07/04/2019 8:20 PM
By Joshua Kummins
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators earned their second Independence Day win in as many years and pitched their first shutout of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League season on Thursday night, limiting the first-place Pittsfield Suns to just six hits during a 9-0 win before 5,469 fans at historic Wahconah Park.
North Shore used its third win in five games to improve to 16-14, while Pittsfield fell to 16-12. The Navs also sport a 3-2 record in the season series with the Suns and have moved within one game of the top spot in the league standings.
Center fielder Ben Malgeri (Holy Cross) led North Shore’s 12-hit attack, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored, including his second home run of the summer. RIght fielder Kade Kretzschmar (Dartmouth) and designated hitter Madoc Fisher (Salem State) were also repeat hitters.
Suns starter Michael Nocchi (Babson) stranded left fielder Sean Lawlor (Flagler) on base after a two-out single in the first inning, but the Navs scored first in the following frame when Kretzschmar singled to center, advanced on an error and a wild pitch, and crossed the plate on shortstop Logan Bravo’s (Harvard) sacrifice fly to left.
After Nocchi set North Shore down in order in the third, it sent seven men to the plate and scored three runs on four hits to take a 4-0 lead an inning later. In the end, Pittsfield’s starter fell to 3-1 on the season as he allowed four runs on seven hits through his four frames.
Malgeri led off the frame with a solo shot just over the wall in right for his first homer since June 8 against Nashua. Kretzschmar followed with a single and moved to third on Bravo’s double before scoring on a wild pitch. Second baseman Keagan Calero (UMass Lowell) lined a single over the mound to bring Bravo home with the visitors’ fourth run.
The Navs made it a handful of runs for the night in the next frame as Malgeri scored on a wild pitch after hitting a two-out single and stealing second. Kretzschmar and Bravo walked in the plate appearances that followed to load the bases, but Nocchi posted one of his three strikeouts to limit the damage.
While North Shore started its streak of scoring in four consecutive innings, Trystan Sarcone (Dartmouth) dealt in his third start and fifth appearance of the summer. The rising sophomore southpaw only struck out three Suns, but he held them to five hits and one walk over five scoreless frames.
Thanks to two hits and two Pittsfield errors, the visitors concluded the scoring with three runs in the seventh. Pittsfield’s Jon Morrison (Rhode Island) had allowed just three runs in 20.1 frames this season before the Navs scored four times on four hits through three frames against him.
Bravo drew a leadoff walk and moved on Fisher’s infield single before an error with Calero at the plate allowed him to touch home. Catcher Nolan Watson (Dayton) then chopped a two-run single over Pittsfield shortstop Bryce Osmund (Oklahoma State), and third baseman Andrew Olszak’s (Southern Maine) fielder’s choice brought in the final run.
Rising Northeastern freshman Jake Gigliotti was stellar in relief for the Navs, allowing just one hit and one walk over the final four innings. Two of Gigliotti’s three strikeouts came in the ninth, helping him become the first North Shore pitcher other than closer Beau Dana (Dickinson) to record a save in 2019.
Left fielder Jeff Boggess (Kansas State) and third baseman Jack Culumovic (Pensacola State) were both 2-for-3, accounting for the majority of Pittsfield’s offense. Ryan Langford (Florida Southern) struck out the side in North Shore’s final at-bats.
The Navigators continue their road trip with a Friday doubleheader against the Westfield Starfires. First pitch at Bullens Field is set for 3 p.m.