Fort Pierce, Fla. – The St. Mary's College of Maryland baseball team opened up Spring Break action down in Florida with a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Western Connecticut State University Sunday night. All the scoring was done in the first four innings of the game as the relief pitchers for both sides threw shutout innings.
Western Connecticut State (4-3) notched the eventual game-winning run in the top of the fourth as the Colonials' first-year Frank Vartuli (Westport, Conn.) came home on an error for the 6-3 lead after leading off the inning with a walk. Junior A.J. Norby (Wayne, Pa./Shipley) kept WCSU to one run as Norby sat down the next three batters with a line drive, a fly out, and a fielder's choice for the forced out at second.
St. Mary's (7-8) rallied in its half of the fourth and cut the deficit to one. Junior LF Brad Dioguardo (Owings Mills, Md./Franklin) hit a two-out, two-run single to bring home juniors Luke Green (Bowie, Md./DeMatha Catholic) and Paul Roemer (Westminster, Md./Westminster) who reached base with a single and a walk, respectively. First-year Steven Tantalos (Mahopac, N.Y.) came in relief for the final out.
As a team, the Seahawks scored five runs on five hits while committing five errors. Junior C Jared Eaker (Mechanicsville, Md./Leonardtown) paced the team at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort , including two doubles and a walk while driving in two runs.
Norby (0-2) was saddled with the loss after 5.0 innings pitched, giving up six runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks and striking out three. Junior Matt Holdefer (Bad Kreuznach, Germany/Wilde Lake [Md.]) hurled 4.0 scoreless innings in relief, scattering five hits, walking two and striking out one.
The Colonials staked a 2-0 lead in the first inning but St. Mary's responded in kind in the bottom of the first behind a pair of two-out RBI hits from Eaker and junior DH Brandon Eady (Bowie, Md./DeMatha Catholic). WCSU then stretched its lead to 5-2 with a two-run second inning and another run in the third.
The Seahawks closed the gap to 5-3 in the bottom of the third behind Eaker's second RBI double of the night, scoring Dioguardo who had led off with a walk, stole second, and advanced to third on a ground out to first. Eaker went to third on Eady's fly out to left before sophomore starter Josh Zurita (New London, Conn.) got the next batter to ground out to the shortstop for the final out.
Tantalos (1-0) earned the win in relief as he threw 4.1 innings of hitless and scoreless baseball, striking out five Seahawks and walking just one. Three different Colonials had two hits lead the offensive charge for WCSU.
St. Mary's will be back in action tomorrow morning as the Seahawks face Geneva College in a non-conference doubleheader at 9:30 a.m.
Twitter: @smcseahawks, #SMCMbase, #SeahawkAthletics