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Senior closer voted New England's No. 1 pitcher for 2013
WELLESLEY, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior right-handed relief pitcher Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) has been voted Division III Pitcher-of-the-Year by the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA), it has been announced today.
The selection helps cap a steady climb through a four-year career which began with exclusive work on the sub-varsity pitcher as a freshman to his selection as Division III New England's No. 1 pitcher. As a first-team selection, Purnell is eligible for ABCA All-America consideration when that team is released next Thursday, May 23. Purnell is also eligible to compete in the annual New England All-Star Game in June.
A total of 52 players were voted to the All-New England team: 15 on the first team, 18 on the second, and 19 on the third. Purnell was one of four pitchers named to the first team, which included seven players from the Little East Conference.
Previously named as the relief pitcher on the All-LEC first team, Purnell appeared in 29 of the team's 44 contests this year. His appearance total established season records for both appearances and relief appearances in a season. The 6-foot-2 inch, 200-pounder was 6-1 with a 1.63 ERA and nine saves (third-most in New England) and 51 strikeouts and only five walks in 38.2 innings. He shared the staff lead in wins and topped all pitchers in ERA and saves, the latter category one shy of the season record.
This season marked the first as the team's fulltime closer for Purnell, who did not have a save in 37 relief appearances throughout his sophomore and junior seasons. He was 1-0 with a 3.30 ERA in 30.0 innings over 20 relief appearances as a sophomore, and 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 34.0 innings over 19 appearances (17 in relief) as a junior.
This year, Purnell gave up earned runs in only six appearances, surrendering more than one in a game only once. He struck out 17 batters before issuing his first walk in his ninth appearance and recorded saves in three consecutive games in mid-April in conference victories over Western Connecticut State University and in both ends of road sweep at Rhode Island College.
In his career, Purnell appeared in 68 games - fourth-most among pitchers in program-history - with an 8-4 record, nine saves, a 2.89 ERA, 106 strikeouts and 31 walks in 102 2/3 innings.
Purnell becomes the program's third NEIBA Pitcher-of-the-Year, following Ryan DiPietro in 2004 and 2005.
In 2013, Eastern won 30 games for the 29th time since 1973, finishing 30-13-1. Ranked fourth in New England, Eastern won two and lost two as the No. 2 seed in last week's Little East Conference tournament.
Though contrasting in style, Monroe natives remain 'blood brothers'
By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff
Editor's Note: This question-and-answer is with brothers Drew and Dean Accomando. Drew played four years of baseball - serving as a team captain this past spring - before graduating with honors last night (Tuesday, May 14) with a degree in Health and Physical Education. A Sport & Leisure Management major, Dean recently completed his second season with the lacrosse program and has been part of Little East Conference championships each year. The Accomandos, born 28 months apart (Dean turns 20 next week), played a variety of sports together while growing up in Monroe (the family has since moved to Shelton) and were football teammates at Masuk High School. While both consider football to be among their favorite activities while growing up, Drew settled on baseball in college. Dean followed his brother to Eastern two years later, choosing lacrosse.
While the theory of 'sibling rivalry' may have its genesis with the Accomandos - the debate as to which is the better all-around athlete rages on - the brothers are in undeniable agreement that their college experience was enhanced and enriched by daily interaction for the past two years.
This is the third of a four-part series focusing upon sibling athletes at Eastern, following previous installments documenting swimming sisters Colleen and Katie King of Barkhamsted, and lacrosse sisters Kelsea and Amy Burkhardt of Old Saybrook. The final installment will be a story about the unique situation in the men's lacrosse program, which included three sets of brothers this year: Drew and Angus Deane, Kevin and Sean Fechtmann (the second and third Fechtmanns to play lacrosse at Eastern), and Mike and Brendan Gillotti.
Were you two inseparable growing up?
Dean: "No, we weren't really good friends until high school. He used to beat me up a little bit.
Drew: "I mean, we had our ups and downs but if we ever needed to go to the backyard and play a couple of sports, he was my guy. When we'd go ride a go-cart around, he was in the passenger seat all the time. We were best friends, but enemies."
Did you two share a bedroom while growing up?
Dean: "Our entire lives."
Drew: "Yeah, we were the only two out of our family to ever have to share a bedroom. It isn't easy sleeping on the top bunk over somebody you know. He steps on you when he comes down and he's waking me up."
Dean: "I like the TV on and he likes it off."
What kind of things do you both like to do together?
