SOMERVILLE, Mass. – The Becker College Hawks took both ends of the doubleheader, qualifying them for the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship Tournament posting 5-3 and 11-8 wins over the Lynx this afternoon at Trum Field. The Hawks improve to 10-23 on the year and hold an 8-9 conference record while the Lynx fall to 13-16 and 6-9 in NECC play. The two teams will play in the regular season finale as they wrap up their three-game series tomorrow at 12:00p at Becker.
The Lynx held a 3-0 lead after four innings in game one. Sophomore catcher David Hersey (Wolfeboro, N.H.) got the scoring started in the third when he launched his first home run of the season, a solo shot over the left field fence. Lesley added two more in the fourth when sophomore John Gosnell (Toronto, Canada) doubled to deep centerfield, plating juniors Tyler Plourd (Canton, Conn.) and Kevin Hopwood (Winter Haven, Fla.).
The Hawks answered the Lynx offense with four runs of their own in the top of the fifth. Senior Austin Phillips (Thomson, Ga.) led off the inning with a single through the left side of the infield and came all the way around on a single by junior Evan Reilly (Hanover, Mass.) that was misplayed in the outfield and rolled to the fence. Reilly advanced to third on the play and scored on a fielder's choice by Eric Lajoie (Oakham, Mass.). Reilly appeared to be out on the play, but his slide at home plate jostled the ball as the Hawks cut the lead to one.
After Lynx starter Ray Cohen (Coventry, Conn.) got the next two outs on a sacrifice bunt and strike out, senior right fielder Mike Natoli (Suffern, N.Y.) blasted a two-out triple in the right-centerfield gap scoring Lajoie and classmate Todd Tompkins (West Haven, Conn.) and giving Becker a 4-3 advantage.
Lesley threatened in the bottom half of the inning as the first two batters reach by a walk and a hit batter, but failed to move them along as the sacrifice-bunt attempt was caught by Becker starter Nick Lemay (Oxford, Mass.) who fired to second to double-up the Lynx, recording a quick two outs. Lemay escaped the inning by getting a groundball to second base.
The Hawks added an insurance run in the final inning as Lajoie led off with a double, stole third, and came home on an errant throw to give Becker the 5-3 win.
Lesley held another three-run lead early on in game two, but could not hold on as the teams combined for 27 hits in the nightcap.
The Hawks did not waste much time to get the scoring started when senior Tony D'Addio (West Haven, Conn.) hit a ground-rule double down the right field line in the top of the first and came around after junior short stop Mike Marcello (West Haven, Conn.) sent a line drive single through the box to give Becker a 1-0 lead.
Lesley would answer immediately in the bottom of the first as they put up a four-spot to claim their first lead of the ballgame. Sophomore centerfielder Rob Parson (Commack, N.Y.) beat out an infield single to spark the offense and, after being sacrificed over to second, scored on a Plourd single to left-center. The Lynx filled up the bases and got back-to-back two-out singles from Cohen and Hersey that gave Lesley a 4-1 lead.
After adding a run in the top of the fourth, the Becker bats unloaded in the fifth as they pushed across seven runs on five hits in the inning. Tompkins and D'Addio led off with consecutive singles before Marcello knocked in his second run of the game with a double ripped down the right field line. Later in the inning, junior Chris Flanders (Londonderry, N.H.) picked up an RBI when he got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. After a Phillips sacrifice fly knocked in another run, Lajoie added a single to plate Natoli as the Hawks reclaimed the lead, 5-4. The big blow in the inning came as Becker Tompkins returned as the tenth batter of the inning and roped a triple to deep right-centerfield clearing the bases before getting thrown out at the plate trying to extend the hit to a home run.
The Lynx cut away at the lead and got to within one, 9-8, by scoring two in each the fifth and the sixth. It was more two-out magic for the Lynx in the sixth as Becker reliever Mike Schoen (Yorktown, N.Y.) picked up two early strikeouts, but couldn't escape the inning as Gosnell scored Plourd with a double to right field and Cohen followed that with a single that hugged the left field line.
Becker gave themselves some breathing room in the top of the seventh by scoring two of their own before handing the ball to junior Tony Cantalupo (DePere, Wisc.) who picked up his first save of the season, retiring all three batters he faced and punching the Hawks ticket to the NECC Championship Tournament.
It is the fifth consecutive year the Hawks have qualified for postseason play, having last won the conference championship in 2009.
Gosnell and Hersey led the Lynx offense on the day as they each collected four hits. Gosnell knocked in three and scored three times while Hersey scored two and knocked in three.