The Springfield College baseball team won its third straight game today and continue their success in Florida by defeating Eastern Connecticut State, 3-0.
Senior Kyle Naples was on the bump for his first start of the year, and pitched eight shutout innings. The right-hander surrendered just three hits, retiring nine straight batters in one stretch. He also tallied five strikeouts and walked three.
The only point where Naples ran into trouble was in the eighth inning. He retired the first two batters, and then walked Jack Rich. Kevin Murphy followed up with a single, making it the second time to that point in the game that the Warriors had a runner in scoring position.
Head coach Mark Simeone could have brought in Cole Donovan early for a four out save, but showed confidence in his senior. He kept Naples in when Eastern Connecticut State decided to pinch hit William Coleman for the pivotal next at-bat.
Naples induced a fly ball to Jack Cooney in left field, who caught it to escape the danger. After that, Donovan entered and worked a relatively quick ninth inning to earn the save.
Offensively, the Pride saw most of its production from the top of the lineup, namely Chad Shade and Mark Joao. Shade led off the game with a single in the first inning. After stealing second, Pete Marsicano moved him over to third with a long fly ball. Joao came up next and slapped a grounder to second base, scoring Shade from third to give Springfield a 1-0 lead.
Springfield threatened again in the fourth inning. Noah Bleakley reached after being hit by a pitch, then Brandon Russo singled. Bleakley advanced to third, setting up first and third with two outs. However, Cam Rivest was unable to capitalize and struck out to retire the side.
The Pride got two much-needed insurance runs in the eighth inning. Similar to the first inning, Shade led off with a walk and stole second (3rd SB of the game). Marsicano grounded out, but advanced Shade to third. Then, Joao drove in his second run of the game with another RBI groundout.
With two outs, Jake Gleason reached on an error, making it to second base. Bleakley took advantage of the Warriors’ mistake and drove in Gleason with a single up the middle to give Springfield a 3-0 lead.
Chad Shade continues to create opportunities for the offense by getting on base and stealing. He stole three bases in the game, and has five this week. If he continues on this positive trend, Springfield’s offense will be much more potent going forward.
In this case it may seem miniscule, but Bleakley’s two out hit that drove in Gleason in the eighth was a huge insurance run. The ability to tack on extra runs like that in close games is imperative to team success. Additionally, the fact that a freshman came through in a somewhat high leverage situation is a positive thing to see.
With the win, Springfield improves to 5-2-1. Up next, the Pride look to make it four wins in a row when they take on Cazenovia on Thursday at 9:45 a.m..