Dean: "We like to work out."
Drew: "We exercise together; we go fishing together."
Dean: "Video games."
Drew: "Yeah and we go to the supermarket together because we live together so we got to go shopping and get the food. Maybe like a drive to go somewhere if someone needs something."
Dean: "We party together."
Drew: "Yeah we go out together and meet new people."
What kind of things do you both have in common?
Dean: "We both played football our entire lives, and I used to play baseball up until about high school and switched to lacrosse."
Drew: "Football was probably both of our favorite sports growing up. That's what really kind of brought us together and separated us from my other brother and sister, because all we ever wanted to do was to go outside and tackle one another. In common, I'd say watch each other play sports because I would never want to miss one of his hockey games or football games in high school and he'd never want to miss one of my games when I played."
Dean: "Yeah I try to get to every single one of his baseball games I can. It's hard, because we practice at the same time but I usually make it to the last few innings that I can."
Drew: "For things together, pretty much everything, anything I do, I can do with him, too."
In what ways are you alike and in what ways are you different?
Dean: "One: the hair."
Drew: "He's got long hair and a beard and I'm clean cut and shave."
Dean: "I've always had the longer hair and the beard. Also, I'm the only one to play hockey and lacrosse in the family and I also have the tattoos."
Drew: "Yeah he's got tattoos, long hair and a beard and I don't have any tattoos and I have short hair. I play baseball and he plays lacrosse, kind of the opposite. I played basketball and he played hockey."
Dean: "I grew up in a big baseball family where my oldest brother went to play at Division I UConn and I wanted to take my own path."
In what ways would your parents or friends say you both are alike and what ways would they say you are different?
Drew: "Well he's napping on the couch and I'm in the gym, that's what they say. Nah, he's getting better now. I'd say that we're so passionate about sports and life like bettering yourself everyday like we both wake up with a mission. Whether it's we've got to get bigger, faster, stronger today or I got to go to the library to get x, y, and z done, definitely work ethic, determination, perseverance."
Dean: "Our difference I think would be academically, though."
Drew: "Yeah, academics."
Dean: "He's been blowing it out of the water."
Drew: "Yeah, I want to get straight A's and he's fine with getting B's and C's."
Dean: "It took me a little longer to get adjusted to college, so I'm figuring it out now and steadily improving."
When you both were in high school or junior high, did you both ever talk of maybe playing the same sport or just attending the same college?
Drew: "I would say football for a while. We always wanted to play on the same football team."
Dean: "The only time that was ever going to happen was high school because he's two years older than me, two grades above me."
Drew: "I got hurt a little bit in high school in football so I couldn't play anymore so that kind of shot that out of the water but I think that all along we always talked about one of us being a running back, one being a linebacker on the other team. I think we wanted to play football together but we took our own paths."
Dean: "College-wise, I ended up making a decision one, basically (Eastern) was close (to home)and two, it helped me having Drew here because I wasn't that great in school and I knew that if I needed help or had a question on my classes, he would be there for me. And now we live in the same building off campus."
Do you think that your parents wanted the two of you to go to the same college or did they leave it entirely up to you two?
Drew: "They definitely left it to us, for sure. I think it just influenced him a little bit that the adjustments at college would be easier with his older brother there. I had a bunch of friends on campus, I knew the ins and outs of Eastern, I would be a junior so I've been here for two years, so I think it was comforting for them to know that he was going to go to Eastern so they sort of pushed him in that aspect and once that he showed that he wanted to go, they gave us the option 100 percent."
Dean: "And also it makes it easier for (our parents). Now they can come to one school to see one of our games. Last weekend I had a lacrosse game and he had two baseball games and they were able to watch our games."
Why did the two of you choose Eastern?
Drew: "I chose Eastern a while ago because it was a good fit for me to play baseball, go to school to get a good academic degree, and play at a very competitive program."
Dean: "I think it was fitting for me because he was here. I got in a few schools but this was 1. economically better, cheaper, in-state, got some good financial aid, and 2. He was here, it was close, I had the ability to play a Division III sport and compete. That was also good it was at a high level and it's a pretty good team."
What do you guys do to each other that get you angry at one another?
Drew: "Tell the other one..."
Dean "... to do something."
Drew: "If I say 'Dean clean the dishes', I might have a plate flying at the back of my head. Pretty much if he tells me something to do or if I tell him something to do, it's like stepping on each other's toes. It doesn't work very well."
