Above: Tom Darby
He combines on four-hitter to give Warriors 3-2 win in eventual split
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) pitched into the seventh inning of the opener to gain his third straight Little East Conference baseball victory in Eastern Connecticut State University's 3-2 win over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
In the second game, UMass Dartmouth (13-20, 5-7 LEC) scored ten runs in its final three at-bats to post a 13-5 victory as the teams split their conference regular-season twinbill for the fourth time in the last five years.
Darby combined on a four-hitter with Chuck Vogt (Windsor Locks) and Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs). Darby gave up all four of the hits in 6 2/3 innings, taking a 3-0, two-hit shutout into the seventh before the Corsairs scored twice on Luke Bomback's RBI single and Tyler White's sacrifice fly. Vogt stranded the go-ahead runs on base with an inning-ending ground ball.
Eastern (23-11-1, 8-4 LEC) staked Darby to the lead with two runs in the second and another in the third against righty Karney Boff, who surrendered just six hits in seven innings in the loss. First-year senior Tyler Caserta's (Stratford) first home run in an Eastern uniform gave Darby a 2-0 edge in the second inning, and Joe Balowski (Berlin) sent home Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) with Eastern's third run of the game in the third when he hit into a double play.
During his stint, Darby threw 60 of his 97 pitches for strikes and has now struck out 59 and walked only 13 in a staff-high 54 2/3 innings.
Leadoff hitter Ryan Medeiros followed a first-game 0-for-4 performance with two hits and five RBI and three runs scored in the nightcap, and George Aggostini and White each had two hits and two RBI and combined for three runs scored. Medeiros walked and scored in the second inning of the second game to help UMD back from an early 4-0 deficit, belted a three-run home run to give his team its first lead, 6-5 in the seventh inning, and doubled home two runs in a six-run eighth that expanded a one-run lead to seven.
Starting pitcher Greg Porter (Mystic) retired the first nine batters in the second game, but faltered in the fourth when the first four batters reached safely on two hits, a walk and hit batter. Porter left with a 4-3 lead (although he did not pitch long enough to get the win), but UMD scored runs off of each of Eastern's five subsequent relievers.
Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) led Eastern in the doubleheader with four hits, with Balowski and Lynch collecting three hits each and Caserta driving in three runs.
Eastern's split, coupled with Keene State College's doubleheader loss to conference leader University of Southern Maine, gives the Warriors sole possession of second place in the conference, two games behind USM. The Corsairs remain in fifth place.
The top six teams qualify for the LEC double-elimination tournament, which runs May 8-11 at the site of the top seed.