Nighthawks Split Doubleheader, Forrest Records 200th K

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

ROCHDALE, Mass. - In a pair of games Saturday, the Nighthawks needed extra innings to complete a comeback victory in the first game, while a shutout performance in game two gave the Hawks the win and thus the split of the doubleheader.

Game One: Newbury 4 - Becker 3 (Final - 8 innings)

In the first inning of extras, the Nighthawks eighth, junior Jim McGrorry (Oakhurst, N.J.) hit his first career home run, while sophomore Radinsky Baez (Roxbury, Mass.) knocking in what became the game-winning run in the Nighthawks 4-3 victory over the Becker Hawks at Rochdale Field in New England Collegiate Conference play.

McGrorry finished the game with just the one hit, a solo shot to left field. Senior Ian Hruniak (Lutz, Fla.) finished 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Junior Matthew Peluso (Woodbridge, ONT, CAN) batted 2-for-2 with a double. Senior Ethan Forrest (East Bridgewater, Mass.) tallied his 200th career strikeout by virtue of his first K of the game in the second inning. 

Hawks senior Vaibhav Desai (Waltham, Mass.) batted 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Josiah Shepherd (Providence, R.I.) finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. 

In the top of the eighth, tied 2-2, McGrorry gave Newbury the lead with a home run just inside the left-field foul pole.

Newbury would load the bases with a pair of singles and a hit batter before Baez made the score 4-2 with when he beat out a double play ball, scoring Ian Hruniak from third.

In the bottom of the eighth, Desai pulled the Hawks within a run with a RBI single to right. An error by the Newbury right fielder allowed Desai to move into scoring position with two outs.

On a 2-2 count, Forrest was able to close the door, striking out Testa to end the game.

The Hawks jumped out to an early lead with Shepherd leading off the game with a single. Desai followed with an RBI double into the right field gap. Desai would make his way home when Chris Testa (Providence, R.I.) and T.J. Sempkowski (Oceanport, N.J.) hit back-to-back fly balls to right field, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead after one.

The Nighthawks knotted the game at 2-2 in the sixth. With Mitchell Walsh (Westport, Mass.) on second base, Hruniak put the Nighthawks on the board with an RBI single to right. Hruniak would make his way into scoring position with a stolen base.

Billy Stephen (Windermere, Fla.) then beat out an infield single, the throw across the diamond skipped past the Becker first baseman, allowing Hruniak to score the tying run.

Forrest improves to 9-1 on the season, taking credit for the win while pitching all eight innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits with six strikeouts.

The Hawks Christopher LaDou (Worcester, Mass.) suffered the loss after giving up a pair of runs in two innings of work.

Game Two: Becker 3 - Newbury 0

A three-run fourth inning by the Hawks that included a triple, a double, and two singles, would be all the scoring that Game Two would see as the Becker Hawks shutout the Newbury Nighthawks 3-0, forcing the split of Saturday's doubleheader.

For the Hawks, Sempkowski finished 2-for-3 including a triple that produced the game-winning run. Senior Niko Bedell (Manorville, N.Y.) and Evan Barrera (West Warwick, R.I.) both batted 1-for-2; Bedell with an RBI double, Barrera, an RBI single.

Hruniak batted 2-for-3, both singles. Stephen and McGrorry are the only other Nighthawks to record a hit, they both finished 1-for-3. Hruniak now sits at 140 career hits, sixth-most in program history.

Shepherd led off the fourth with a single up the middle. After Shepherd stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, T.J. Sempkowski put the Hawks on the board with a two-out triple into the left-center gap.

Bedell followed with a double into the same gap, upping the Becker lead to 2-0. Barrera capped the inning with an RBI single, scoring Bedell for a 3-0 lead.

 The Nighthawks had a chance in the fifth with two on and one out. However, a ground ball to the shortstop resulted in a 6-4-3 double play, ending the threat.

In the seventh, the Nighthawks had one final chance, again finding themselves with two on and one out. On this occasion, a flyout to center and a pop out to first would end the Nighthawks chances of a two-game sweep.

McGrorry took the loss for the Nighthawks after allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings of work. Hawks pitcher Daniel Diaz pitched a complete game shutout from to win Game Two. Diaz struck out four Nighthawks while allowing just four hits to improve his record to 2-1.

The split moves the Nighthawks to 18-16-1 (7-10 NECC), while the Hawks move to 15-15 (8-5 NECC).

The two teams meet again on Sunday evening as the Nighthawks welcome Becker to The New England Baseball Complex for a celebration of Senior Day. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.