06/30/2018 9:23 PM
By Joshua Kummins
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The North Shore Navigators were handed their second consecutive road loss Saturday night at historic Wahconah Park as the Pittsfield Suns scored seven runs in the third inning and totaled 15 hits en route to a 13-3 win.
North Shore slipped to 8-17, while Pittsfield moved to 12-14 as it snapped a three-game losing streak.
Designated hitter Dominic Keegan (Vanderbilt) and right fielder JP Knight (Tufts) each went 2-for-4 to lead North Shore’s six-hit attack. Both of Knight’s hits were triples and one drove in a run, while Keegan logged two RBI in his third game as a Navigator.
The Navs took a 1-0 lead as Knight laced a triple to center field and scored on a double to right off the bat of second baseman Joey Murphy (Saint Joseph’s of Maine) with one out in the first inning.
Pittsfield flipped the score its way in the bottom half of the frame. Third baseman Thomas Hughes (Oklahoma) and catcher Josh Gurnack (Albany) recorded back-to-back RBI singles before first baseman Patrick Sullivan (Georgia) grounded a fielder’s choice to shortstop to plate a run.
The Suns took the lead for good with seven runs on five hits and one error against North Shore starter Matt O’Connor (UMass Lowell) and reliever Ethan Dyer (Endicott) in the third. Gurnack and second baseman Drew DeMartino (Hartford) each posted two-run hits to punctuate the frame in which 12 batters stepped to the plate, lifting the home team’s lead to 10-1.
O’Connor was relieved after 2.2 frames of nine-hit ball, but six of the 10 runs he allowed were unearned. Dyer recorded just one out and allowed two runs on four walks thereafter.
Pittsfield cracked the scoreboard again in the fourth as right fielder Chad Shade (Springfield) dropped a two-run single in front of his counterpart Knight, who recorded his second triple in as many at-bats with two outs in the top half of the frame. Knight became the first North Shore player in exactly a decade to record multiple triples in a single game.
The Navs offense scratched across another single run in the fifth. After shortstop Sal Frelick (Boston College) drew a two-out walk to extend his on-base streak to 12 games, left fielder Michael Wynne (Wofford) followed suit and Keegan sent a single through the left side to bring home North Shore’s second run.
Zach Begin (Saint Joseph’s of Maine) pitched four innings of six-hit ball in relief of Dyer, but Pittsfield tagged him for a single run in the sixth as Nolan Cloutier (Southern Connecticut State) cleared the right field fence with two outs.
North Shore sent six batters to the plate and concluded the game’s scoring with a run in the top of the eighth. After pinch hitter Jeff Mejia (UMass Lowell) drew a one-out walk, he scored all the way from first on Keegan’s double to center.
Brock Riley (Salem State) made his first appearance since June 14 out of the Navs bullpen, holding Pittsfield off the bases in a 1-2-3 final frame.
Jonathan Gegetskas (Westfield State) pitched the first six innings for Pittsfield, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out five to improve to 1-2 on the summer. Tyler Knapp (Longwood), Mike Demarest (Adelphi), and Izaiya Mestre (New Haven) combined to allow just one hit over three innings of relief. Center fielder Dave Matthews (Central Connecticut State) and shortstop Brian McHale (Babson) each went 3-for-4 and scored twice.
The Navs return to Fraser Field and open their July slate at 5 p.m. tomorrow against the Brockton Rox before hitting the road for Wahconah Park again Monday night.