SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Salve Regina University dropped a 6-1 decision to top-seeded Western New England University during the opening round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Baseball Championship tournament on Thursday afternoon (May 3) at Trelease Park.
Salve Regina will visit fifth-seeded Gordon in an elimination game on Friday. The Golden Bears, who improved their record to 30-10, will host third-seeded Curry at 3:00 p.m. Friday afternoon (May 4).
The Seahawks (14-26) used three pitchers with freshman Kyle Pheland (North Scituate, R.I.) dropping his first game in four decisions. He permitted four runs and eight hits in six innings with three walks and a strikeout.
Sophomore Brendan Nugent (Milford, Conn.) gained his seventh victory of the season while sophomore center fielder Jeff Schult (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) had three hits and two RBI to help lead Western New England.
Nugent (7-1) finished with an unusual pitching line allowing 13 hits and no earned runs in seven-and-two-thirds innings. He didn't walk anyone and compiled six strikeouts. The Seahawks had runners on base in every inning Nugent was on the mound, but the hard-throwing righty who was the CCC Pitcher-of-the-Year, managed to keep the visitors off the board until the eighth.
Junior shortstop Kyle McKelvey (Schenectady, N.Y.) drove in two runs with a two-out double to give Western New England a 2-0 lead in the third.
The Golden Bears added a pair of runs in the sixth when junior left fielder Taylor Perun (Plainville, Conn.) lined a homer to left center off the scoreboard on the first pitch leading off the inning. Schult later followed with a two-out RBI single.
Western New England answered with two more runs in its half of the inning when Perun, who also walked in the game, led-off with a triple and came home when freshman pinch-hitter Steve Buckley (Monroe, Conn.) singled through the left side. Junior pinch-runner Jeff Sturm (New Milford, Conn.) stole both second and third, and scored on a RBI single by Schult.
Salve Regina outhit WNE by a 13 to 12 margin, but stranded 12 runners on base, including a pair in the first, fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.
Senior reliever Mike Lawlor (Windsor, Conn.) came in with the tying runs on base and two outs in the eighth to retire the side. He struck out a batter in the ninth to earn his fourth save.
Also for Western New England, junior third baseman Mike Rubino (Northford, Conn.) had two singles and a run scored along with a couple of nice fielding plays. Junior second baseman Tim Clark (West Springfield, Mass.) reached base three times with a hit and pair of walks.