Senior John Healy tossed eight shutout innings as the top-seeded Saint Anselm College baseball team posted a 9-0 victory against fourth-seeded Bentley University in the first round of the Northeast-10 Championship on Wednesday, May 9 at Manchester's Gill Stadium.
The Hawks (27-21-2), who earn their first Northeast-10 Championship win since May of 1987, advance to – and will host – the four-team double elimination portion of the tournament at Sullivan Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Falcons end their season at 28-23.
The Hawks jumped out to a huge lead as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the third inning against Bentley starter JP Ashline. Junior Andrew Chandler started with a double down the left field line. After sophomore Tito Lluberes popped up his bunt attempt, junior Richie Manzi singled up the middle to put runners at the corners. Classmate Robert Kelly (Aurora, Colo.) then followed with a sharp single to center that scored Chandler and staked the Hawks to a 1-0 lead.
Senior Daniel DeCoste then doubled to center to plate Manzi and move Kelly to third. Sophomore Dan Lagasse moved both runners up 90 feet with a single through the right side before classmate Nate Gonya drove a sacrifice fly to left-center to score DeCoste and stretch the lead to 4-0.
After freshman Mike Hayden doubled to left to put a pair in scoring position, senior Jeffrey Criscuolo doubled to left-center to score Lagasse and Hayden to widen the gap to six. Chandler then singled to center to bring Criscuolo around to score and the Hawks led 7-0.
Saint Anselm tacked on a pair in the sixth against Bentley reliever Billy Sullivan. Chandler once again jump-started the rally with a double to right-center. Lluberes then scored Chandler with a sharp double that deflected off the glove of the third baseman and rolled into foul territory. After Lluberes moved to third on a wild pitch, Manzi singled up the middle to make it 9-0.
Healy (8-1), who retired 12 straight batters to begin the game, went eight innings and allowed just three hits, while striking out seven and not walking a batter. Senior Timothy Cooney pitched a 1-2-3 ninth and struck out one.
Ashline relinquished seven runs on nine hits, while striking out two and walking one over three innings. Sullivan worked the final five innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out a pair.
Chandler went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored, while DeCoste and Lagasse were each 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Manzi was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run.