BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – John Gegetskas turned in another dominant performance on his way to MASCAC Pitcher of the Year as Westfield State claimed game one of a conference doubleheader before the Buccaneers took a split in the Senior Day MASCAC doubleheader thanks to an unusual walk off play.
Before the game, Head Coach Mike Kelley honored his seven graduating seasons. Nate Anderson, Logan Sullo, Justin Nichols, Casey Furnas, and Coby Gerbis started the ceremonies off, walking out with their loved ones. Co-captains Billy Keane and Connor Kennedy were commended as well.
Mason Ashburn escaped a bases loaded jam in the top of the first with a clutch strikeout, but Gegetskas took control in the bottom of the frame from the get-go, striking out two looking in the inning.
The Owls struck in the second after a leadoff hit-by-pitch and an error set up a three-run second, highlighted by a triple from Colin Dunn.
Westfield added another three in the third, as two singles and a walk set up John Lippincott, who ripped a bases-clearing double down the left field line to make the score 6-0 after three.
The visitors added another run in the fifth after a leadoff single by Jared Ferrari. Jake Gibb sent him home on a two-bagger into the left field corner. Ashburn would come out of the game after five having surrendered only four earned runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out three.
Meanwhile, Gegetskas was sailing through the Maritime lineup. He set down the first seven against him, before a Ben Paine hit and a Anderson one-out walk gave the Bucs their only real chance of the game. However, the southpaw worked his way out of the pickle with ease.
An Anthony Crowley no-doubt homer to left field gave Westfield an 8-0 advantage in the sixth. The centerfielder leads the MASCAC in home runs, slugging percentage, and RBI. The final run came after a leadoff double by Gibb, his second of the day. Dunn drove him in with a one-base knock.
Gegetskas improved to 6-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.75, allowing only a pair of hits and two free passes. The lefty struck out two in each of his first five frames, finishing with 11 on the day to run his total to 74 on the season. Gegetskas leads the MASCAC in wins, ERA, strikeouts, and Ks per nine innings.
Gibb had three hits in four at bats to pace both teams, while Dunn, Crowley, Ferrari, and Alex Lafayette had a brace of safeties themselves. Billy Keane joined Paine with the only hits of the game for the Bucs.
John Teehan, the MASCAC Pitcher and Rookie of the Week a fortnight ago, tossed another gem in the rubber match of the twinbill, stymieing the Owls offence with several crucial outs in the game.
It was the Bucs who scored first, in dramatic fashion, as senior Kennedy crushed a roundtripper to dead center to lead off the bottom of the frame. It was the first home run of the year for Kennedy, who will graduate as one of the best hitters to ever don the Navy-and-Gold.
Westfield threatened in the second, loading the bases with one out, but Teehan, only a freshman, pitched like a veteran in getting red-hot No. 8 hitter Nate Barnes to strike out looking. The hurler then induced a groundball that Anderson made a tricky across-the-body throw on to get the runner at home. The final out of the frame came on a groundball.
The Owls would finally score in the third after Lafayette ripped a two-bagger to the wall in left center and scored on a Crowley RBI-single. A rundown after a perfect Furnas sacrifice bunt would thwart the Bucs in the fourth, but Teehan settled in and worked around a leadoff walk in the fourth, retiring the visitors 1-2-3 in the fifth.
Barnes would direct Westfield to its first lead of the game in the sixth. His third double of the day once more traced the left field foul line and drove in Aaron Clancy, who had taken a base on balls to start the frame.
The Bucs tied the game up in the bottom of the sixth, however, after Billy Keane manufactured a run with his usual scrappy play. After being plunked to start the frame, he raced to third after a Marley Dembitzki bunt was fielded by the first baseman, who botched the toss to put runners on the corners. After an out, Paine, only a freshman, had another line drive hit, this time a single up-the-middle, and Keane scampered home.
Vincenzo Camera, the Owls' starter, would depart after his second strikeout of the game and reliever Liam Neri came out after a long at bat resulted in a walk to Anderson. Nathan Bashaw then pulled the right strings, entering Scott Strachan, who induced a flyball to get out of the sixth.
The reprieve was only momentary as Teehan had another three-up, three-down inning, getting his six punchout of the day.
Furnas led off with his second single of the game through the left side and the Bucs' top masher, Logan Sullo, laid down a perfect bunt up the first-base line to move him over. Keane was then walked intentionally, but scuppered Bashaw's plans by stealing second.
Pinch hitter Paul Sances then took his own IBB to load the bases and the Owls got a huge break as Brett Dooley handled a tough groundball to third and barely nabbed Furnas at home. However, on the first pitch to Paine, Strachan balked, and once more it was the graduand Keane who crossed home, pumping his fists and leaping into the arms of his waiting teammates.
Kennedy was 2-for-4 in the Senior Day nightcap, while Furnas joined him with a brace of hits himself. Teehan earned the victory with seven resilient innings of six-hit, three-walk ball. Strachan (3-3) took the loss, while Camera had the no decision despite allowing only on uneared run on six hits and three walks in 5 2/3.
The Bucs are now 13-13 and 6-4 in league play, which puts them in a three-way tie with Westfield (16-14-1 after the two-game set) and Framingham State for second. Worcester State is in first-place with a 5-3 mark, with two games more to play.
MMA will have two days off before continuing their rapid charge through the remainder of the MASCAC schedule. On Tuesday, the Blue-and-Gold travel to Bridgewater State (4-17, 0-8) before returning to Hendy Field for a three-game homestand beginning Thursday in a single game versus Wentworth Institute (8-13).
Earlier in the week, Colin Thoener was listed on the MASCAC Honor Roll for his sensational relief work in an extra-inning victory over MCLA last weekend. Thoener went 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing only two hits and whiffing a pair.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate