Fort Pierce, Fla. – It was another nail-biter between the St. Mary's College of Maryland and Western Connecticut State University baseball teams Thursday morning but this time, the Seahawks came out on top with a 2-1 victory on their last day in Florida.
It's fitting that St. Mary's (11-11) closes out its Spring Break trip with Western Connecticut State (8-4) as the Seahawks opened up their week in Florida with WCSU Sunday night and the Colonials edged SMCM, 6-5, in that matchup.
Sophomore Michael O'Neill (Ocean City, Md./Stephen Decatur) earned the win while senior Sam Beatty (Columbia, Md./Hammond) registered his first save of the season. O'Neill (3-2) threw 7.1 innings, giving up just one run on eight hits and two walks while striking out three. Beatty then came in for the final 1.2 innings of the game, allowing just one hit and fanning two Colonials.
At the plate, senior 3B Alex Lenovitz (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall), junior 1B Jared Eaker (Mechanicsville, Md./Leonardtown), and senior RF Kenny Beyer (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) each collected two hits.
The game remained scoreless into the bottom of the third inning when St. Mary's put up two runs on the board. The Seahawks started off the inning with three consecutive singles from Lenovitz, Eaker, and Beyer. Beyer earned an RBI with his hit as he scored Lenovitz. The inning continued as junior SS Luke Green (Bowie, Md./DeMatha) reached base after being hit by a pitch to load the bases.
However, first-year LF Colin Thatcher (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley) grounded into a double play but not before Eaker crossed home plate for a 2-0 lead. WCSU avoided a 3-0 deficit as sophomore Tyler Eastwood (Newington, Conn.) pitched a grounder for the final out.
WCSU kept the Seahawks off the board for the rest of the game but were only able to push one run across the plate in the top of the seventh inning. Senior John Fracker (Sandy Hook, Conn.) notched the lone run as Fracker reached base on a hit by pitch to lead off the inning then advanced to second on a balk, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on senior Nick Vorvis' (Monroe, Conn.) ground out to Green.
Another grounder by O'Neill ended the Colonials' rally in the seventh. In the eighth, Beatty came in relief of O'Neill with runners on first and second to record the final two outs. Beatty then quickly sat down the first two batters of the ninth before giving up a single to senior Jeff John (Trumbull, Conn.). The game ended when John was caught trying to steal second.
St. Mary's returns North this afternoon and will then face Southern Virginia University in a doubleheader down Buena Vista on Saturday, March 22nd at noon.
Twitter: @smcseahawks, #SMCMbase, #SeahawkAthletics