Hawks Fall to Number 1 Endicott in Offensive Affair

By Monica D’Ippolito

STORRS, CT — In a rain-delayed day two of the NCAA Eastern Connecticut State Regional Saturday, the State University of New York at New Paltz took on behemoth No. 1 Endicott College at Elliott Ballpark, home of the UCONN Huskies.

With the rain coming down, the winner’s bracket game between the Hawks and the Gulls was moved up from its original 2:30 p.m. start to 6:30 p.m. on the turf in Storrs, Connecticut.

SUNY New Paltz put up 13 hits and 12 runs against an Endicott team that has allowed an average of less than three runs against all season, but lackluster pitching, plagued with walks hindered SUNY New Paltz from maybe the biggest upset in Division III as it fell, 19-12.

The two teams combined for 29 walks in the contest with the Hawks allowing 19 including four hit-by-pitches among six arms thrown in the game.

The Gulls took the early 1-0 lead in the first after starter James McGovern walked in the game’s initial run with the bases loaded. He got out of the jam though on the next at-bat, forcing a grounder to Micheal Boccarossa at second who flipped the ball over to Tommy Kreider to get the force out at second before he turned the double play on the throw over at first to Justin Harvey.

SUNY New Paltz immediately answered in the bottom half, thanks to a record setting swing by captain Boccarossa. After the Hawks tied the game at 1-1 following an RBI ground out by Anthony Pericolosi, Boccarossa stepped into the batter’s box with Kreider standing at third with two outs. The sixth-year graduate student was sitting tied for the single season record for RBI alongside former teammate Dean Stalzer who set the mark in 2022 and on Saturday, he surpassed his old teammate after slicing a ball just inside the left field line for an RBI double, scoring Kreider to push his team ahead, 2-1.

However, the Gulls re-took the lead in the following half inning. McGovern continued struggling finding the zone. After giving up a walk sandwiched by singles, a sacrifice fly drew the first out but scored the tying run. He couldn’t get out of the jam, as a hit-by-pitch pushed the go-ahead run across, and he was soon replaced with Liam Ryan on the mound.
Like in the first, the Hawks answered in the bottom half, all on a two-out rally. Wallace Kirkpatrick kept the inning alive with a walk with Nick Harvey following on a base hit. Kreider also took a walk, which loaded the bases and on the next at-bat, a balk drove in the game-tying third run for SUNY New Paltz. It was then Michael Ascanio’s turn for the clutch RBI hit, as the junior struck a ball in the gap in left to plate both Kreider and Harvey, pushing his team to a 5-3 lead.

Endicott earned a run back in the third, but the game changed in the top of the fourth, as a single and a walk set up a three-run shot for the Gulls who pulled ahead 7-5. The Hawks couldn’t limit the damage and the inning continued with walks galvanizing Endicott’s offense. The Gulls earned two free bases on a walk and hit-by-pitch with them coming up with an RBI base hit before scoring on a wild pitch. They capped the inning on a two-RBI base hit to go up, 11-5 before Ryan was replaced by Jason Wall.

SUNY New Paltz trailed from that point forward, and although it continued to fight to get within striking distance it couldn’t stall Endicott’s momentum offensively. Kreider and Ascanio followed with back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the fourth, with Ascanio totaling two RBI on the swing to cut the deficit to four.

The two-run difference remained after the fifth with each team scoring two runs in the frame, but a three-run sixth allowed the Gulls to take a seven-run cushion. An error by Endicott and three-straight walks helped the Hawks within six before cutting the score to 16-12 in the seventh to stay alive down the stretch.

Kreider got the inning started after getting pegged in the back by a pitch. Ascanio took advantage of the free base runner, as he recorded his third double of the afternoon. Kreider was later batted in by Boccarossa for his second RBI of the night before Ascanio was brought home on an RBI base hit by Dillon Ristano, but the Hawks were unable to add on. With two runners stil on, the inning ended with two-straight strikeouts to kill the side.
SUNY New Paltz’s offense was stymied there with Endicott adding three more insurance runs in the ninth to solidify the 19-12 outcome.

The Hawks out-hit the Gulls, 13-12, but committed three errors defensively on a slick service with the rain coming down throughout the four-plus hour affair. The 12 runs scored on Endicott is the most it has allowed all season.

Ascanio led the way, going 4-for-6 with a run scored a game-high four RBI to push his season mark to 42, just five shy from Boccarossa’s single season mark. Boccarossa, meanwhile, went 3-for-6 with two RBI with Kreider going 3-for-3 with four runs, two RBI and two walks. Nick Harvey added a hit and four runs scored with three walks, while Kirkpatrick scored twice after walking twice.

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