MILTON, Mass. – The Curry College baseball team dropped a pair of Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) contests to Nichols College this Saturday afternoon. The wins bring Nichols' overall record to 13-10, with the Bison moving to 3-4 in the conference. The Colonels sit at 7-13-1 after the weekend with a 1-4-1 mark in the CCC. Despite both games shaping up to be pitchers' duels early on, the Bison bats broke through to snag both victories.
Game One: Nichols 5, Curry 3
The Colonels were the first to score in game one, as Garrett Fosher (Exeter, N.H.) sent a single up the middle to score Tyler Jenkins (East Bridgewater, Mass.). The Bison were quick to respond, however, as Joe Assenza (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) hit his first home run of the season and third of his collegiate career to tie the score at one. Nichols starter Brendan Duffy (Stratford, Conn.) tossed a shutdown inning for the Bison following the knock, but James Mello (Fall River, Mass.) put up a matching zero for the hosts in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the frame, Curry retook the lead as freshman Julian Jaume (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored on a sacrifice fly to center to go up 2-1. However, as the top of the sixth rolled around, Mello started to show signs of fatigue. After surrendering just one hit over the first five frames, what should have been the third out went through the wickets at third and gave Nichols new life. A double, two walks, and a wild pitch later, the Bison had their first lead of the day as the score sat at 3-2. After Duffy turned in back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, a Christian Naccari (Ossining, N.Y.) single tacked on a Nichols insurance run in the eighth, which was soon followed by another Bison run in the ninth to make it 5-2. Entering the bottom of the final frame, Duffy had retired the last 10 Colonel batters he faced, but did so with a climbing pitch count. Fosher led off the inning by breaking the hosts' short slump with a single into center, before advancing to second on a hit by Jose Martinez (Fall River, Mass.). With the potential tying run coming to the plate, the Bison turned to reliever Isaac Blandford (Fayetteville, N.Y.), who came on in search of a save. After the freshman recorded a pair of outs through the air, an errant pickoff throw and a wild pitch pushed a run home for the Colonels and brought Martinez to second. Another wild pitch and a walk followed, which prompted Nichols to go to Brodie Altiere (North Adams, Mass.), who came in with just one save on the season. After a pair of pickoff attempts to first base to keep the runner in check, Altiere stranded both inherited runners by striking out the only batter he faced to lock up the 5-3 win for the Bison.
Assenza (2-for-4) was the only Bison to record multiple hits in the win, picking up an RBI and a pair of runs scored along the way. Fosher's 3-for-4 day wasn't enough in the losing effort, as the Colonels out-hit Nichols 8-7 in the loss. Mello (0-3) is saddled with his third loss of the season, striking out two and giving up three runs (one earned) on two hits over seven innings of work. Duffy improves his perfect mark to 3-0 with an 8.0+ inning performance that saw eight K's, while Altiere's game clinching punch-out stands as just enough to get him save number two on the year.
Game Two: Nichols 4, Curry 2
As game two got underway, Curry was looking to avoid the sweep. However, it took the hosts until the fourth inning to break up a perfect game bid from Jack Dicenso (Norfolk, Mass.). Zachary Wensley (Raynham, Mass.) kept the Colonels squarely in the contest on the other side of the ball, as both offenses were shut out through five innings. The Bison would break through in the sixth with three consecutive one-out singles to make it 1-0, but Wensley minimized the damage by retiring two straight batters to leave a pair of runners on base, two of nine runners Nichols would strand in the contest. After the hosts went quietly in the bottom half of the inning, the Bison extended their lead to 4-0 on back-to-back jacks by Assenza and first baseman Kyle Bouchard (Fall River, Mass.). Jason Leonard (Dedham, Mass.) helped Curry cut into the lead with a dinger of his own in the seventh, but it would be the only Colonel hit of the inning. After reliever Jack Needham (Raynham, Mass.) completed a scoreless eighth, the comeback bid continued as a Bison error brought Adam Duarte (East Providence, R.I.) across the plate to make it 4-2. Heading into the bottom of the ninth down a pair, Altiere came out for his second consecutive inning, looking for a six-out save. Jenkins had other thoughts, however, as he sent a shot out to center to lead off the inning. At the wall, though, Assenza pulled the fly ball back into the park, robbing the home run. Dylan Ketterer (Plymouth, Mass.) followed the loud out by reaching on an E6, but Altiere induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play to nab his second save of the afternoon.
Nichols got an astounding effort out of the top three spots of their lineup in game two, as Riley Parent (Windham, N.H.), Assenza, and Bouchard combined to go 7-for-15, driving in three to go along with three runs scored. Tyler Heenan (Milford, Conn.) also poured in significant contributions to the win, going 3-for-4 day at the plate with an RBI. Dicenso moves to 2-1 on the year after six scoreless innings, while Altiere earns his third save of the year with two no-hit frames. No Colonel recorded multiple hits, as the hosts were outhit 14-5 in the back end of the twin bill, though the team's leader in on-base percentage, Jared Keller (Oxford, Conn.), managed to reach base twice with a hit and a walk. Needham walks away empty handed despite 2.2 innings of scoreless ball, while Wensley goes to 1-5 on the season, giving up four earned on 11 hits over six and a third.
The Colonels get back on the diamond Tuesday, April 9 as they host former conference foe Eastern Nazarene College at 3:00 p.m. Nichols will hope to carry some momentum from the sweep into Sunday, April 7, as the Bison travel to face #6 Southern Maine in Gorham. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. as the non-conference opponents make up a game originally slated for March 31.