Stonehill Reaches 30-Win Mark With Senior Day Sweep Of #18 SNHU

Senior Neal Horan struck out a career-high ten batters and earned the win in his final home start against SNHU today.

Skyhawks will open NE-10 Tournament at SNHU on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

EASTON, Mass. (May 2, 2015) – The Stonehill College baseball team celebrated Senior Day with a pair of victories over Southern New Hampshire University, ranked No. 18 in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II Poll, this afternoon at Lou Gorman Field. Stonehill posted a 4-1 Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division victory in the opener, before rallying for a 6-5 non-conference triumph in game two.

The Skyhawks, ranked third in this week's NCAA East Regional rankings, reached the 30-win mark with today's sweep, marking the second consecutive spring and fifth time in the last six seasons that they have accomplished the feat. Head coach Pat Boen has led Stonehill to six 30-win campaigns during his 18-year tenure.

Senior Neal Horan (Mashpee, Massachusetts/BC High) took the ball for the Skyhawks in the opener and made the most of his final home start, striking out a career-best ten batters while allowing just one run on five hits over 7.2 frames to earn the win. Classmate Armand Rugel (Middletown, Rhode Island/Middletown), who spent much of his career as a relief pitcher before returning to the starting rotation this year, picked up his first save of the season with 1.1 scoreless innings.

Senior catcher Eric Schneider (Camarillo, California/Saint Bonaventure) led the way at the plate, going 4-for-8 over the two games with one RBI and three runs scored. Junior designated hitter Brian Hocking (Duxbury, Massachusetts/BC High) went 3-for-8 with a double and two RBI, while senior shortstop Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North) and junior outfielder Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) each recorded three hits and scored three runs.

Senior Alejandro Diaz (Old Bridge, New Jersey/Old Bridge) paced the Southern New Hampshire offense, going 3-for-9 with a double, one RBI and one run. Sophomore Zach Goldstein (Merrick, New York/Calhoun) went 2-for-7 with a double and three runs, while classmate Manny Cruz (Wolcott, Connecticut/Wolcott) singled twice and drove in a pair of runs.

Stonehill 4, Southern New Hampshire 1

Horan was dominant on the mound for Stonehill in game one, while graduate student David Gibson (Hanover, Massachusetts/Hanover) took the loss for the Penmen after giving up three runs (two earned) on nine hits in seven innings.

The Skyhawks left the bases loaded in the first and stranded a runner on second the following inning, before plating the game's first run with three hits in the third. Fratus reached on a fielder's choice with one out, stole second and then scored as Hocking drilled an RBI double over the left fielder's head. Stonehill nearly added another run when Schneider followed with a single through the right side of the infield, but Hocking was thrown out at home to end the inning.

Horan retired the first 11 batters he faced in order, recording six strikeouts along the way, until sophomore Carson Helms (Farmington, Connecticut/Farmington) reached base with two outs in the fourth on a single down the left field line.

Stonehill added to its lead in the fifth on an RBI double by Fratus, and the two teams traded runs in the sixth as the Skyhawks carried a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth.

Schneider reached on an error to lead off the eighth, before advancing to second on a single by sophomore Eddie Bowler (Hingham, Massachusetts/Hingham) and third on a sacrifice by Steve Lee (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree). Sophomore Ben Monte (New Haven, Connecticut/Guilford) came up next and gave the Skyhawks a 4-1 lead with an RBI single through the left side of the infield.

Rugel retired the Penmen in order in the ninth, striking out the first two batters and getting the third to fly out, as Stonehill secured the game one win.

Senior Eric Schneider went 4-for-8 with one RBI and three runs today as Stonehill posted two wins over #18 SNHU.

Stonehill 6, Southern New Hampshire 5

Sophomore Pat Hurley (Roslindale, Massachusetts/Catholic Memorial) got the start for the Skyhawks in game two, but did not earn a decision despite holding the Penmen to one run on four hits through five innings. Classmate Aubrey Solomon (Groton, Massachusetts/Lawrence Academy) picked up the win in relief as he recorded the final seven outs of the contest.  

Southern New Hampshire jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third, as Goldstein doubled to right center with one out before coming in to score on a single by Cruz.

Stonehill responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, tying the game on a throwing error before consecutive RBI singles by Hocking and Schneider gave the Skyhawks a 3-1 lead.

The Penmen cut their deficit in half in the sixth on an RBI single by senior Tyler Fortanascio (Oradell, New Jersey/Saint Joseph Regional) and tied the score with another run in the top of the seventh, but Stonehill regained a 4-3 edge in the bottom of the inning, as senior second baseman Christian Baglini (Milford, Connecticut/Notre Dame High) plated Hoyt with a single to center field.

Southern New Hampshire continued to battle, taking their first lead of the game with two more runs in the eighth, but Stonehill answered with one final rally.

Fratus led off the bottom of the eighth with a single up the middle, and two batters later Schneider reached with a single to center field. Bowler came up next and delivered a pinch-hit, game-tying RBI single, and Schneider came in to score the go-ahead run shortly after on a wild pitch.

Solomon enjoyed a smooth ninth, retiring the side in order as the Skyhawks capped their regular season with a comeback victory.

Stonehill (30-11-1, 16-7 NE-10) and Southern New Hampshire (30-11, 16-5 NE-10) will meet for the fifth time this season on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in the first round of the NE-10 Tournament in Manchester. The winner will advance to next weekend's double elimination round.  

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