Dean: "Yeah, we got to work on our own clocks."
Who is the better all-around athlete?
Drew: "I am."
Dean: "No way."
Dean: "He's definitely bigger and stronger (but) I don't know about faster anymore."
Drew: "He played more sports and he was a three-sport athlete in high school and I only played two sports in high school. I played baseball, football and he played football, hockey and lacrosse."
Dean: Yeah, and I played baseball that covered up my whole life."
Drew: "He played more sports, but when it comes down to the little guy throwing the Frisbee or bean bag toss I have, but he played three sports in high school and he has more sport experience under his belt I'd say."
What do you do better than Dean?
Drew: "What do I do better than Dean?...I have consistent time-managing schedules."
Dean: "That's for dang sure."
Drew: "I think that comes with being older. I can wake up every day and know what I'm going to get done, what time I'm going to the gym, and what time I got to study. I think he wakes up and he's still got to figure it out."
What do you do better than Drew?
Dean: "Probably the best napper in the family. No."
Drew: "I think you're better with your friends, like caring about your friends."
Dean: "I care about hanging with my friends more, keeping in touch and keeping close relationships and stuff like that. I'm kind of more free-going like whatever comes up or if I think of it I'll do it. I usually don't have a set schedule and I do as I please."
How much contact do the two of you have in an ordinary day at school?
Drew: "Since we live together, a lot of contact. But say we didn't live together, because we didn't live together last year, almost every single day. We had to talk every day. Maybe there'd be a day or two where we wouldn't. I would say like one to two times a day saying 'what are you doing', 'you got any food', 'what are you doing later', 'you have work to do', 'what time's this game', 'what time's that game', talk about the family a little bit with what's going on."
Dean: "This year it's multiple times a day. Whether it's texting, phone calls, seeing each other..."
Drew: "...if he's locked out of the house."
Dean: "Or 'Yo, make me food? No'"
What do you guys both like best about Eastern?
Drew: "I like the ability to see my friends every day, play a sport and still get a good degree. It allows me to manage all areas of my life. If we had a bigger school, I'd be too consumed with the friends and what-not and wouldn't be able to focus on my sport. It's just a smaller together community so it allows you to have friends, play a sport, and go to school."
Dean: "I definitely like the fact that the size of the classes at Eastern, some aren't too big and you can actually get one-on-one help with teachers in your class if you needed it. That's helpful sometimes because I need that one-on-one help. Also, I like the fact that I have so many friends here and I get to see them all the time, where as in a big school you'd have to call them to hang out. Here, I can be walking in the student center or walking to class or walking home and I can say "what up' to them. It's a lot closer, it's more down to earth, the campus is pretty nice and I like that."
What are your plans for next year? As Drew will be graduating and you'll be the only one here, how do you feel about that?
Dean: "It's going to be different. I'm not going to have too many people to turn to if I've got something to talk to. There is always phones but it's a lot easier if I could just walk upstairs and go talk to him. It's going to be definitely different because I'm going to be the only one coming back to the house because all my roommates are seniors. I'm going to have a fresh group of friends, they're on the lacrosse team and stuff, but it's going to be different not being able to go upstairs and talk to him or having him to go to the grocery store or something like that. It's going to be different, I think it's going to be good, but at the same time I'm probably going to miss him leaving."
Darby, Purnell, Vaccarelli and Lynch are all first-time honorees
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Senior pitchers Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) and Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) of Eastern Connecticut State University have been selected to the Little East Conference all-conference first team and have been joined by second-team infielders Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott), both juniors, it was announced today.
Darby, a lefty, was one of two starting pitchers named to the first team, while Purnell, a righty, was tabbed as the first-team relief pitcher. Lynch was selected as one of two shortstops on the second team ,while Vaccarelli was the second-team all-conference third base.
All four are first-time all-conference honorees.
Darby and Purnell shared the staff lead in wins, with six, with both pitchers losing one decision. Darby led all starters with a 2.97 ERA, while Purnell's 1.63 ERA topped all pitchers on the staff. Darby also led the staff with 67 strikeouts (against just 16 walks) and shared the team lead with 11 starts. Purenll collected nine saves - one shy of the season record -- setting program records for appearances in a season and relief appearances in a season, with 29.
Among hitters with at least 100 at-bats, Vaccarelli led all players with a .347 batting average. He started all 44 games, all of them at third bases, and batted second in the order behind Lynch in 42 games. Defensively, Vaccarelli was second to Lynch with 67 assists.
