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Baseball: For Starters, Pitching Shines

Chamberlain, Darby each pitch five scoreless innings in opening wins

darby_jersey_72_1241.jpgHOBOKEN, N.J. - The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team got scoreless starting pitching and All-New England Region first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) had five hits and drove in four runs in an 8-7 victory over Stevens Tech which completed a two-win opening day for the Warriors Saturday at Dobbelaar Field.

Tom Darby (at left) won his seventh career game without a loss Saturday.

After senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) tossed a two-hitter over five innings in an opening 8-1 decision over New Jersey City University (3-4), senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) won his seventh career game without a loss against Stevens (2-1) with a near-identical two-hit performance.

Chamberlain (1-0)  fanned ten batters and walked only two and Darby (1-0) struck out four and surrendered one walk.

Junior infielders Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) each had two hits in the victory over NJCU, with Lynch plating three runs with a two-run single in the fourth and RBI double in the fifth. Balowski scored twice for Eastern and Vaccarelli reached safely four times with two singles and two walks.

Against Stevens, Balowski doubled twice and singles three times in five at-bats, driving in a run with a double iin the first, two unearned runs in the second with a single and gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead with a run-scoring single in the fourth. Sophomore leadoff hitter Adam Roderick (West Hartford), last year's Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year had three hits - including an RBI double in the fourth and solo home run leading off the sixth that ballooned Eastern's lead to 8-0. Roderick also scored three times.

While junior righty Michael Pendergast (Farmington) and freshman righty Peter Gregory (Pittsfield, MA) combined on a two-hitter over the final four innings of the opener, the Warriors' bullpen faltered against Stevens.

Darby departed with a 5-0 lead in the second game, but four subsequent pitchers gave up seven earned runs on 12 hits as the hosts rallied for all seven of their runs over the final three innings.  With three runs in in the ninth and the bases loaded, senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) got Ryan Mannello on strikes to end the game.

Junior righty Greg Porter (Mystic) and senior righty Andrew Merritt (Norwalk) are expected to open on the mound Sunday when the Warriors face Ithaca College at 10:30 a.m. and Baruch College at 1:30 p.m. at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY.

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