COLCHESTER, Vt. - Three multi-run home runs were what separated the Saint Michael's College baseball team from No. 4 Southern New Hampshire University during the Purple Knights' 15-5 loss in their home opener on Wednesday afternoon at Doc Jacobs Field. The Purple Knights are without a victory through 12 games, all of which have also been in Northeast-10 Conference action, while the Penmen are 22-6 overall and 10-2 in the league. Southern New Hampshire, whose national ranking is according to D2 Baseball News, qualified for the past five NCAA Tournaments while winning two of the last three NE10 Championships.
Senior Steven Auger (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) rapped a home run while finishing 2-for-3 with a walk, and junior PJ Jasak (Palmer, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy/Le Moyne) was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a double. Sophomore Sean Winthrop (Hopkinton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) added a pair of hits, while classmate Dan Flynn (Williamstown, Mass./Mount Greylock Regional) doubled while scoring twice, driving in one run and walking. Saint Michael's was only outhit 10-8 and played its latest home opener since April 23, 2001.
As the first of seven pitchers, sophomore Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) took the loss after allowing five runs on four hits in two innings. Classmate Denis Cooney (Pittsfield, Mass./Pittsfield) spun two no-hit, shutout frames in relief, while sophomore southpaw Matt Downing (Hanover, Mass./Archbishop Williams) turned in his second scoreless outing in as many appearances, retiring three of his four batters.
Graduate student Zach Goldstein drove in five runs on one hit - a grand slam - while scoring twice and walking twice for the Penmen, and redshirt junior Ryan Sullivan and sophomore Robert Fulkerson both hit three-run home runs. Sophomore Joshua Zbierski finished 2-for-2 with a run, a walk and two stolen bases. Junior Ivon Clough picked up the win after yielding four runs on six hits in seven frames. He walked four and struck out four.
Senior Derek Bauer's two-out RBI single made it 1-0 in the first, and Goldstein knocked his grand slam to left field the following frame. The Purple Knights left sophomore Calvin Holland (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) at second base to end the home half, but the hosts broke through in the third. Flynn led off with a walk, Auger singled, and senior Drew Salk (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) doubled home the first run with two down before scoring on Jasak's single to center.
Winthrop singled and was stranded in scoring position to end the sixth, as Saint Michael's trailed only 5-2 heading into the final third of the game, where Southern New Hampshire pulled away. First-year Tom Blandini's RBI single made it 6-2, but third baseman Holland cut down a runner at the plate for the second out to bring the Purple Knights within one batter of escaping the inning. However, Sullivan knocked a three-run home run to left center to cap the four-run frame. The hosts again countered, as Flynn came up with an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh before scoring on sophomore Joe Robertson's (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) sacrifice fly.
Jasak led off the eighth with a double, and sophomore Harry Southworth (Taunton, Mass./Coyle & Cassidy) walked with one down in a 9-4 game, but the Purple Knights' final sustained threat ended with a strikeout and fly out. The Penmen scored six more times in the ninth thanks to Fulkerson's three-run dinger and three straight batters walking with the bases loaded. Auger hit his second career homer in the home half, an inside-the-parker, launching a ball off the fence in left that remained in play while the pursuant left fielder continued out of play.
The Purple Knights host Assumption College for a three-game weekend series, beginning with a 3 p.m. contest on Friday.