CCC Baseball Championships: It takes two to get to the final two

Hunter Sleeper had four hits, scored three times, and drove in three runs in two games against the Bison on Monday. (Photo by Jordin Bonacorsi)
Hunter Sleeper had four hits, scored three times, and drove in three runs in two games against the Bison on Monday. (Photo by Jordin Bonacorsi)

[Game 7] #5 Nichols def. #1 Salve Regina, 8-6
[Game 9] #1 Salve Regina 10 def. #5 Nichols, 10-0 [Bison eliminated]
Reynolds Field - Newport, R.I.
Monday, May 8, 2017


Top-seeded Salve Regina University baseball got a dominant pitching performance from junior lefty Jimmy Fitzgerald (Canton, Mass.) in the final game of its three-team pod in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championships, and eliminated No. 5 seed Nichols College with a 10-0 decision in the second of two games with the Bison at Reynolds Field on Monday.

The Seahawks (32-10, 14-2 CCC) advance to the best-of-three championship series with No. 2 seed Endicott College, and will host the Gulls in each game of the finals which start at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 12. Endicott had completed its pod with a victory in a final game as well, 15-0, over Gordon College on Sunday.

The Bison (23-19, 9-7 CCC) had forced an "if necessary" game with their 8-6 victory over the Seahawks earlier today. Nichols was the first CCC school to defeat Salve Regina at Reynolds Field in 2017. The Bison lost their first game of the tournament on Thursday at No. 4 seed Curry College before surviving a pair of elimination games (6-4 over the Colonels on Sunday, and 8-6 over the Seahawks today).

Game 7
#5 Nichols 8, #1 Salve Regina 6
With two outs in the top of the first, a slow roller between first and second base was misplayed and brought in the first two Bison runs against Seahawk starter Cory Poplawski (Syracuse, N.Y.)

Bison second baseman Cam Cook (Phoenixville, Pa.), who entered the game 19-for his last-29 (.655) including six runs and seven RBI, went four-for-five with a run scored. Kyle Bouchard (Fall River, Mass.) had two hits including a two-run double.

Nichols starting pitcher Adam Rigney (Niantic, Conn.) worked seven innings and allowed just two runs on seven hits, striking out five, for his sixth win of the season (6-4). Poplawski was charged with five runs but only one earned against, while his record falls to 4-3 overall.

Game 9
#1 Salve Regina 10, #5 Nichols 0
Jimmy Fitzgerald recorded strikeouts on 10 of the first 12 Bison batters he faced. A first-inning walk, a fourth-inning single by Bouchard, and two free passes in the seventh were the only Bison to reach against the Seahawk southpaw, who improved to 6-0 on the season. He finished with 13 Ks in the combined shutout with Will Ginsberg (Sharon, Mass.) who added another strikeout in his two innings of work.

Offensively, Salve Regina scored two in the first, two in the second, another pair in the fourth to take a commanding 6-0 lead. A four-run seventh inning was highlighted by a two-run triple to right field for All-CCC outfielder Brody Santilli (Lincoln, R.I.).

Senior shortstop Hunter Sleeper (Arlington, Mass.) had four hits on the day while scoring three times and driving in a trio of runs.

Series and Streaks
The Seahawks had won five straight CCC postseason games (including last year's championship) until the Bison defeat today. Against Nichols, Salve Regina had won four straight with a doubleheader sweep this year in Dudley, and a nightcap victory in the regular season last year combined with a playoff-opening triumph in 2016. Salve Regina leads the overall series, 44-15.

Quick Hits

  • Salve Regina matches its program record for wins in a season (32 in 2006).

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