Lynch started all 42 games in which he appeared, 41 of those starts coming at shortstop. He was the team's starting leadoff hitter in 28 games, but also spent time at six other positions in the order. Lynch batted .315 with a team-high 14 doubles. He drove in 28 runs and was the team leader with 134 assists.
Eastern won 30 games for the 29th time since 1973, finishing 30-13-1. Ranked fourth in New England, Eastern won two and lost two as the No. 2 seed in last week's Little East Conference tournament.
In LEC baseball tournament, Corsairs hold on for 7-6 victory
NCAA Tournament Field
Although it was ranked No. 5 in the final NCAA New England regional rankings (through the regular season), Eastern was not one of the 56 teams chosen to the 2013 tournament. The Harwich, Mass. regional was comprised of six automatic qualifiers (Southern Maine, Wheaton, Endicott, Saint Joseph's, ME, Salem State and Daniel Webster), and two at-large selections (MIT and Western New England). A ninth New England team -- automatic qualifier Amherst -- was moved to the Ithaca, NY regional. Of those nine New England teams, Eastern won two (vs. Amherst) and lost five (three vs. Southern Maine and one each to Western NE and Wheaton).
GORHAM, Maine - Three Eastern Connecticut State University pitchers held the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to one run over the final six innings but the Warriors were unable to complete a comeback from six runs down in a 7-6 loss in the losers' bracket final of the 2013 Little East Conference Baseball Tournament Saturday morning at the USM Baseball Stadium.
At right: First-year junior catcher Nik Ververis (19) led Eastern with a .500 tournament average, ending the season with 19 RBI on only 23 hits.
Top-seeded University of Southern Maine (37-7) completed a four-game tournament sweep with a 4-2 win over UMass Dartmouth (18-23) in the first game of the championship round which gives the Huskies their second straight tourney title, fourth overall. USM had gone 12 years without a tournament championship before surviving a first-game loss to win four straight and down Plymouth State University in the 2012 title tilt.
Seeded second, Eastern (30-13-1) won its first two tournament games - 10-9 over UMass Dartmouth Wednesday and completed a 9-1 victory over fourth-seeded Massachusetts Boston which began Thursday and concluded Friday. In Friday's winners' bracket final, Southern Maine hammered Eastern, 22-9, sending the Warriors into Saturday's losers' bracket final against UMass Dartmouth Saturday morning. Prior to the Eastern game, UMD completed a 21-5 victory over UMass Dartmouth which was suspended due to darkness in the top of the eighth inning.
At right: Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer had three hits and two RBI and scored three runs Saturday.
Making his first start in his 27th career appearance Saturday, junior righty Pat Barnett (Windsor) was raked for six runs on seven hits in the first two innings, but settled down to give up only a two-out fourth-inning solo home run until giving way to freshman righty Sam Kosterich (Stamford) with one out and one on in the seventh.
Down 6-0, the Warriors bounced back with four runs on six hits and a sacrifice fly in the fourth, chasing UMD starter George Bent. Trailing 7-4, Eastern pulled to within one with two runs in the seventh on a leadoff double by junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield), singles by junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) and senior centerfield Mike Riemer (Ellington) and a ground ball by senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin), which scored the second run despite resulting in a double play.
In the four-run fourth, Balowski and No. 8 hitter Nik Ververis (Plainfield) doubled, Ververis' sending home two runs, and Riemer, junior DH Gavin Lavallee (New Milford), junior leftfielder Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA), and No. 9 hitter Tyler Caserta (Stratford) singled. Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) drove in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly, with McKenna's single also plating a run.
With Eastern looking to even the game in the top of the ninth, Riemer walked with one out, but junior righty Karney Boff earned his second save of the year by getting a 4-6-3 game-ending double play.
Each team recorded three double plays in the game. The Warriors got a difficult 3-6-3 twin killing started and ended by Balowski at first base in the third, snuffed out a UMD rally with an inning-ending DP started by Lynch in the seventh, and upon entering right field as a late-inning defensive replacement in the eighth, sophomore Adam Roderick (West Hartford), caught a fly ball and doubled UMD's Corey Allison off first to end the inning.
Every Eastern starter had at least one hit in the 15-hit Eastern attack, with Lynch, Riemer, Balowski, Accomando, Lavallee and Ververis all collecting two. Riemer's RBI single in the seventh was the 98th hit of his four-year career.
