Stonehill Opens NE-10 Slate With Doubleheader Sweep Of American International

Duff, Soulier both improve to 4-0 with impressive efforts

Senior Zach Soulier improved to 4-0 this season after allowing one run on five hits in seven innings in Stonehill's 5-1 win over AIC tonight.

RINDGE, N.H. (March 20, 2014) – Led by strong pitching from its two aces, the Stonehill College baseball team opened Northeast-10 play today with a doubleheader sweep over American International College at Dr. Pappas Field on the campus of Franklin Pierce University. Stonehill won the opener, 8-2, before taking the nightcap by a 5-1 final. The games were originally scheduled for Saturday in Springfield, Mass., but moved to Franklin Pierce due to unplayable conditions at American International's field.

Junior pitcher Jim Duff (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) improved to 4-0 this season with another impressive effort in the opener, as he went seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits to go with a season-high nine strikeouts and no walks.

Senior left-hander Zach Soulier (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) matched Duff with a strong outing in the nightcap, improving to 4-0 as well after allowing  one run on five hits in seven innings of work. Soulier struck out four and walked just one on the way to his 19th career victory.

Senior outfielder Billy Karalis (Pawtucket, R.I./Bishop Feehan) keyed the Skyhawk offense today with a 4-for-10 performance at the plate that included Stonehill's first home run of the season, three RBI, and two runs. Sophomore Brian Campbell (Franklin, Mass./Mount Saint Charles) went 5-for-11 out of the leadoff spot, while classmate Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) went 3-for-7 with a triple, a double, two RBI and a walk.

American International was led by senior Dan Asselin (Chicopee, Mass./Chicopee) and junior Lucas Vallas (East Northport, N.Y./Northport). Asselin went 4-for-8 on the day with a double, while Vallas was 3-for-7 with a double and a stolen base.

Stonehill 8, AIC 2 

Senior Billy Karalis had four hits today, including a two-run home run.

Six different Skyhawks posted two-hit efforts in the opener, led by Karalis, who went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run. Campbell went 2-for-6 with two runs, while Hoyt was 2-for-2 with two RBI and a walk. Seniors Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) and Anthony Pagano (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West) added two hits apiece for Stonehill, and junior Eric Schneider (Camarillo, Calif./St. Bonaventure) went 2-for-4 with a triple and one RBI.

Junior David Kerlejza (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) took the loss for the Yellow Jackets, despite giving up just two runs (one earned) on seven hits with seven strikeouts and four walks in six innings. Sophomore Brian Karp (Bellmore, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) relieved Kerlejza in the seventh, and he gave up five runs on five hits in one inning.

Stonehill took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and left three runners on base without recording a single hit. Campbell led off the contest by reaching base on a fielding error before stealing second, and Hoyt followed with a walk. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, and two batters later junior Christian Baglini (Milford, Conn./Notre Dame) drove home the game's first run with a sacrifice fly to left field. After consecutive walks loaded the bases with two outs, freshman Eddie Bowler (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) grounded out to end the inning. Duff struck out the side in the bottom half of the frame, as Stonehill led 1-0 after one.

The Skyhawks put two runners on base with nobody out in both the third and fifth innings, but Kerlejza induced a pair of double plays to end the threats. Through his first five innings of work, Kerlejza allowed four hits and struck out seven while walking four.

Junior Jim Duff also improved to 4-0 on the season, as he gave up one run in seven innings with nine strikeouts as Stonehill defeated AIC 8-2 in the opener.

Stonehill added another run in the sixth inning with the help of three hits to go up 2-0. Fratus led off with a double down the right field line, and Pagano followed with a single to put runners on first and third. Bowler delivered Stonehill's second run with a sacrifice fly, and Schneider tripled two batters later but was stranded at third.

One inning later, the Skyhawks added a pair of runs to increase their lead to 4-0. Campbell led off the frame with a single, and moved up to second on a sacrifice by Hoyt. Karalis came up next and belted Stonehill's first home run of 2014, a two-run shot to right field.

American International responded in the bottom of the seventh with its first run of the contest. Junior Mike Coyne (El Cajon, Calif./St. Augustine) led off with a double, and sophomore Tyler Geffert (Hopedale, Mass./Mount Saint Charles) followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Two batters later, junior Andy Cherico (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) got the Yellow Jackets on the board with a sacrifice fly before Duff's ninth punchout of the contest ended the inning.

Stonehill broke the game open with four runs in the top of the eighth on RBI doubles by Schneider, Hoyt and sophomore Chris Callahan (Southington, Conn./Holy Cross), before American International added one more run in the bottom half of the inning on a home run by graduate student Dan Fenton (Agawam, Mass./Cathedral).

Stonehill 5, AIC 1

Campbell led the way for Stonehill in the nightcap with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate, while Karalis went 2-for-5 with one RBI. Vallas paced American International's offense, as he went 2-for-4 with a double. Sophomore Harrison Paige (Springfield, Mass./Cathedral) took the loss for AIC after giving up four runs on seven hits in 7.2 innings.

Sophomore Brian Campbell went 5-for-11 in Stonehill's two wins over AIC.

After falling behind early in the first game of the doubleheader, the Yellow Jackets took a first inning lead in the second contest. Fenton reached base on a fielder's choice, and then advanced to second on a balk. After the next batter struck out, Fenton stole third and came around to score on a throwing error.

Neither team scored in the second or third innings, but Stonehill jumped ahead with two runs in the top of the fourth. Karalis led off with a single up the middle, and two batters later Fratus walked. After Pagano struck out, Bowler delivered a two-run double scoring Fratus and Karalis.

Stonehill added another run the next inning, as Hoyt tripled to right center with two outs, and Karalis picked up his third RBI of the day on the next play with a single through the right side of the infield. After giving up one run on two hits in the first inning, Soulier cruised through the next four frames, allowing just one baserunner on one hit and no walks.

American International strung together a pair of singles with two down in the sixth inning, but Soulier avoided damage by getting Coyne to fly out. Stonehill gave itself some breathing room two innings later, as Pagano tripled, scoring Fratus from second and in the process increasing the Skyhawks' lead to 4-1. Stonehill would added one more run in the ninth, as Callahan scored on a wild pitch.

Junior Armand Rugel (Middletown, R.I./Middletown) took over for Soulier in the eighth inning and earned his fourth save of the season after tossing two perfect frames. Rugel has yet to allow a run in 11 innings this season.

Stonehill (12-5, 2-0 NE-10) will be back in action on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader at LIU Post. The Skyhawks will then play at Assumption College next Wednesday before opening their 2014 home slate against Assumption on Thursday at Lou Gorman Field. American International (5-7, 0-2 NE-10) is set to host Bentley University on Sunday for a doubleheader.

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