Hamden, Conn. – It was a long, but exciting day of Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) baseball at Rochford Field on Saturday afternoon as the Albertus Magnus College baseball team scored a pair of extra-inning, walk-off wins against Rivier. The Falcons took the opener, 2-1, in 10 innings and rallied for a 6-5 victory in nine innings in the finale.
With the two triumphs, AMC runs its winning streak to three games to improve to 11-16 on the spring and 5-5 in conference play. With the two setbacks, the Raiders have now dropped three in a row to sit at 9-23 overall and 3-7 in league action.
AMC scored its second walk-off win of the spring courtesy of a one-out sac fly to centerfield by freshman outfielder Tyriq Harris (Waterbury, Conn.) that brought classmate Mike Browne (New Fairfield, Conn.) charging home in the bottom of the 10th.
The extra-inning affair saw strong pitching performances from both squads. For the hosts, junior starter Christopher Rivera (New Britain, Conn.) tossed a season-best nine innings and struck out two hitters. In the no-decision, he scattered eight hits and allowed just one earned run. In relief, junior lefty Tom Moore (East Haven, Conn.) worked a scoreless top of the 10th to earn his second win of the spring.
On the opposite side, senior Nicholas Pica went the distance for the guests. In nine and two-thirds innings, Pica fanned four batters and allowed just one earned run.
Albertus Magnus opened the scoring in the home half of the third as freshman Derwin Nunez (Bridgeport, Conn.) hit a single to right that scored Gullo to give the hosts a 1-0 edge. The Falcons would hold their lead until the sixth when Adam Arkell delievered a single through the left side to knot the match at one.
In the 10th, Browne reached on an error and advanced to second on an errant throw. A sacrifice bunt moved him to third before Harris delivered the game-winning sac fly.
Nunez and Robertson paced the Falcons with two hits apiece at the top of the lineup, while three different Raiders recorded multi-hit games.
Once again, the two conference rivals would need extra innings to decide the nightcap. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, freshman Justen Rodriguez (Waterbury, Conn.) came racing home on a passed ball for the game-winning run. Rodriguez started the rally with a one-out double to left center and later advanced to third on an error. After an intentional walk to load the bases, Rodriguez galloped home with the winning run.
Albertus Magnus erased a two-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh as freshman Robert Perazzella (Wolcot, Conn.) smacked a game-tying double to left center. With the game-winning run in scoring position, Rivier senior Taylor Black got out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending groundout.
The hosts opened the scoring in the third courtesy of a Raider infield miscue. An inning later, AMC would take a 2-0 lead thanks to an RBI infield single by Browne.
In the top of the fifth, Rivier erupted for five run on three hits and took advantage of one Falcon error. In the stanza, senior Jeremy Ball linen a two-RBI double down the left-field line and Black followed with a triple to deep center that plated a pair. The guests would cap the scoring in the inning with Black coming around to score on a wild pitch from AMC reliever Dan Zarnik (Hamden, Conn.).
In the bottom half, Albertus Magnus answered with one run as senior catcher Mike Saia (Bridgeport, Conn.) hit a sac fly to right.
Albertus Magnus junior starter Jon Criscio (East Haven, Conn.) worked the first four innings and allowed four earned runs in a no-decision. Zarnik did not retire a hitter and walked the only batter he faced. Moore was the hero on the hill again for the hosts, tossing five shutout innings to earn his second win of the day.
Albertus Magnus closes out a weekend full of GNAC play on Sunday, April 24, with a road doubleheader versus Saint Joseph's (Maine) that is scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm. Last spring, the Monks took both ends of doubleheader against the Falcons on the road.