Big Eighth Inning Lifts Navs Monday at Newport

06/17/2024 8:51 PM

NEWPORT, R.I. 一 The North Shore Navigators broke out the bats for a seven-run top of the eighth inning en route to an 8-4 win over the defending champion Newport Gulls in Monday night’s New England Collegiate Baseball League action at Cardines Field.

North Shore broke a two-game losing streak to improve to 5-4 on the season, returning to a tie with Newport for the top spot in the Coastal Division standings. Newport is also 5-4.

Designated hitter Jesse Jaconski (Penn State) and first baseman Andrew Bianco (Seton Hall) each had two hits, scored a run and drove in another to lead North Shore, which recorded four of its eight hits and sent 11 men to the plate during the game-changing inning.

Bianco delivered the game-winning single on a base hit to right field, but the biggest swing of the night followed in the form of pinch-hitting outfielder Brady Dever’s (Brown) monstrous three-run home run to right field to cap the scoring during the game-changing frame.

The Navs’ offense also benefited from their strong running game on the basepaths, recording six steals in seven attempts. Outfielder Alex Luccini (UMass Lowell) swiped two and scored as a pinch runner in the eighth.

Newport was unable to convert baserunners in each of three innings, but finally broke the scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the fourth. After loading the bases on two walks and first baseman Matthew Ossenfort’s (Vanderbilt) single, center fielder Niko Brini (UConn) smacked a two-out, two-run double high off the center-field fence to lift the Gulls to a 2-0 lead.

The Navs got a run back in the fifth. Shortstop Luke Orfi (Georgia Highlands) and Bianco logged back-to-back singles. The latter was a perfect hit-and-run through the right side to put runners on the corners and bring Orfi in position to scamper across the plate on a double steal to bring the visitors back within 2-1.

After Jack Bello (Air Force) followed starting pitcher Brett Dunham (Northeastern) for a scoreless fifth, the Gulls scratched across runs in the following two innings. Left fielder Nolan Stevens (Mississippi State) drove home Newport’s sixth-inning run on a single, while Ossenfort had the RBI on back-to-back doubles to begin the seventh.

Ryan Griffin (Northeastern) recorded an inning-ending strikeout in the seventh in advance of North Shore’s go-ahead rally. Back-to-back walks to pinch hitter Will Burns (Maine) and left fielder Danny MacDougall (Endicott) got the inning going, and catcher Matt Chatelle’s (Rutgers) line knock into right made it 4-2 with one out.

Jaconski followed with a stinging game-tying triple that fell just past a diving right fielder’s glove before Bianco flipped the score with a base knock of his own. After Nick DiRIto (UMass Lowell) entered from Newport’s bullpen, Dever crushed the second pitch he saw deep to right and into the Newport night.

Ryan Buckler (Virginia Tech) took over the North Shore mound from there, pitching a pair of 1-2-3 innings with three strikeouts. Led by Dunham’s four, the Navs staff punched out 11 in the game. 

Next up, the Navs return to Fraser Field for back-to-back home games on Tuesday against the Keene SwampBats and Thursday against the Sanford Mainers. First pitch of both games is set for 6:05 p.m.