At right: Senior reliever Matt Purnell established a season record with his 29th appearance of the year in Saturday's loss to UMass Dartmouth
Senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) broke the 12-year-old season record for appearances when he entered the game for the 29th time this season, recording the final five outs of the game. Purnell, who fanned one and allowed one hit, had
earlier this year set the season record for relief appearances, breaking the previous mark of 26. He has nine saves, one shy of the season mark.
Eastern and UMass Dartmouth split four games this year, each winning by a run in the LEC tournament, and splitting an April 27 doubleheader at the Eastern Baseball Stadium, the Warriors winning the first game by a run.
In four games in the tournament, Eastern batted .338 -- above its regular-season average of .292 -- but had an 8.49 earned-run average (inflated largely by Southern Maine's 19 earned runs in Game 3). Ververis batted .500 (5-for-10) with six RBI, Riemer .467 (7-for-15) with five RBI and Accomando and McKenna .385 (both were 5-for-13). Lavallee reached nine times with four hits, four walks and a hit-by-pitch, and scored a team-high six runs. Caserta matched Ververis with six RBI. Senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston), Purnell and sophomore righty Tyler Cyr (Bristol) combined to pitch 11 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on eight hits with eight strikeouts.
Ranked fifth in the most recent NCAA Division III regional ratings, Eastern will be considered for an at-large berth to its 33rd NCAA tournament when announcements are made Monday.
After completing victory over UMB Friday, they are pounded by USM
GORHAM, Maine - It took second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University one hour and 20 minutes Friday morning to complete the job that it started Thursday afternoon as the Warriors moved into the winners' bracket final of the 2013 Little East Conference Baseball Tournament with a 9-1 victory over fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston, 9-0 at the USM Baseball Stadium.
At right: Evan Chamberlain
A winner of 30 or more games for the 30th time in the last 41 season, Eastern (30-11-1) moves into the winners' bracket final today at noon against top-seeded University of Southern Maine (35-7), which shut out third-seeded Keene State College, 4-0, in Thursday's second game.
The winner of that game advances to the championship round Saturday, needing only one win to capture the LEC title and gain the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Southern Maine 22, Eastern Conn. 9
In the second game of the day, top-seeded University of Southern Maine (36-7) dropped Eastern (30-12-1) into the losers' bracket by crushing the Warriors, 22-9 in the all-important winners' bracket final. The Huskies are the only remaining undefeated team and need one win to capture their second straight LEC tournament title.
Saturday morning in an elimination game, Eastern will face the winner of a suspended game which began Friday afternoon between No. 5 seed Massachusetts Dartmouth and No. 4 seed Massachusetts Boston. The visiting team, UMass Dartmouth led that game 20-5, while batting with two out and nine runs in in the eighth, before it was suspended due to darkness. The UMB-UMD game will resume Saturday at 9 a.m. and the Warriors will play the loser 45 minutes following it's completion. The remainder of the tournament schedule has not been released.
The Eastern-UMass Dartmouth winner must defeat undefeated Southern Maine twice to claim the championship.
Ranked No. 1 in New England and No. 9 nationally, Southern Maine sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning against Eastern, scoring six runs on eight hits, with the first six batters coming around to score on the way to their third straight tournament victory and 11th win in their last 12 outings. The Huskies battered four Eastern pitchers for 25 hits (seven for extra bases) and led 22-0 after six innings before the Warriors scored nine runs in their final at-bats on eight hits.
Forrest Chadwick was 5-for-5 with four runs scored for the Huskies, Nick Grady 4-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored and Tucker White 3-for-4 witih four runs scored and three RBI.
Junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) paced Eastern's ten-hit attack with three hits and two RBI while sophomore catcher Cory DeMedeiros (Fall River, MA) came off the bench with two hits and senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Straford) drove in two runs and scored two.
Eastern's tournament victories have come against UMass Dartmouth and UMass Boston. The Warriors outslugged UMass Dartmouth, 10-9, in Wednesday's opener and routed UMass Boston, 9-1, in a game which began Thursday afternoon and was completed Friday morning.
As the visiting team, Eastern led UMass (16-22) 9-0 when Thursday's game was suspended due to darkness after four-and-one-half innings Thursday UMass faces fifth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in an elimination game today at 3 p.m.
Eastern, which had shut out UMass Boston twice during the regular season, scored a run in the first, two in the second, four in the fourth and had just completed a two-run fifth when the game was suspended. It had earlier been delayed for 75 minutes due to rain.
