HAVERHILL, Mass. – Logan Sullo's sixth inning grand slam capped a six-run comeback by Massachusetts Maritime Academy's baseball team and the Buccaneers swept a doubleheader at Fitchburg State University. The 5-2 and 8-5 victories came in the first MASCAC action of the year for MMA and improved the club's overall record to 8-7.
Mass. Maritime took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on an RBI bases-loaded walk from senior Connor Kennedy (West Barnstable, Mass.) and run scoring single by classmate Casey Furnas (Boca Raton, Fla.).
Meanwhile, Mason Ashburn was effectively wild, holding the Falcons scoreless through three. Fitchburg State cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom half of the fourth as junior Alexander Bissanti plated sophomore Joshua Macomber with a sacrifice fly to left. However, a Paul Sances sacrifice fly and a nifty squeeze bunt from Furnas upped the Buccaneers' margin to 4-1 in the top half of the sixth.
The Falcons answered in the bottom half of the frame when sophomore Matthew Pingitore walked with the bases loaded to score classmate Andrew Curran, but the visitors added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Sullo (Acushnet, Mass.) was pitched around with the bases loaded, scoring a final marker and completing the scoring in the 5-2 opener.
Ashburn continued to struggle with free passes, walking six in 5 2/3, but surrendered only four singles and two runs, both earned, in the start. The East Freetown youngie struck out three and has a 3.04 ERA and 20 Ks in 20 2/3 frames in 2018. Connor Kennedy led the offense with a single and three walks, while Billy Keane's consecutive on-base streak ended at an impressive eight with an 0-for-2 game.
The Bucs started quickly in the rubber match as Kennedy beat out an infield single and moved over on another bunt by Furnas. Sullo set the stage for his later heroics with a RBI-single and, after a Keane safety, Sullo scored on an errant pickoff attempt.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second, Fitchburg grabbed the lead as Brian Kwedor, who had looked excellent in the first, was drilled for four runs and a walk to give the Falcons a 4-2 advantage. The Green and Gold added another run in the bottom of the fourth (5-2) to back starter Ryan Towle, who settled in nicely following the two-run first.
The Buccaneers rallied in the top of the sixth against reliever Adam Somers, who walked the first five batters he faced. Having seen enough, however, Falcon Head Coach Kevin Barnaby reached into his pen, but Sullo greeted Austin Alzate rudely with a huge blow to right centre to go ahead 8-5.
That was all Wyatt Major and John Teehan needed, slamming the door for the final two innings. Major earned the win after striking out two and allowing only a free pass in 2 1/3 scoreless, while Teehan saved his second game of the day with a scoreless seventh.
Sullo was 2-for-2 with five RBI in the second game, walking three times in total on the day. Kevin Troy was 3-for-4 with a double in the nightcap, while Kennedy had another hit and a walk.
The Bucs joined Salem State as the only MASCAC universities to sweep their first conference games, while Fitchburg dropped to 5-10-1 on the season.
"It really felt like we became a team today," observed Head Coach Mike Kelley. "We fought to two tough wins, we held the lead in game one and we came back in game two. Just a great day for BUC Baseball."
Kelley's men face a very busy week, with a make-up at UMass-Dartmouth (10-3), ranked No. 3 by the New England Baseball Journal on Easter Monday. The Bucs then return home for back-to-back single games versus Coast Guard Academy (6-6) and Wentworth Institute (4-5) on Wednesday and Thursday. Both contests start at 3:30 and all are welcome to Hendy Field.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate, with copy from Jamie Rogers, Fitchburg State University Assistant Sports Information Director.