New Hampshire Hardball

Malgeri strikes twice

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Stratham’s Ben Malgeri tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with his second home run of the game, this time off CAA Pitcher of the Year Landen Roupp, and Max Viera hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead top-seeded Northeastern (36-10) to its first CAA Tournament Championship, 11-10, over No. 2 seed UNCW (32-22) on Sunday at Brooks Field. Right-handed pitcher Brian Rodriguez (3-0) earned the win in relief, retiring 6-of-7 batters faced in 2.0 scoreless innings.

Malgeri, who played at Exeter High School, tallied his second consecutive multi-home run game for the Huskies, and smacked five home runs in the tournament en route to earning Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. Jared Dupere broke the single-season school record with his 21st home run, a two-run blast in the first inning, and Viera’s game-winning walk-off home run was his fifth home run of the season.

NU was led by Malgeri’s 2-for-5 performance, with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored, while Viera finished 2-for-5, with three runs scored and two RBIs. Joining Malgeri and Viera on the CAA All-Tournament Team is Ian Fair, Dupere and RHP Cam Schlittler. Fair extended his on-base streak to 25 straight games after going 1-for-5 with a double and two RBIs and Viera has reached base in 32-of-33 games this season. Schlittler made the start after tossing 8.0 innings on Thursday, working 2.1 innings, striking out three and allowed one hit.

The Huskies jumped out in front of UNCW 6-2 through three innings after a two-run home run by Dupere in the first and four runs in the third inning, highlighted by two-out RBIs from Danny Crossen and Fair. The Seahawks responded with three runs in the fourth inning as Brooks Baldwin hit a two-run home run as NU led 6-5.

After UNCW scored a run in the fifth and sixth inning, the Huskies responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth on a Crossen bases loaded walk and ground out by Malgeri to retake the lead 9-7. The back-and-forth continued as UNCW answered with a run in the seventh and took its first lead of the game in the eighth after a two-out, two-RBI single through the right side by Noah Bridges.

The CAA Pitcher of the Year Roupp was cruising with five consecutive strikeouts before Malgeri sent his second home run over the left-center field fence to tie the score at 10. Rodriguez tossed a perfect ninth inning and retired three of the four batters he faced in the 10th to set the table for Viera. After falling behind 0-1, Viera connected on a high fastball that carried over the left-center field fence to send the Huskies into the NCAA tournament for the second time in the last three years (no tourney in 2020 due to COVID-19).


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