NORWICH, Conn. – Anthony Pecora delivered a two-out, two-run walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Wagner College to a 6-5 victory over the Bryant University baseball team in the fourth game of the Northeast Conference Baseball Championships on Saturday afternoon at Dodd Stadium.
With the loss, the Bulldogs' season comes to a close with a final record of 29-26. It is the first time the Black and Gold have gone 0-2 in the NEC Tournament. The Seahawks (22-27) advance to face Sacred Heart on Saturday night with a spot in Sunday's championship round on the line.
Trailing 5-4 in the ninth, Sean Mazzio singled to open the inning. A fly out was followed by a walk, putting two on with one out. Junior Logan Lessard (Cromwell, Conn.) then got a strikeout before issuing a two-out walk to load the bases. Pecora then swung at the first pitch and dropped it into shallow center for the game-winning hit.
The Seahawks took advantage of two walks and a hit by pitch to open the scoring in the first. Kyle Cala made it 1-0 with a one-out single to center. Bryant starter Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) bounced back with a strikeout and then induced a ground ball to second to limit the damage.
Bryant finally broke through in the fifth, scoring four runs, including three with two outs, on three hits. Senior Jacob Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) started the inning with a walk and scored from first as freshman Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) laced a double into the gap in left center.
The Seahawks then chose to intentionally walk junior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.), putting two on. A ground ball back to the mound advanced the runners into scoring position and senior Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) delivered a two-out, two-run single down the left field line to make it 3-1. Sophomore Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.) followed with a triple to deep left center to make it 4-1. It was the eighth triple of the season for Panno, setting the single-season program record.
Wagner pulled within a run with two in the bottom of the sixth. Anthony Godino doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a single from Freddy Sabido. Cala flew out to center to score a run and Anthony Pecora followed with a shot to right center. Sabido scored easily from first and Pecora raced around and slid into third with a triple. The relay throw got away, however, and Pecora tried to score from third. Marotta corralled the overthrow and flipped it to Gasper who tagged Pecora for the final out.
Bryant quickly responded, posting a run in the top of the seventh. Titus singled to left, Gasper walked and freshman Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) advanced both with a sac bunt. Fabio followed with a sac fly to right field to make it 5-3.
The Seahawks made things interesting again in the bottom of the frame, plating a run and putting two on with one out. Joe Silvestrone doubled to start the inning and Kyle Brey walked to put two on with one out. Silvestrone then took off for third and Sean Mazzio chopped a ground ball through the vacant hole on the left side to make it 5-4. Sophomore Craig Lacey (Westfield, Mass.) was summoned form the bullpen and struck out Godino swinging for the second out. A walk loaded the bases but Lacey induced an inning-ending ground out to first.
Theetge took a no decision, allowing four runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked three, struck out five and induced a pair of double plays. Lacey added 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Fabio finished 2-for-3 with three RBI in the final game of his illustrious career. With his run scored in the fifth he broke the Division I program record with 172. Titus finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored and Gasper singled and walked three times.
Danny Marsh allowed five runs on six hits, walked four and struck out seven over seven innings for Wagner. Steven Bowley earned the win after getting the final two outs in the top of the ninth. Cala drove in two and Pecora finished with three RBI for the Seahawks.