Junior Brian Hocking walked, doubled, and scored three runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth, as Stonehill opened its season with a 4-3 win over Mercy this afternoon.
Skyhawks score game-winning run on error in bottom of the ninth
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (February 20, 2015) – The Stonehill College baseball team opened its 2015 campaign this afternoon with a 4-3 walkoff victory over Mercy College at the Ripken Experience Northeast Challenge in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Sophomore outfielder Ben Monte (New Haven, Connecticut/Guilford) led Stonehill at the plate, as he went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Junior catcher Brian Hocking (Duxbury, Massachusetts/BC High) doubled, walked, and scored three runs, while sophomore third baseman Steve Lee (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a run.
Junior righthander Neal Horan (Mashpee, Massachusetts/BC High) got the start on the mound for the Skyhawks and gave up two unearned runs over two innings of work while striking out four and walking three. Sophomore lefty Jeremy Roberts (Reading, Massachusetts/Malden Catholic) took over in the third and logged 5.1 scoreless frames, allowing just three hits while striking out three and walking one. Classmate Aubrey Solomon (Groton, Massachusetts/Lawrence Academy) earned his first career victory after working out of a ninth inning jam.
Freshman outfielder Liam Slattery (Floral Park, New York/Archbishop Molloy) paced the Mavericks offensively with two singles, two stolen bases, and a run. Junior outfielder Scott Hagan (Mamaroneck, New York/Mamaroneck) went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run, while classmate Justin Palladino (Yonkers, New York/Iona Prep) added a single and a walk.
Senior Bryan Greig (New City, New York/Clarkstown South) took the ball for Mercy and lasted six innings, striking out six and giving up three runs (two earned). Freshman Manny Velasquez (Bronx, New York/Cardinal Hayes) was hit with the loss after allowing the game-winning runner to reach base in the bottom of the ninth.
Mercy jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first half inning, aided by two stolen bases, three passed balls, and three walks. Freshman shortstop Bryan Torres (Bronx, New York/All Hallows) led off the frame with a walk, before stealing second and reaching third on a passed ball. Torres came around to score on another passed ball as the Mavericks took a 1-0 lead without the benefit of a hit. Two batters later, Hagan walked and stole second before Stonehill's third passed ball of the inning allowed Mercy to double its lead.
Sophomore lefty Jeremy Roberts tossed 5.1 scoreless frames of relief in his first appearance of 2015.
The Skyhawks went down in order in their first two at-bats, and didn't record a hit until junior centerfielder Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) singled to lead off the fourth inning. Hoyt stole second to get into scoring position, but Stonehill was unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
The Skyhawks finally broke through for a run in the bottom of the fifth, when Hocking reached base to lead off the frame on an error, before coming around to score on Monte's RBI double.
Stonehill then tied the score at two in the bottom of the seventh, as Hocking and Lee led off with consecutive doubles, before taking the lead two batters later on an RBI single by Monte.
Still trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth, Mercy manufactured a run to stay alive in the contest. Slattery singled with one out and stole second, before advancing to third on a single by Hagan. After Solomon came on in relief for the Skyhawks, Greig delivered a sacrifice, allowing Slattery to score the game-tying run.
Hocking was issued a free pass to lead off the bottom half of the ninth, before Lee was hit by a pitch and freshman first baseman Tyler Lamarre (North Kingstown, Rhode Island/North Kingstown) walked to load the bases with no outs. Hocking came around to score his third run of the game on the next play, as an error by Mercy's shortstop allowed Stonehill to walk off with a win in its season opener.
Stonehill (1-0, 0-0 NE-10) will return to action tomorrow with two more games in Myrtle Beach. The Skyhawks are scheduled take on Molloy College at 10 a.m., before playing Nyack College at 1 p.m. Mercy (0-1, 0-0 ECC) is slated to face Southern New Hampshire University for a pair of games at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.