NORWICH, Conn – Junior left-hander Jeff Stoddard (Branford, CT) pitched six strong innings and the Sacred Heart offense came alive with 18 hits on the way to a 13-8 victory over Wagner Friday afternoon to stay alive in the NEC Tournament at Dodd Stadium. The Pioneers improve to 28-27 on the season and will face the loser of Central Connecticut State and Bryant tomorrow afternoon at noon.
Stoddard improves to 5-2 this season after scattering five hits and allowing just two runs in six innings of work.
It didn't take very long for the Sacred Heart offensive onslaught to begin, as the Pioneers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. SHU put together three consecutive singles with two outs to push a run across. Freshman Zack Short (Hurley, NY) began the rally for SHU, followed by a single from Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, NY) and then a RBI base knock up the middle by Matt Charmello (Rossmoor, CA).
The Pioneers added another run in the third inning with Derick Horn knocking a clutch two-out base hit to left field to score Sullivan.
Sacred Heart kept the train rolling in the fifth; pushing two more runs across in the frame. Freshman Ted Shaw (Southington, CT) started the frame with a single through the right side. After Kenny Byram (Ponte Vedra, FL) reached on a Wagner error, a fielder's choice by Jesus Medina (New York, NY) brought Shaw home. Short then followed with his second hit of the afternoon, a RBI base knock through the left side.
Sacred Heart broke the game open in the sixth, scoring four more runs, all with two outs. Sullivan started the two-out rally with a RBI base hit to left to score Shaw. Charmello followed with a two-run double down the right field line and SHU led 7-1. Horn capped off the rally with his second RBI single of the afternoon to score Charmello from second.
Already up 8-2, Sacred Heart piled on five more runs in the eighth. First up, Horn made it a trifecta with his third RBI single of the day to score Short. After scoring another run on a fielder's choice, freshman Keith Klebart (Orange, CT) drilled a double down the left field line to give SHU a 12-2 lead. Shaw then followed with a double of his own down the left field line to cap off the rally and put SHU up 13-2.
Wagner saw Sacred Heart's five runs and scored six of their own in the bottom half of the eighth. Shaun Flynn and Trey Nicosia both knocked two-run hits, while Chris Smith hit a sacrifice fly.
We will have live audio of tomorrow's second elimination game against either CCSU or Bryant tomorrow afternoon at 12:00 pm.