FORT MYERS, Fla. – Senior captain and third baseman Joe Haley slugged a two-run homer in the top of the fourth to provide the winning margin in a 4-2 final in five innings for Salve Regina University baseball over Swarthmore College in the nightcap of a Gene Cusic Classic twinbill at the Player Development Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. A quick rain shower halted game two in the bottom of the sixth, after the Seahawks had plated six runs in the top of the frame.
The Garnet (4-2) won the first game, 10-8, in a regularly-scheduled nine-inning contest. The Seahawks (3-5), who trailed as the home team in the entire first game, loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth but were unable to score any runs after the fourth.
Haley was responsible for all four runs in the Seahawk victory. His first-inning double brought home junior Ryan Kelly (Waldwick, N.J.) with the game’s first run. Freshman Alex Perry (No. Attleboro, Mass.) plated Haley with his own RBI double, going the opposite way down the right field line.
Senior captain and starting pitcher Kyle Pheland (No. Scituate, R.I.) allowed Garnet batters to reach base in all five innings, but maintained a shutout through the first four. Swarthmore reached the righthander for a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth. Pheland struck out six batters for his first victory of 2015.
Haley collected six hits in the doubleheader, including three extra-base hits, and raised his season batting average to .640 over 25 at bats. In addition, the lefty-swinging infielder was robbed of a run-scoring basehit on a diving play by opposing shortstop Wesley Fishburn (La Jolla, Calif.) in the fourth inning of game one, ending the inning with the bases loaded.
Swarthmore scored five times in the first inning of game one off starter Frank Lemieux (Marshfield, Mass.). The sophomore righty struck out four batters in an inning and a third of work, absorbing his first loss of the season.
Freshman Jimmy Fitzgerald (Canton, Mass.) pitched 1.2 innings of middle relief, allowing only one baserunner (a walk) and no runs.
Salve Regina narrowed its deficit to one run on two occasions. Haley’s RBI single in the bottom of the third scored fellow senior captain Daniel Donohue (Westbury, N.Y.), before Haley drew a throw over to first from Swarthmore relief pitcher Sam Alofsin (Newport, R.I.), allowing Alek Kucich (Old Brookville, N.Y.) to steal home to make the score, 7-6. Both teams scored twice in the fourth inning; Haley’s line drive snared by Fishburn denied the Seahawks the tying and potential go-ahead runs in that frame.
Kelly, Donohue, and freshman catcher Christian Vargas (Melbourne, Fla.) each collected three singles in the doubleheader. Vargas worked behind the plate all 14 official innings, having been lifted for pinch-hitter David Neil (Randolph, Mass.) in the top of the sixth, before Neil also worked behind the plate during the rain-interrupted bottom of the sixth with Josh Monson (Bridgewater, Mass.) pitching.
Perry had a pair of doubles and three runs batted in.