and hitless innings. Kerns fanned three and the only batter to reach against him was hit by a pitch.
Bell reached safely five times to pace the Bears' 15-hit attack as he went 3-for-4 with a pair of walks and three runs scored. Gonzalez (2-for-6, R, 2RBI), Robinson (2-for-4, BB, 3R, 3RBI), Livolsi (2-for-3, 2BB, R, 3RBI) and Skiendiel (2-for-5, R) also finished with multiple hits for Bridgewater State, while Bresciani walked twice, singled and scored two runs in five plate appearances.
Aidan Ward picked up the win in relief for the Falcons. Ward (4-1) allowed three runs on three hits and three walks with a pair of strikeouts in four innings of work. Shaun Gamelin worked around a pair of walks in scoreless ninth to record his team-leading sixth save of the season. Gamelin fanned three in the inning.
Cuddahy went 3-for-4 with three doubles, a walk, three runs and two RBI to highlight the Falcons' 14-hit effort. Eramo also connected for three hits as he finished 3-for-5 at the plate with a home run, triple, three runs scored and three batted in.