07/05/2020 4:01 PM
By Joshua Kummins
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. -- The North Shore Navigators showed a flair for the dramatic during their second game of the young Futures Collegiate Baseball League season, scoring three runs in the eighth inning and two in the 10th en route to Sunday afternoon’s 6-4 win over the New Britain Bees at New Britain Stadium.
North Shore clinched its second straight 2-0 record for the first time in franchise history by winning the matchup of early league leaders. New Britain slipped to 1-1.
The Bees held a 4-1 lead through seven innings before first baseman Alex Brickman (Dayton) hit a three-run home run to deep left field to knot the score. The home team threatened in its halves of the eighth and ninth as well, but a wild pitch and a passed ball in the extra frame allowed the visitors to take the lead and the game.
Closer Beau Dana (Dickinson) stranded two New Britain runners aboard in the bottom of the 10th to post his franchise-record 15th career save and second in as many games to begin the season. The Marblehead native struck out the side to match his effort from Thursday’s season-opening, 4-1 win in Nashua.
North Shore drew first blood with a first-inning run after center fielder Sal Frelick (Boston College) knocked a leadoff single and right fielder Ben Malgeri (Northeastern) drew a walk. Shortstop Cody Morissette (Boston College) followed with a fielder’s choice before left fielder Sean Lawlor’s (Maine) hard grounder to first base drove home the game’s first run.
The story of the opening frame continued falling in line with Thursday’s game during the bottom half as the Bees homered to get on the scoreboard. New Britain started the offense with two outs against Navs starter Nate Espelin (Dayton) as designated hitter Noah Martinez (Central Connecticut State) singled and first baseman Andrew Cain’s (New Haven) two-run shot to right-center field flipped the score.
The Navs threatened to take the lead back during a two-hit second inning, but third baseman Logan Bravo (Harvard) was one of the runners stranded on the corners after a leadoff single.
The offense was quiet through the middle of the game as the Bees’ Tim Blaisdell (Hartford) did not allow a hit over four innings of relief work after starter Drew Mead (Marymount) worked the first two. Blaisdell walked just one and hit a batter in that span.
The Navs matched the first four zeroes before the hosts doubled their offensive output with two runs in the sixth to take a 4-1 lead. Both came home on right fielder Tony Socci’s (Fairleigh Dickinson) two-out knock into shallow right, but Colin Jaena (Stonehill) induced a fly ball after striking out two during his inning-long debut for North Shore.
North Shore was set down 1-2-3 during the following frame, but Brickman’s big swing changed the game in a hurry in the eighth. Bees reliever Tommy Hughes (Southern Connecticut State) walked Morissette and Lawlor with one out to set up the Andover native Brickman for the Navs’ first homer of the season and his 12th career homer in two-plus summers with the team.
Patrick Hannon (Franklin Pierce) and Robert Nadel (La Salle) both pitched scoreless innings out of the Navs bullpen before their offense grabbed the lead for good in the 10th. Lawlor started the frame with a one-out double to right before a wild pitch moved two runners into scoring position, a wild pitch scored Lawlor with the go-ahead run and a passed ball brought Brickman home with an insurance marker.
Dana struck out the side to preserve the win, working around a hit and a walk during the 10th. Nadel earned his first victory of the summer as the eighth of North Shore’s nine pitchers to appear during the game. Will Carpenter (Fisher), Jaena and Nadel all recorded two strikeouts in an inning of work.
Martinez and Cain finished with two hits apiece for the Bees, who held the visitors to just five hits over the 10-inning affair. Brickman and Lawlor scored two runs apiece. Kyle Menaker (UAlbany) was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs on one hit and three walks in one inning.
The Navs return to action on Tuesday, July 7 when they host the defending FCBL champion Worcester Bravehearts in their home opener. Game time at Fraser Field is set for 6 p.m.