MANCHESTER, N.H. – Senior lefty John Healy (Cranston, R.I.) pitched eight innings of three-hit baseball and his teammates supported him with 13 hits, including eight doubles, as Saint Anselm College blanked Bentley University, 9-0, in the first round of the Northeast-10 Conference Playoffs Wednesday afternoon at Gill Stadium.
Healy, who lowered his ERA to a conference-best 1.05 while winning for the eighth time in nine decisions, retired the first 12 batters he faced. He struck out seven and didn't issue a walk before giving way to senior righty Timothy Cooney (East Bridgewater, Mass.) for the ninth.
Meanwhile, the Saint Anselm offense exploded for seven runs in the third inning to stake Healy to a commanding lead. Eight of the team's 13 hits came in the inning, beginning with a leadoff double down the left field line by junior center fielder Andrew Chandler (Westford, Mass.).
Following a failed sacrifice, junior second baseman Richie Manzi (Plymouth, N.H.) singled to put runners on the corners and junior first baseman Robert Kelly (Aurora, Colo.) singled to center for the game's first round. Senior right fielder Daniel DeCoste (Chelmsford, Mass.) made it 2-0 with his second double of the game, sophomore left fielder Dan Lagasse (Londonderry, N.Y.) singled through the right side for another run and a sacrifice fly by sophomore catcher Nate Gonya (Wolfeboro, N.H.) made it 4-0.
The inning continued with a two-run double by senior third baseman Jeffrey Criscuolo (Durham, Conn.) and Chandler capped the scoring with an RBI single.
The fifth was the only inning in which Bentley mounted a scoring threat. Senior catcher Kevin Korwek (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand HS) led off with a single to left, grad student Bryant Johnson (Hopedale, Mass./Milford HS) beat out an infield single, and both moved up on a two-out passed ball. Both were left in scoring position following an inning-ending strikeout by Healy.
Saint Anselm added to its lead with RBI singles by sophomore shortstop Tito Liuberes (Lawrence, Mass.) and Manzi in the sixth.
Eight different Hawks had at least one hit, including three by Chandler, and the same number scored at least once. Eight was also the number of Saint Anselm players who picked up an RBI.
Bentley, fifth in last week's NCAA Division II East Region rankings, dipped to 28-23 overall and 28-14 against East Region teams. Saint Anselm, number six last week and the tournament's top seed out of the Northeast Division, improved to 27-21 and will host the double-elimination portion of the conference playoffs this weekend.