Junior catcher Nik Ververis (Plainville) drove in three runs with a ground ball, double and single. Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) has two RBI singles, and junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) a two-run triple. Senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Stratford) and sophomore rightfielder Adam Roderick (West Hartford) have both driven in one run.
Senior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) allowed three hits over four innings with two strikeouts, a walk, and hit by pitch, but did not figure in the win because he did not pitch the minimum five innings. Chamberlain was credited with the first-game regular-season win over UMass Boston April 13, fanning ten and walking one and allowing only three hits over the first seven innings en route to his fifth win of the year against a loss. Since that regular-season victory over UMass, Chamberlain had struggled in his previous three starts prior to Thursday.
Eastern had opened the tournament by surviving a 10-9 slugfest with UMass Dartmouth, while Southern Maine routed No. 6 Western Connecticut, 13-2 in the first round before shutting out Keene State Thursday.
The two winningest programs in LEC baseball history, Eastern (three tournament titles) and Southern Maine (three) will be meeting in the conference tournament for the 17th time. The Warriors have won ten of the last 13 since the Huskies won the first three. The Warriors had won six titles since Southern Maine won its first championship since 1999 last year, defeating Plymouth State University in the title game at home.
The Huskies, who swept Eastern in the regular season for the second straight season in 2013, are ranked among the national top five in 12 team cateories. They lead Division III in scoring and runs, are second in hits, home runs per game, home runs, and slugging and third in triples.
Leftfielder Tucker White and third baseman Nick Grady -- batting 3-4 in the Southern Maine order -- are among the national leaders in several categories. White is first in triples, second in runs and third in runs per game, and Grady is third in hits.
When the teams met in the regular season, the Huskies collected 27 hits (nine for extra bases) off nine Eastern pitchers. Three of Chris Bernard's five hits were doubles, and Bernard and Matt Verrier each drove in four runs.
Eastern's pitchers surrendered 17 earned runs in the two losses, with no batter managing more than two hits. Starters Chamberlain and senior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) absorbed the losses. Chamerlain gave up five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings and Darby three earned runs in three innings.
Video Live Stats
In game featuring five lead changes, two-run eighth decisive in LECs
GORHAM, Maine - Senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) and senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) stroked consecutive run-scoring singles with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to a 10-9 win over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the opening game of the 2013 Little East Conference tournament at the USM Baseball Field.
Above: Tyler Caserta
A winner of its last six, second-seeded Eastern (29-11-1) advances in the winners' bracket Thursday at 3:30 p.m. against No. 4 Massachusetts Boston (16-21), which came from three runs down to score four runs in the sixth and upend No. 3 Keene State College (18-22) in the third of three games on the first day. UMass Dartmouth (15-22) plays No. 6 Western Connecticut State University (17-23) in an elimination game Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Western fell to No. 1 seed University of Southern Maine (34-7), 13-2, in Wednesday morning's tournament opener. USM meets Keene State Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
UMass wiped out a three-run Eastern lead with five runs in the top of the fifth inning on two doubles and a triple and six hits in all to move out to a 7-5 lead. Later trailing 9-8, Eastern scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth to make for the fifth lead change in the contest.With one out, junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) singled and stole his team-leading 18th base of the season. With two out, Riemer sent in the tying run with a single to left-center. An error allowed Riemer to move into scoring position, and Accomando singled up the middle to score Riemer with the go-ahead run.
Making his 28th appearance of the season - tying the season record -- senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) got the final five outs of the game to earn his sixth win in seven decisions. Purnell surrendered the tying and go-ahead runs in the top of the eighth on a double by No. 3 batter George Aggostini, but got a pair of strikeouts to prevent further damage, then left the tying run at first in the ninth with a game-ending ground ball to Lynch.
Riemer and Accomando each had three hits and scored three runs, with Accomando also reaching with a walk. Junior leftfielder Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA) had a two-run single in a three-run fourth inning that gave Eastern a 5-2 cushion.
Senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Stratford) was credited with three RBI on a two-out single that tied the game in the second, an infield ground ball in the three-run fourth, and a two-out single in the seventh that gave the Warriors an 8-7 lead in the seventh.
UMass ripped four Eastern pitchers for 17 hits, but were given only one walk, and the Corsairs stranded nine runners and hit into a double play. Junior righty Pat Barnett (Windsor) allowed only one run on five hits with three strikeouts over three innings after taking over for senior lefty starter Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) after the first four UMass batters reached safely in the Corsairs' five-run fifth.
