06/13/2018 1:11 PM
By Joshua Kummins
BROCKTON, Mass. – The North Shore Navigators rode a gritty offensive effort to their second win in three games Wednesday afternoon as they scored nine runs over the fourth through seventh innings en route to a 9-7 decision over the Brockton Rox in Futures Collegiate Baseball League action at Campanelli Stadium.
North Shore improved to 3-9 with the victory, which a league-record crowd of 5,725 fans witnessed. Brockton moved to 7-5 after suffering its second consecutive loss.
The Navs banged out a season-high 14 hits, reaching double-digits in that category for the fifth time this season. All nine starters reached base safely in the contest, eight had hits, and five had multiple hits. Shortstop Andrew Olszak (Southern Maine) went 3-for-4, scored twice, and drove in another run, while second baseman Sal Frelick (Boston College) had two hits and three RBI. Frelick leads the team with seven RBI after just two games.
Navs starter Matt O’Connor (UMass Lowell) and Brockton counterpart Nolan Collins (Bates) posted matching zeroes through the first three innings before the Navs took the game’s first lead in the fourth.
Third baseman Elias Varinos (Tufts) drew a leadoff walk, stole second, and scored on Frelick’s knock through the left side. After designated hitter Harrison Engstrom (Cochise) logged his first of two singles, right fielder JP Knight (Tufts) doubled North Shore’s lead to 2-0 with a run-scoring hit of his own.
The Rox flipped the score against O’Connor in his fourth and final inning of work, although just one of the four runs he allowed was earned. Right fielder Joe Lomuscio (Brown) led off the frame with a triple and scored on left fielder Matt Johnston’s (MIT) single. A passed ball scored Johnston with the game-tying run, and center fielder Connor Rowland (Palm Beach Atlantic) hit a two-run single to left to give Brockton a two-run lead.
North Shore batted around and scored three times in the fifth inning, but the Rox sent seven men to the plate and matched that run total in their half of the same frame.
After catcher John Prentice (New England College) was hit with a pitch to lead off the frame, Olszak moved him over with a single and left fielder Michael Wynne (Wofford) singled to center to plate a run. Collins finished his day on the mound with a strikeout, but reliever George Goldstein (Middlebury) issued walks to Varinos and Engstrom, the second of which forced home a run. The Navs took a 5-4 lead as center fielder George Sutherland (Cochise) reached on an error.
Zach Brown (Amherst) relieved O’Connor after four innings and allowed a walk to Rox second baseman Kyle Ruth (Southern New Hampshire) before Lomuscio singled. Both runners came around to score on errors. First baseman Richie Sobalvarro (Barry) concluded that inning’s scoring with an RBI single.
North Shore took the lead for good in the sixth, scoring three times on four hits. Prentice led off with a single, Olszak followed with a double, and Frelick lined a two-run single up the middle to plate them both with one out. Knight drove in the go-ahead run in the form of his Tufts teammate Varinos with a two-out double to left.
The Navs added an insurance run in the seventh as Olszak lined a single through the right side to plate first baseman Corey DiLoreto (Northeastern) who led off the inning with a walk, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Brown was credited with the win for immediately following O’Connor, but Shayne Audet (New England College) worked around three hits to strike out two batters in two scoreless frames before Justin Foley (Bates) faced just one batter over the minimum and dealt two more strikeouts over the final two frames to earn a save.
Third baseman Zach Gelof (Virginia) led the Rox offense, going 3-for-5 with two RBI. Goldstein was handed the loss as he allowed three runs on four hits and two walks in 1.1 innings, while Jack Mahala (Harvard) allowed just one hit over the final 3.1 innings.
The Navs and Rox will play a Thursday doubleheader at Fraser Field featuring a pair of seven-inning games. First pitch is slated for 4:30 p.m.