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Complete Games by Branch, Poland Fuel Endicott Sweep of Salve

Complete Games by Branch, Poland Fuel Endicott Sweep of Salve

BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott baseball team swept their second consecutive doubleheader to start their CCC schedule as the Gulls defeated Salve Regina 4-2 and 4-0 behind a pair of complete-game pitching performances by junior JJ Branch (Milford, Mass.) and senior Zac Poland (Essex Junction, Vt.).

Since returning from Florida with a 3-5 record, Endicott has five of their six games up north to see their regular season record rise to 8-6 (4-0 CCC). The Gulls face a powerful opponent in non-conference foe Eastern Connecticut State on Tuesday to close out the month of March. First pitch against the Warriors is at 4:00 p.m. from Endicott's North Field.

Seeing their first action in 16 days, Salve Regina (5-7, 0-2 CCC) will look to get back on track on Thursday, April 2nd as they face Eastern Connecticut State at 3:00 p.m.

Game One: Endicott 4, Salve Regina 2

Salve Regina led game one 2-1 going into the top of the seventh, but three errors by their defense allowed Endicott to take the lead and win 4-2 in game one.

Endicott scored in the top of the first on a RBI groundout by junior right fielder Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) but in the bottom half of the first, Paola's miscue in the field led to the first of two runs for the Seahawks. After a liner to right allowed Salve Regina junior Ryan Kelly (Waldwick, N.J.) to score from second base, freshman Alex Perry (North Attleboro, Mass.) singled home Joe Haley (North Kingstown, R.I.) to make it a 2-1 Seahawk lead.

Branch and his counterpart on the mound Kyle Pheland (North Scituate, R.I.) put zeroes on the scoreboard for the next five innings until Endicott came to bat in the top of the seventh. Gulls freshman outfielder Michael DeDonato (Chelmsford, Mass.) singled to left to lead off the inning and stole second base to get the tying run into scoring position. Pheland struck out a batter for the first out but junior shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.) hit a groundball to third base that was thrown over the first baseman's head allowing DeDonato to round third and score.

Still in the top of the seventh with the game tied 2-2, another Salve Regina error allowed sophomore centerfielder Cam Farnham (Andover, Mass.) to reach base putting runners on second and third with two outs. Paola hit a sharp liner to the hole between first and second which was corralled by the second baseman and throw errantly into foul territory. Both Hall at third base and Farnham at second base crossed home to put Endicott ahead 4-2.

Branch set the Seahawk lineup down in order including back-to-back strikeouts to end the game as junior improved to 2-1 on the year. He finished with a complete-game, two unearned runs allowed, five hits, and one walk with four strikeouts.

DeDonato and SRU's Perry both had two hits in the game. DeDonato also had two of Endicott's four stolen bases in the win.

Game Two: Endicott 4, Salve Regina 0

Zac Poland turned in his best pitching effort of the season thus far, going seven shutout innings with three hits allowed, one walk, and five strikeouts as he improved to 1-2 on the year. Poland needed just 79 pitches to get through seven innings and allowed only one base runner to reach second base in the bottom of the second.

Endicott's offensive production improved in game two as the lineup produced a RBI single off the bat of sophomore third baseman Mike Kochiss (Fairfield, Conn.) in the top of the first and a sacrifice fly from junior Anthony Serina (Portsmouth, R.I.) in the third inning to garner an early lead under chilly conditions.

In the top of the fourth, Matthew Paola drew a walk to load the bases with two outs before Salve Regina turned the ball over to their bullpen to try and escape the jam. A wild pitch, however, allowed Cody Hall to, who had reached on a leadoff single, to score from third to push the lead up to 3-0.

Endicott's aggressive base running was put on display in the top of the sixth as the Gulls swiped six bags, two apiece for Farnham, senior captain Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.), and Paola. With runners on first and third and two outs, Seahawk lefty Jimmy Fitzgerald (Canton, Mass.) caught Paola in between first and second on a pickoff move but Oringer broke for home and beat the throw to cap off the scoring at 4-0 Endicott.

Serina and Hall each had two hits in the game two victory while defensively, Oringer instigated two crucial double plays including a back-handed stab in the bottom of the sixth which doubled up a runner off first.