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Blandini, SNHU win opener
- Updated: February 9, 2019
Junior Tom Blandini (Bow) went 3-for-5, drove in four runs and scored three times, as the seventh-ranked Southern New Hampshire University baseball team scored twice in the ninth inning and pushed across five in the 10th to rally for a season-opening 11-6 victory against California State University, San Bernardino on Friday night at Fiscalini Field.
Records: SNHU 1-0, CSUSB 1-2
- Blandini, who homered and doubled, accounted for each of the first four Penmen runs, as well as two in the 10th inning.
- Junior Dylan Faircloth (Cleveland, Texas) finished 2-for-5 with two home runs, three RBIs and two runs scored in his Penmen debut, clobbering the go-ahead solo shot in the ninth and two-run exclamation point in the 10th.
- Senior Joshua Zbierski (Stafford Springs, Conn.), who entered the game in the fifth inning, was 1-for-3 with a solo home run.
- Redshirt-junior Joshua Goldstein (Haverhill, Mass.) walked in all four plate appearances and scored a pair of runs.
- Redshirt-junior Brendan Welch (Easton, Mass.) fired three shutout innings in relief, allowing just one hit, while striking out four and walking a pair.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- In the top of the first, Cal State San Bernardino loaded the bases with no outs against graduate student Jake Walkinshaw (Seymour, Conn.), before a sac fly and run-producing groundout made it 2-0.
- The Coyotes nudged the lead to 3-0 in the second on Gabe Chavez’ two-out RBI single up the middle.
- Blandini put Southern New Hampshire on the board in the top of the fourth, leading off with a solo shot to right.
- CSUSB extended the lead to 4-1 in the fourth when it again loaded the bases against Walkinshaw, before Welch came out to induce a run-scoring grounder to second and escaped further damage with a punch out.
- The Penmen mounted their comeback in the top of the sixth, with a leadoff single up the middle from sophomore Idelson Taveras (Lawrence, Mass.), a Goldstein walk and a passed ball putting a pair in scoring position for Blandini, who came through with a two-run double down the right field line to make it a one-run game. Blandini scored on another passed ball later in the inning to tie the score, 4-4.
- The score stayed that way until the top of the ninth when, with one out, Faircloth and Zbierski labeled-up back-to-back solo jobs to all of a sudden give SNHU its first lead of the game at 6-4.
- Sophomore Jeffrey Praml (Bridgewater, N.J.), who had tossed one-and-a-third innings of one-hit ball to that point, was greeted by Chavez to lead off the bottom of the ninth with a home run to left center that pulled the Coyotes within a run. With senior Hayden Manning (Portland, Conn.) on to face the next batter, Richard Castro came through with a pinch-hit homer and the game was again even, 6-6.
- The Penmen offense picked up their bullpen in the 10th, with Taveras leading off by getting hit with a pitch and Goldstein following with a walk, before Blandini came through with an RBI single to right that plated Taveras and also scored Goldstein from first on a throwing error to make it 8-6. After Blandini swiped third and junior Jake Coro (Johnston, R.I.) walked, a sac fly from sophomore Sam Henrie (Middleboro, Mass.) scored Blandini, with Faircloth following with a two-run crush to left that broke it wide open at 11-6.
- Senior Thomas Novick (Sudbury, Mass.) entered to pitch the 10th and worked around a one-out hit to finish it off.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Taveras was 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
- Walkinshaw was charged with four runs on six hits, striking out three and walking three.
- Praml relinquished one run on two hits, and struck out one, in one-and-two-thirds innings.
- Manning (1-0) allowed one run on two hits and a pair of walks, while striking out one.
- Novick struck out a pair and gave up a hit in a scoreless frame.
- Southern New Hampshire begins the season 1-0 for the third time in four years.
- The four long-balls for the Penmen are as many as they had hit in the previous seven season openers, combined.
- Blandini’s home run is the third of his career, while Zbierski’s is his 11th.
- The win for Manning is the first of his career.
- It is just the second time in 62 career appearances (137.2 IP), including nine starts, that Walkinshaw has allowed three earned runs in a game.
- The Penmen return to action Saturday (5 p.m. EST) for game two of the three-game set with the Coyotes.