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Navs Bounce Back for Split at Worcester

06/27/2019 8:45 PM

By Joshua Kummins

WORCESTER, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators bounced back to split Thursday’s Futures Collegiate Baseball League doubleheader with the host Worcester Bravehearts, following up a 6-1 loss with a 9-3 win from Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.

North Shore opened the day with its third consecutive loss before improving to 13-10 on the season. Worcester, meanwhile, slid to 10-12.

Worcester’s Shawn Babineau (Springfield) limited the Navs to just one hit over the first six innings of the opener, but an eight-hit effort at night time and capitalizing on six errors allowed them to salvage a split. Third baseman Andrew Olszak (Southern Maine) led the way in the latter game, going 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and three RBI.

The Navs have Friday off and return to Fraser Field for a busy weekend, hosting the Pittsfield Suns Saturday at 6 p.m. and the Bristol Blues Sunday at 5 p.m.

Game 1: Worcester 6, North Shore 1

After Babineau retired the Navs in order to begin the game, the Bravehearts immediately put a crooked number on the board with four runs on six hits in the first inning. Mariano Ricciardi (Dayton) and John Thrasher (Hartford) opened the frame with back-to-back hits before Jakob Sessa (St. Petersburg) drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly to left.

Mack Cheli (Chapman) and Tyler Becker (Adelphi) kept the Braveheart line moving with consecutive singles, preceding Ben McNeill’s (NYIT) sac fly to center that increased the score to 2-0. Paul Coumoulos (St. Leo) then doubled Worcester’s lead again with a two-run single.

Navs starter Matt Bergeron (Saint Joseph’s of Maine) worked around a two-out single in the second, but the hosts tagged him for another run an inning later. Becker opened with his second single in as many at-bats and came around to score when Riley Livingston (Holy Cross) lifted a fly ball to left.

Babineau allowed just his third run of the summer as the Navs lit the scoreboard for the first time in the fourth. After Dominic Freeberger (UNC Asheville) drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a ground ball, and stole third base, Kade Kretzschmar’s (Dartmouth) sac fly brought the left fielder home from third.

Livingston’s infield single turned into Worcester’s final run during a two-hit sixth as he scored on Sessa’s one-out walk. Cedric Gillette (Merrimack) allowed just one run on three hits over 2.1 frames before Blake Bennett (UMass Lowell) issued the aforementioned free pass and then induced a 1-2-3 double play.

The Worcester lefty limited the Navs to just one hit ― a Freeberger single in the second ― and walked two over the first six innings. He struck out five, ultimately improving to 4-0. North Shore was unable to come any closer after Keagan Calero (UMass Lowell) added a two-out single against Braveheart reliever Christopher Macca (Seminole State) in the seventh.

Bergeron was tagged with the loss, falling to 2-2, as he allowed five runs on nine hits during his three-inning start. Thrasher went 3-for-4 and scored a run to lead Worcester’s offense, while Sessa and Coumoulos both drove in a pair of runs.

Game 2: North Shore 9, Worcester 3

North Shore loaded the bases for the second straight second inning as Olszak lined a single over Ricciardi’s head at second base, coming in between a pair of walks. The game remained scoreless through the first 2.5 frames after Worcester starter Evan Moore (Boston College) beared down to post a zero thanks to a strikeout and grounder to second.

Worcester scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the third. Ricciardi started the offense with a one-out double and scored on Nicholas Martin’s (Westfield State) single to center.

The teams traded single runs in the fourth, with the Navs tying the score at 1-1 on Olszak’s RBI single through the middle. Logan Bravo (Harvard) reached on consecutive errors to start the inning for North Shore. Joseph Pesce (NYIT) then temporarily put the hosts back in front with a two-out single that dropped in front of the Navs’ Nolan Watson (Dayton) in center.

Moore surrendered one unearned run on three hits over the first four frames, but the Navs greeted reliever Cole Chudoba (Assumption) rudely with a four-run spot. After Sean Lawlor (Flagler) and Bravo drew walks, Kretzschmar reached on an error to load the bases. Olszak put North Shore in front with a double into the right-center gap before Colin Macko (UNC Asheville) added insurance with another two-run knock through the right side.

The Bravehearts drew a run closer as McNeill ripped a first-pitch homer to left in the fifth. Martin’s second hit in as many at-bats ended Navs starter James Flood’s (Siena) day after four frames of seven-hit, two-earned run ball. Cam Seguin (UMass Lowell) came in from the bullpen and retired the next three to stop the bleeding.

North Shore added two runs in each of the last two innings, three of which scored as a result of errors. Kretzschmar dropped a sixth-inning single into left to plate one run before Watson’s leadoff walk and Colin Wetterau's (St. John’s) double turned into runs in the final frame.

Beau Dana (Dickinson) relieved Seguin in the seventh, allowing three consecutive one-out hits before inducing a pair of game-ending outs. Seguin gave up just one hit and struck out three over his three innings of relief.

Lawlor and Bravo each scored twice for the Navs, while Macko joined Olszak in producing multiple runs. Martin led Worcester’s offense with three hits in as many at-bats, and Pesce and Becker also posted two-hit nights.