Caserta is batting .393 (11-for-28) on a current eight-game hitting streak which has raised his batting average to a season-high .250. Accomando, batting cleanup for only the second time this year, has hit safely in his last seven.
Eastern swept UMass Boston when the teams met April 13 at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA, 2-0, and 4-0.
Warriors will be No. 2 seed in upcoming Little East tournament
KEENE, N.H. -- Eastern Connecticut State University posted a pair of come-from-behind wins against Keene State College in a Little East Conference baseball doubleheader played at Owl Athletic Complex Friday.
Trailing 10-8 going in the top of the ninth inning, The Warriors (28-11-1, 10-4 LEC) scored five runs to take the first game 13-11. ECSU rallied for a 6-3 victory in the night cap.
With the sweep, Eastern Conn. will be the second seed and face fifth seed UMass Dartmouth in its opening round game at noon. With the two losses, Keene State (18-21, 7-7 LEC) will be the third seed in the LEC six-team double-elimination tournament that begins Wednesday at Southern Maine.
The Owls will face fourth seed UMass Boston in their opening-round game (3:30 p.m.). Keene State couldn't hold on to several leads in a wild first game. Trailing 3-0, the Owls scored four runs in the bottom of the second to go up 4-3. Sophomore Tanner Luopa and senior Greg Bates had RBI hits and freshman Cody Dube had a two-run double in the inning.
KSC added two more runs in the third to extend its lead to 6-3. Luopa had a RBI single in the inning.
Without the benefit of a hit, the Owls plated two more runs in the sixth to make it an 8-5 game.
The Warriors scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning, tying the score at eight-all. Seniors Mike Riemer (Ellington) and Drew Accomando (Monroe) had key RBI hits for Eastern.
The Owls got the runs back in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead 10-8. Sophomore Ian Seawards brought in both run on an infield grounder when two Warrior fielders collided.
KSC couldn't hold the lead in the ninth. Junior Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) and Accomando each two-run RBI hits in the ninth inning rally.
Junior Nick Vita, sophomore Tyler Estevez, Bates, Dube, and Luopa each had two hits for the Owls. Seawards and Luopa each knocked in three runs.
Lynch and Accomando each had three hits and three RBIs for Eastern. Junior Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) also had three hits in the game.
Junior Vinnie Mangiagli, the fourth of five Owl pitchers took the loss for KSC.
Senior Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) picked up the win for Eastern.
In the second game, KSC took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a RBI double by Bates. After ECSU tied the game in the top of the fourth, KSC go the run back in the bottom of the inning on an infield throwing error.
The Warriors scored three runs in the fifth to go up 4-2. Lynch and Riemer had RBI hits in the inning.
KSC made it a one run game (4-3) in the bottom of the sixth when freshman Billy Hartmann led off with a single and came around to score on an error.
The Warriors scored two insurance runs in the ninth. Riemer had an RBI single and senior Joe Balowski (Berlin) had an RBI double.
Vita had two more hits in the second game for the Owls.
Riemer had four hits and two RBIs to lead the Warriors.
Game account courtesy of Keene State College Sports Information
Recognized on Seniors' Day prior to the start of Wednesday's second game were (from left): Tyler Caserta, Joe Balowski, Tom Darby, Matt Purnell, Drew Accomando, Mike Riemer, Evan Chamberlain, Andrew Merritt. (Photo by David Santerre)
Vaccarelli drives in five runs, Vogt notches two saves vs. Amherst
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott) drove in five runs and senior rightfielder Tyler Caserta (Stratford) collected four hits and scored five runs as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team closes its 2013 home season with a 13-7, 6-3 non-conference sweep over Amherst College in a game featuring two of New England's top-ranked teams.
At right: Senior Tyler Caserta (7) made his final home at-bat a memorable one when he belted a solo home run leading off the bottom of the sixth inning in Wednesday's second-game win over Amherst College (Photo by David Santerre).
A winner of 13 of its last 16, No. 4-ranked Eastern (26-11-1) wiped out an early 4-0 deficit in the opener with four runs in the second, four more in the fourth and five in the sixth to make a winner of junior righty reliever Pat Barnett (Windsor). In the second game, Eastern scored two runs in each of its first two at-bats, and sophomore righty starter Brent Pelella (Southbury), freshman righty Sam Kosterich (Stamford) and sophomore righty Chuck Vogt (Windsor Locks) combined on a six-hitter.
