EASTON, Mass. – Despite four hits by senior second baseman Mike Samko (Arlington/BB&N), the Bentley University Falcons dropped an 8-7 Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division decision to Stonehill College Tuesday afternoon at Lou Gorman Field when the Skyhawks scored an unearned run in the ninth.
The difficult bottom of the ninth came after Bentley scored twice in the top half of the inning to forge a 7-7 tie.
In the Falcon half of the ninth, graduate catcher Zachary Littman (Abington/Abington HS) opened the frame by reaching on an error. Another error put sophomore pinch-hitter Jake Pierce (East Bridgewater/East Bridgewater HS) on base and a fielder's choice resulted in runners on the corners with two out.
Freshman third baseman Charlie Auditore (Walpole/Walpole HS) plated Littman and Samko, who had reached on the fielder's choice, with a double to center.
The Stonehill ninth started the same way as Bentley's did, with the leadoff hitter reaching on an error. A sacrifice, an intentional walk and a ground out resulted i two runners in scoring position and brought junior designated hitter Brandon Downey (Cheshire, Conn.) to the plate. He singled to right center, driving in junior third baseman Harrison Sabo (Wilton, Conn.) with the winning run.
Bentley started the game fast with sophomore first baseman Ryan Berardino (Sudbury/ Lincoln-Sudbury Reg. HS) driving a three-run homer over the left-center field fence.
The lead was gone by the end of the second, but Bentley twice took a lead in the next two innings. Littman reached on an error and scored on a single by Samko in the third, making it 4-3. After Stonehill again tied the game up, Bentley went back in front on a fourth-inning RBI single by Littman.
The 5-4 lead stood up until the bottom of the sixth when Stonehill scored twice for its first lead of the afternoon. Sophomore first baseman Rob Duarte (Raynham) tied the game on an RBI double and he scored on a single by Downey.
Bentley's 12 hits included four by Samko, who extended his string of games reaching base to 26 games. Junior DH Austin Farry (Watertown/Watertown HS) and sophomore center fielder Max Troiani (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Mendon HS) both finished with two hits.
Duarte and Downey were among four Stonehill players with two hits apiece.
The loss dropped Bentley (17-15, 11-6 conference) into fifth place in the division at 7-6, a half game back of fourth-place Merrimack. Stonehill improved to 14-18 overall, including 6-8 in the division.
Bentley will return to action Thursday with a 3:30 home game against Merrimack.