Fairfield, CT- The Sacred Heart Pioneer Club Baseball team secured their first conference series of the spring season over the weekend as they took two out of three games from UMass. Junior Jordan Banks shined at the plate for the Pioneers going five for eight with a HR, double, four runs, four RBI’s and three walks. On the mound freshman ace Patrick Kannaley increased his win total to five going seven innings of four hit baseball surrendering three runs, one earned, and no walks. Senior Reinaldo Jackson threw five innings of five hit baseball giving up his only run in his last inning of work in way of the Pioneers securing the conference series win.
The Pioneers offense jumped out to an early lead as Jordan Banks lead off the second inning with a double. After two walks Banks was able to score on Junior David Esposito’s fielder choice. UMass answered in the top half of the fourth inning after a lead off walk came around to score. The Pioneers couldn’t answer back in the bottom half of the inning as Senior Justin Squarzini leadoff single went to waste. The Minutemen came around to score twice more in the fifth after an error at third deemed to be costly. After a quick two outs in the bottom half of the fifth Banks stepped into the box. Looking to extend the inning the junior drove a 3-1 fastball over the right field fence to tie the game. Kannaley had a quick sixth inning and brought the Pioneers back into the dugout. Freshman Heriberto Rodriguez lead off the sixth with a single moving over to third on Justin Squarzini double. Rodriguez was thrown out at the plate on sophomore’s Bradley Zsampar 5-2 fielder choice. Junior Christopher Donato singled in the center field gap that scored Squarzini and moved Zsampar over to third. Esposito came up to the plate and hit a sac fly to right field that scored Zsampar. In the mix of the play Chris Donato attempted to advance to second but was thrown out. Kannaley went out and closed out the last inning retiring the Minutemen in order and securing the Pioneers first conference victory of the spring season.
Game two of Saturday’s doubleheader saw a combined 27 runs scored between the Minutemen and the Pioneers. Sophomore Max Morrill took the mound for his second career start. After breezing through his first two innings of work Morrill got into trouble in the third after walking the lead off batter an error allowed runners at first and second. Morrill would than hit the batter to force the bases loaded. Another hit batsman later allowed the first Minutemen runs of the game. A bases clearing triple plated three Minutemen and back-to-back walks loaded the bases yet again. The Minutemen would go on to score three more times before the Pioneers were even able to record an out. Senior Nasir Rashad relieved Morrill in the middle of the second and got the Pioneers out of the hole they dug themselves. The Pioneers recorded their first three runs of the games to cut the deficit from nine to three. UMass was able to push another run across the board in the top half of the fourth but the Pioneers came right back scoring five runs in the bottom half of the fifth. Freshman Heriberto Rodrigues lead off the inning with a walk and advanced on Senior Michael Goff”s single. After a pitch hit by pitch forced the bases loaded Junior Logan LaRochelle was able to work a 3-2 count and get a walk to plate a run in. Freshman Nick Caprio who was sidelines for most of the fall with shoulder injuries drew a walk and the Pioneers were able to plate two runs. Freshman Chris Seebode than hit a bases clearing double but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. UMass came up in the top half of the sixth and added an extra insurance run to make the score 14-8 going into the last inning. The Pioneers offense had a late surge scoring six runs in their last ups but ultimately came up short losing the second game of the series 14-13.
In game three of the series the Pioneers jumped out to an early 6-0 lead through four innings. Starter Reinaldo Jackson was almost flawless through his five innings of work surrendering five hits with two walks and one run scored. Sophomore Bradley Zsampar, Freshman Christopher Seebode, and Freshman Heriberto Rodriguez led the Pioneers offense. Zsampar went two for four with a double and three RBI’s. Rodriguez and Seebode each went two for four. The Pioneers went on to win the rubber match 9-5 and improved their conference record to 6-5 and their overall record to 11-5.
The Pioneers take on conference and in-state rival UConn next weekend at Notre Dame Catholic High School in Fairfield. The Pioneers and Huskies will play a doubleheader starting at 10 am Saturday April 6th with the final game of the series starting at 9 am on Sunday April 7th.