Forrest Fires, Hruniak's Walk-Off Lend to Saturday Sweep

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. - A pitching gem in the first game of the afternoon gave the Nighthawks a win in seven innings, while the Nighthawks would need extra innings to finish off the Saturday sweep of the Elms College Blazers at the New England Baseball Complex for the first two games of a three-game series in the New England Collegiate Conference.

Game One: Newbury 3 - Elms 1

Nighthawks senior Ethan Forrest (East Bridgewater, Mass.) continued to display his talents on the mound, pitching a complete game of seven innings, allowing one unearned run, on two hits, striking out three, as the Newbury Nighthawks started with a 3-1 win over the Elms Blazers in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at the New England Baseball Complex.

Forrest, who has already pitched a complete game, two-hitter this season, improves to 7-1 with the victory, setting yet another record this season. The seven wins in a season is a new mark, formally held by two others, as well as himself in 2015.

Senior Billy Stephen (Windermere, Fla.) batted 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Junior Matthew Sobray (Santa Clarita, Calif.) batted 2-for-4, including a double. Senior Ian Hruniak (Lutz, Fla.) was 1-for-1 in his only official at-bat; a triple in the fifth.

Blazers senior Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) batted 2-for-3 including a double. Harrison was the only Blazer credited with a hit on the afternoon. Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) and Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) were the only others to reach base safely, both via an error.

The offense was subdued early, despite the Nighthawks leading 2-0 after one inning. Following a Sobray single in the first, a series of four walks would plate two Nighthawks.

Zima reached on an error in the second and a Harrison single moved him to third. A groundout to second by senior Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) plated Zima, cutting the Nighthawks lead in half at 2-1.

That groundout in the second by Zima started a run of 13 straight batters retired by Forrest from the second inning until a one-out error in the sixth.

The Nighthawks added insurance in the fifth with a two-out rally, starting with Hruniak's triple, which was followed by a RBI single by Stephen for a Nighthawks 3-1 lead.

In 50 innings this season, Forrest has seven complete games, allowed 39 hits, eight earned runs, and an ERA of 1.44.

Game Two: Newbury 4 - Elms 3 (Final-9)

With the score at 3-3 in extra innings, a bases loaded, walk-off single by Hruniak scored sophomore David Center (Medford, Mass.) giving the Nighthawks a crucial Saturday afternoon sweep of the Blazers by virtue of a 4-3 victory in New England Collegiate Conference action.

Hruniak batted 3-for-4, all singles with the game-winning RBI. Freshman Dante Serino (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) batted 2-for-3 with a RBI. Center finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Junior Mitchell Walsh (Westport, Mass.) added a double in the fifth.

Blazers senior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) batted 2-for-2, both singles and a run scored. Zima finished 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI. Senior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn.) was 1-for-4 with the game-tying RBI single in the seventh.

In the ninth, Center started the offense with a one-out single, followed by a steal to get into scoring position. Senior Brian Rhone (North Haven, Conn.) also singled, moving Center to third. Walsh loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch and Hruniak ended the game with his single.

The Blazers were in a 3-0 hole entering the top of the sixth but, back-to-back walks to start the inning and a Zima single put the Blazers on the board, trailing 3-1. A Harrison sacrifice fly scored Wadja, getting the Blazers to within one.

In the seventh, pinch runner Matt Fusco (Tolland, Conn.) found himself on second following a sacrifice bunt by Dan Brunetti. The next batter, Hungerford singled Fusco home to tie the game at three.

The Blazers were in prime position in the eighth to grab the lead, having two runners in scoring position with no outs. With Stephen on the mound for the Nighthawks, he struck out the next two batters and a flyout to left by Harrison ended the inning, still tied 3-3.

A Center single in the first gave the Nighthawks a 1-0 lead. Center struck again in the third with another RBI single and Serino added a run in the fourth with a RBI single of his own.

With the pair of wins, the Nighthawks improve to 16-11 (5-6 NECC), while the losses drop the Blazers to 5-11 (1-3 NECC). These two teams are back in action tomorrow, finishing their three-game series at Elms College starting at noon.