Saturday, April 29, 2006



Seven-run sixth lifts Warriors to 9-4 victory in first game; Iverson shines in relief in Game 2

 MANSFIELD, Conn. – The Warriors countered a four-run Rhode Island College sixth inning by scoring seven runs on eight hits in the bottom of the frame on the way to a 9-4 victory in the first game of Saturday’s Little East Conference doubleheader and an eventual  sweep of the defending conference playoff champions.


Eastern (22-13, 7-4 little east) completed the sweep with a 4-3 victory in the second game, snapping a 3-3 when shortstop Zack Thomas (So./East Haddam) drove in first baseman Chris DeSantis (Sr./Shrewsbury, MA) with a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning. Eastern has won five straight and improved to 19-8 up north.


With three conference games remaining,  four-time defending regular-season champion Eastern (22-13, 7-4 little east) moved 1 ½ games ahead of Rhode Island (17-18, 6-6 little east) into third place. The Warriors kept pace in the conference with leader Southern Maine (9-2) and Keene State (9-3), both of whom swept conference doubleheaders. Eastern remains two games behind Southern Maine and 1 ½ games behind Keene.


It marked the first time up north that the Anchormen have been swept. They had won six of their last eight entering the day.


After the Anchormen scored four runs to take a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning of the first game, Eastern answered with seven in the bottom of the inning. Eastern put together four straight singles twice in the inning, with seven different batters driving in a run. Centerfielder Randy Re (Jr./Danbury) and rightfielder Tristan Hobbes (Fr./Utica, NY) each singled twice, drove in a run and scored a run in the inning.


Eastern (19-8 up north) scored three times in the fifth inning of the second game on run-scoring hits by Re, Hobbes and No. 9 hitter Sean Kukucka (Jr./Vernon) to take its first lead, then broke a 3-3 tie by scoring the game-winning run in the sixth. DeSantis doubled to open the sixth, and with two out, Thomas stroked a run-scoring single to left. With the tying run on third base in the ninth, relief pitcher Jason LaVorgna (So./North Haven) got No. 9 hitter Josh Cardoso to line to DeSantis at first for a game-ending double play.


In relief of lefty Matt Cremins (Jr./Stoughton, MA), righty Sam Iverson (Jr./New Milford)  pitched three hitless innings to gain his first win since March 21. Iverson took over with two runners on in the sixth and allowed only one run to end the threat. He retired eight straight hitters before giving way to LaVorgna to start the ninth.


In the doubleheader, DeSantis was 5-for-8 with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored; Kukucka was 3-for-5 with two RBI, Re 3-for-7 with a double, stolen base, three RBI and two runs scored; and Hobbes was 3-for-8 with two RBI and two runs scored. Thomas, leftfielder Greg Sullivan (Sr./Needham, MA) and designated hitter Shawn Gilblair (Fr./Windham) all added two hits and a run scored, with Thomas driving in two runs and Gilblair one. Second baseman Marc Garofalo (Sr./South Kingstown, RI) scored two runs.


Eastern visits Western Connecticut State University Sunday at 1 p.m. in a Little East Conference game. The Warriors own a 6-0 win over the Colonials this season. A victory would move Eastern to within a game of second-place Keene State, which visits Eastern for a doubleheader on the final day of the regular season next Saturday.