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(Norwich, CT) – The Sacred Heart University Pioneers are the 2011 Northeast Conference Baseball champions. The Pioneers beat the Monmouth Hawks 9-2 Sunday afternoon at Dodd Stadium for their second NEC title on program history. Kody Kerski (Waterbury, CT) pitched a complete game to earn the win, and Dave Boisture (Highland Mills, NY) went 3-5 with a key two-out homerun to ignite the offense.
The Pioneers took an early lead in the second on an RBI groundout by Derick Horn (Valatie, NY), but Boisture made it a three-run inning with a two-run homerun to right. Kerski never looked back, shutting out the Hawks through eight innings before they scratched two across in the ninth. However, after an RBI fielder's choice and sacrifice fly, when Josh Boyd's fly ball to right landed in Boisture's glove for the final out, the celebration was on for the Pioneers and their fans.
The Pioneers opened up a 5-0 lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Rob Griffith (Lake Ronkonkoma, NY) and a two-out RBI triple to right-centerfield by John Murphy (Seymour, CT). Murphy was named the tournament MVP, going 5-13 with a homerun, four runs and five RBI in the three-game NEC Tournament sweep.
SHU tacked four more on in the sixth, highlighted by an RBI single by Boisture, who scored two runs with three RBI, and a two-out two-run double by Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA).
Kerski pitched his first career complete game and earned his second victory of the season, scattering six hits with a walk, three strikeouts, and one earned run.
Troy Scribner (Washington Depot, CT), Nick Leiningen (Millwood, NY), and Horn were all named to the all-tournament team with Murphy. Scribner and Leiningen both pitched complete game victories in SHU's first two wins of the tournament, and Horn went 5-11 with five RBI and two RBI.
Sacred Heart advances to the NCAA Tournament in two weeks with a record of 34-21 in a program-record setting for wins. They won their 11th consecutive conference game, finishing the NEC season with a record of 26-9.
The NCAA Baseball Tournament Selection Show will be on Monday, May 30 at 12:30 p.m., when the Pioneers find out where and who they will play in the NCAA Division I Regionals beginning June 2.