MANCHESTER, N.H. – Freshman MacNeill Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn.) and sophomore Thomas Murphy (Chelmsford, Mass.) each knocked in three runs, but, despite scoring six runs over the final two innings, the Saint Anselm College baseball team fell to 11th-ranked Southern New Hampshire University, 12-9, Thursday afternoon in its home opener at Sullivan Park
The Hawks, who have dropped eight straight, sink to 9-21 on the season, including 3-10 in Northeast-10 play and 3-6 in the Northeast-10 Northeast Division. The Penmen, who have won eight-in-a-row, improve to 24-7, 12-3 NE-10, 7-2 NE-10 NE.
Southern New Hampshire grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Riley Palmer hit a run-scoring single to center off sophomore starter Clayton Welch (Manchester, N.H.). The Penmen then took advantage of three walks and an untimely Saint Anselm error to put eight runs on the board in the third inning – highlighted by two-out, two-run doubles by Anthony Aceto and Manny Cruz, as well as a two-out, two-run home run from Al Stanton.
Saint Anselm chipped away at its deficit and cut the SNHU lead to 9-2 in the bottom of the third on a bases-loaded walk by junior Joe Morin (Salem, N.H.) and a sacrifice fly to left from Finnegan.
RBI singles from Cruz and Stanton in the fifth canceled out those runs, but the Hawks made it 11-3 in the bottom of the inning when Morin drew a one-out walk, moved to third on a double down the right field line by senior Matt Wojichowski (Portsmouth, R.I.) and scored on a ground out to second by Finnegan.
SNHU would add on another run in the sixth when Mike Mastroberti scored on one of the Hawks' seven errors in the game.
The Hawks sliced away at the lead some more in the eighth as Wojichowski scored on a wild pitch and Murphy came through with a two-run single up the middle to close within 12-6. Saint Anselm repeated the three-run frame in the ninth as a run-scoring single to center from Finnegan and a three-base throwing error by the third baseman that scored him trimmed the deficit to four before Murphy's RBI fielder's choice grounder to second made it 12-9. The Hawks brought the tying run to the plate with two outs, but Benjamin Criscuolo recorded a strikeout to earn his fifth save of the year.
Welch (2-5) was charged with seven runs – five earned – on six hits, while walking four and striking out three over 2.2 innings. Freshman Autrey Gates (Pembroke, N.H.) worked 0.1 inning and gave up two runs – both unearned – on two hits, while classmate Joseph Levasseur (Rowley, Mass.) allowed two runs on two hits over 2.0 innings, as he struck out two and walked one. Fellow freshman Bryan Even (Great Falls, Va.) tossed the final 4.0 innings and gave up an unearned run on three hits, while striking out one.
Finnegan (two runs) and Murphy were both 1-for-3 with the three RBI, while senior Andrew Chandler (Westford, Mass.) went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk. Wojichowski (run, walk), senior Dan Lagasse (Londonderry, N.H.; walk) and freshman Frank D'Amato (Cranston, R.I.; run, walk) were all 1-for-4. Morin was 0-for-2, but walked three times, scored twice and collected an RBI.
The Hawks return to action Saturday, April 12 at 2 p.m. as they play host to Stonehill College at Sullivan. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.