FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – The Framingham State University baseball team belted three homeruns as the Rams swept a MASCAC doubleheader with Massachusetts Maritime Academy by scores of 7-1 and 6-2 this afternoon at Bowditch Field.
After starter Kevin Connelly snuffed out a two-on, one-out effort by Maritime in the first, the Rams got on the board in their first at bat of the day. Aaron Williams singled off Maritime starter Matt Smith and moved to third on an error in the outfield. Williams then stole home on the back end of a delayed double steal. A solo homerun to center from Kyle Pileski an inning later put Framingham up 2-0.
Meanwhile, Connelly was sailing, only giving up one hit through his first four as the right-hander kept the Buccaneers off-balance all day.
The Rams added three more in the bottom of the fourth to extend their lead to 5-0. Williams singled in a run and Jordan Pallazola plated a pair with a bases-loaded single to left. FSU extended its lead to 7-0 on RBI singles from Anthony Venuti and Williams in the bottom of the fifth.
The Buccaneers were denied in their first real scoring opportunity in the top of the sixth after Logan Sullo walked to lead off the frame. Sophomore Jackson Simone launched a shot to deep center, but Kyle Lippert made a diving catch to end the inning.
An inning later, the visitors finally got things going after Nick Haley hit a pinch-hit, two-run double to left field with one out. Pinch runner J.J. Ferguson moved over on a wild pitch and Connor Kennedy laced a two-bagger to left center, but Adam Wojenski induced two pop-ups and the game concluded.
Connelly (2-1) earned the victory for the host team, going six innings and allowing no runs on two hits with seven strikeouts and three walks. Smith (1-5) took the loss for MMA, lasting five innings and allowing six runs, five earned, on nine hits with four strikeouts and five walks. The sophomore does rank fourth in the MASCAC in strikeouts at 48.
Williams paced the Rams in the opener with three hits, two runs scored and two RBI, while Venuti picked up a pair of hits and drove in a run. No Buc had more than one hit and only Sullo reached base twice, both on free passes.
In the nightcap, starters Kyle Hodgson and Brian Kwedor exchanged scoreless firsts before FSU got on the board in the bottom of the second. After starting the inning with back-to-back Ks, Venuti singled, K Dembrowski walked, and Lippert made MMA pay, launching a three-run homer to right.
The Rams extended their lead in the bottom of the third on a Jordan Pallazola RBI-single and run-scoring doubles by Cameron Borrelli and Pileski.
Jackson Simone jump-started Maritime by beating out an infield hit to third base to lead off the fifth. With one down, Ben Paine walked and, though Hodgson got the next out, Kennedy came through once again. The senior roped a one-base hit to cent to score Simone and move Paine to third. Kennedy then took off for second, with Paine scampering home on the throw.
A solo homerun by Borrelli in the bottom of the fifth accounted for the Rams' final run of the game. The Blue-and-Gold attempted a rally in the top of the final frame after Nate Anderson struck a one-out base knock, with Kennedy trading places with him on a fielder' choice. Casey Furnas then singled to center and Sullo was plunked for the second time, but Hodgson induced a groundball to end the inning and the game.
Hodgson earned the win on the mound and improved his season record to 3-2. The southpaw went seven frames and allowed two earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Borrelli finished game two going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Lippert went 1-for-2 with a run scored and three RBI.
Kwedor took the loss for Mass. Maritime going six innings and allowing six earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Sullo was, once more, the only player to reach base more than once, drawing his third free pass of the day in addition to the HBPs. Kennedy, Furnas, and Anderson each had hits in both games as the Buccaneers mustered only nine hits and six walks in 14 innings.
With the wins, the Rams even their season mark at 13-13 and improve to 4-4 in league play, while the Buccaneers fall to 12-12 overall and 5-3 in the MASCAC. The sweep added to MMA's recent woes as the baseballers have lost 5-of-6, including three in-a-row in the conference, falling from first into a tie for third.
The Rams are back in action tomorrow when they host Lasell for a non-conference game beginning at 3 p.m., while the Buccaneers host Westfield State (15-13-1, 5-3) on Saturday for a pair of MASCAC games beginning at 12 p.m. Head Coach Mike Kelley will honor his graduating players before first pitch in our Senior Day ceremony. Admission to Hendy Field for the event and games is free and all are welcome.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate, with copy from Kathy Lynch, Framingham State