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Candage, Simone Lead Chargers to Sweep of Saint Anselm

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WEST HAVEN, Conn. – The University of New Haven baseball team, led by a pair of stellar pitching performances by Taylor Candage

A SAMANTHA MATHEWSON PHOTO

(Portland, Maine/Deering) and Pat Simone (Branford, Conn./Branford), swept Saint Anselm College in a pair of games Saturday afternoon. The Chargers took the opener 6-0 behind Candage, while Simone led the Chargers to a 3-2 victory in the nightcap. The Chargers improved to 10-4 on the season, while the Hawks dropped to 7-12.

Game One

After holding the Hawks scoreless in the first inning, the Chargers opened scoring in the bottom of the first inning with what proved to be the game-winning run. Brendon Buckley (Monroe, Conn./Masuk) stepped to the plate with Stephen Clout (Bristol, Conn./Bristol Eastern) on third base and drove a single to right field. The runs were then held down until the fifth inning when the Chargers came alive with three hits. Joe Romanelli (Baldwin, N.Y./Holy Trinity) opened the inning with a big double to left center. Two batters later, Jack Heary (Portland, Maine/Deering) was hit by a pitch before stealing second base. Ryan Brockett (Guilford, Conn./Guilford ) stepped to the plate with one out and the Chargers’ shortstop doubled to left field and drove in the second and third runs. Brockett then stole third and David Wirkus (Orange, Conn./Fairfield Prep / St. Anselm College) hit a two-out RBI single to put UNH up 4-0.

Candage’s pitching then came alive. The sophomore faced just three batters in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The Chargers added one run in the bottom of the seventh off a Brendon Buckley (Monroe, Conn./Masuk) RBI triple and one in the bottom of the eighth off a mis-thrown ball by the Hawks’ catcher to second base. Candage came out after the eighth inning and allowed just two hits in eight scoreless innings. He also struck out three batters and walked two. Frank Vilacha (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) threw the final three outs and the Chargers cruised to the 6-0 shutout win.

At the plate, Brockett lead the team with two hits, two RBI and two runs. Buckley added two hits and two RBI as well.

Game Two

Saint Anselm got off to an early start in the second game, grabbing two hits and one run in the top of the first inning. The Chargers answered in the bottom of the second as Buckley scored off an errant throw by the catcher after stealing third base. The game remained tied 1-1 through the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Clout opened with a lead-off walk. Heary then hit a long double to right field to drive in Clout and give the Chargers a 2-1 lead. Later in the inning, Brockett hit a sacrifice fly to right field and drove in Heary. The run would eventually be the game-winner.

Simone continued to pitch well through the seventh and eighth innings, forcing a double play in the seventh and allowing just one base runner in the eighth. Peter Jay (Shelton, Conn./Shelton) entered in the top of the ninth to close out the game for the Chargers. The sophomore opened the inning with a hit by pitch and a walk as the Hawks put the game-tying run at second base and the game-winning run at first base. Jay then struck out the third batter and runners remained at first and third. The runners advanced to second and third bases off a balk and the Hawks rallied with a single to right field. On the final play of the game, with runners on first and third, the Hawks attempted a suicide squeeze, but the bunt popped up and third baseman Buckley caught the ball and stepped on third base to record the game-winning double play.

Simone earned his first win of the season in eight innings. He allowed just four hits and no earned runs, while striking out three. Jay earned his fourth save of the season with the final inning of relief.

Heary went 1-for-4 at the plate, but drove in one run and scored another run. Brocket also drove in one run. Buckley went 1-for-3 with one run as well.

New Haven returns to action on Sunday, March 25 when it hosts Saint Michael’s College in another doubleheader at Frank Vieira Field. Game time in West Haven is set for 12 p.m. For complete coverage, stay posted to www.NewHavenChargers.com.

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Candage, Simone Lead Chargers to Sweep of Saint Anselm