Vogt gained his first two saves of the season. He recording the final four outs of the first game after a two-run, two-out triple by Bob Cook chased Barnett (4-0) and cut Eastern's lead to 8-7 in the sixth (both games were seven innings). Barnett got a swinging strike to strand the tying run at third and Eastern responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning when they sent ten batters to the plate. Batting eighth, junior catcher Nik Ververis (Plainfield) drove in two runs with a double to center and after junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield) was hit by a pitch, Vaccarelli laced a two-out, two-run single through the left side.
Vogt picked up the final five outs of the nightcap as Eastern improved to 10-1-1 against Amherst (20-11) -- ranked sixth in New England -- in the last 12 meetings. Pelella carried a 5-0 lead into the fifth before giving way to Kosterich after the first three batters reached safely, accounting for the visitors' first run. Kosterich walked two in the inning but got a 4-6-3 double play to lessen the damage. Vogt was summoned with one out and two on the sixth and Eastern leading 5-3. He gave up an RBI single to Taiki Kasuga but forced an infield pop, then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh.
At left: Chuck Vogt sealed both wins Wednesday against Amherst with his first two saves of the season. Vogt pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and a walk.(Photo by David Santerre).
Batting ninth in the order in each game, Caserta reached five times in the doubleheader with four hits - including his second home run of the season leading off the sixth inning of the nightcap - and one walk and scored five runs. Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe), junior DH Gavin Lavallee (New Milford) and senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington) all had three hits, and junior leftfielder Tommy McKenna (Lexington, MA) reaching three times and scoring three runs.
Eastern closes out the regular season Friday with a noon doubleheader at Keene State College in Little East Conference competition.
Balowski drives in four runs as team rallies from early five-run deficit
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team erased an early five-run deficit by sending 12 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs on eight hits in the bottom of the third inning, then broke a tie with four runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 12-8 non-conference victory over Tufts University Monday evening at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
At right: Joe Balowski knocked in four runs in Monday's 12-8 win over Tufts at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Hitting safely in his sixth consecutive game, senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) drove in the first two runs of the third inning with a triple, and his two-run, two-out single on a 3-2 pitch plated the first two runs of the seventh which snapped an 8-8 tie. Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) drove in three runs with a first-inning single, a third-inning sacrifice fly, and followed Balowski's two-run single with a run-scoring double -- also on a 3-2 pitch -- in the seventh. Accomando also closed out the win by fanning the final three batters of the ninth after a leadoff walk.
At left: Tyler Cyr pitched two scoreless innings early in the game which allowed the Warriors to remain within striking distance of Tufts Monday night.
Sophomore righty Tyler Cyr (Bristol) allowed only one hit in two innings as the third of seven Eastern (24-11-1) pitchers, starting a 1-6-3 double play in the third before the Warriors' seven-run third inning. Appearing in his 25th game of the season in relief (one shy of the record for relief appearances in a season), senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) left the bases loaded with a swinging strikeout to end the seventh after Tufts had tied the game with two runs, then pitched a 1-2-3 eighth (fanning two) before Accomando closed out Purnell's fourth win in five decisions and preserved Eastern's fifth win over Tufts (21-12) in the last seven meetings.
Junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott), Eastern's leading hitter, reached safely four times with three walks and an RBI single and scored twice. The top five hitters in the Eastern order - junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield), Vaccarelli, senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington), Balowski and Accomando, combined to reach safely 13 times with eight hits (three for extra bases), and five walks, drive in nine runs, and score seven. With two hits, Balowski inched to within .300 for the first time since April 10.
Eastern played without an error for the ninth time this year.
Sophomore second baseman Joe Harrington, batting eighth in the order, drove in three runs for Tufts with an RBI single in a four-run first inning and a two-run single in the third that pushed Tufts' lead to 6-1.
The three hour and thirty four minute game included 20 runs, 23 hits, 11 different pitchers, seven hit batters and 11 walks. Eastern's eight hits in the third inning were two shy of the program record.
Eastern hosts Amherst College in a 3 p.m. non-conference makeup doubleheader on Seniors' Day Wednesday in the final regular-season home games of the year. Eastern closes out the regular season Friday with a Little East Conference noon doubleheader at Keene State College before opening up in the conference tournament a week from thisWednesday at Gorham, ME.
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.