Baseball snaps losing skid with doubleheader sweep of STAC


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Tyler Rodtriguez.

New Haven’s Andrew Cain up to bat, West Haven, April 21, 2023.

Bouncing back from a tough stretch of games can be a challenge for any team, especially coming off a big series loss against your rival. The ability to put the losses in the back of your mind and focus on the next team on the schedule is a skill that not every team has, but as the playoffs approach, the best teams are able to play their best when the games mean the most.

Non-conference matchups may not be the biggest games of the season, but being able to come away with a win in the midst of a losing stretch is crucial. The New Haven baseball team did just that, sweeping a doubleheader against Saint Thomas Aquinas College (STAC). Allowing just one run across the two games, the Chargers were in control from the start and kept STAC from picking up any momentum.

Right-handed pitcher Izaiya Mestre got the start for New Haven in game one, continuing his strong season to bring his earned run average (ERA) down to 3.86, firing five strong innings while allowing just one run on four hits and striking out seven.

New Haven struck first in the bottom of the first inning after a pair of one-out walks to third baseman Andrew Cain and center fielder Robert Taylor set up their first run-scoring opportunity of the game. Catcher Josh Lester cashed in with a single to right field that scored Cain and gave the Chargers an early 1-0 lead.

The Chargers’ aggressive baserunning and situational hitting helped them scratch two runs across in the third to bring their lead to three. After a one-out single from Cain, Taylor lined a single up the middle which allowed both runners to advance on the throw, setting up a chance with two runners in scoring position and the middle of the order due to hit.

Right fielder Tyler Wells delivered a sacrifice bunt that allowed Cain to score the first run of the inning and Taylor to reach third with two outs. After drawing a walk, Lester got caught in a rundown between first and second base, which gave Taylor enough time to score the second run of the inning before being tagged out.

STAC broke the shutout in the top of the fifth after first baseman Greg DiGiaro walked to lead off the inning and third baseman Joseph Scamardella set up a situation with two runners on base and no outs. After a wild pitch allowed DiGiaro to advance, catcher Billy Minett lined a single to left-center field to make it a 3-1 game.

New Haven answered right back in the bottom of the inning as second baseman Noah Budzik and first baseman Andrew Bianco led off the frame with back-to-back singles before advancing on a wild pitch. With two runners in scoring position, Taylor laid down another safety squeeze that scored Budzik and put the Chargers back ahead by three.

Senior right-hander Bryan Pazulski came on in relief of Mestre, firing two hitless innings with two strikeouts to collect the save and seal game one of the doubleheader for New Haven with a 4-1 win.

Graduate right-hander Thomas Eletto delivered the Chargers another brilliant pitching performance in game two, firing six scoreless innings and allowing just three hits with five strikeouts.

New Haven picked up right where they left off in game two, scoring one run in the bottom of the first to take an early lead. Cain lined a one-out single to right field before Taylor ripped a double down the left-field line to give the Chargers runners in scoring position with just one out. Wells brought Cain around to score on a sacrifice fly to center field for the first run of the game.

The game would stay a one-run affair until the bottom of the fifth when the Chargers added two huge insurance runs. Shortstop Kenneth Franquiz started the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Budzik.

Bianco followed with a single through the left side to put runners on the corners, then reached second on a stolen base to put runners in scoring position with nobody out. Cain reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed both Budzik and Bianco to score and stretch their lead to three.

New Haven continued to add on in the sixth, bringing three runs across to double their lead with just three outs left to seal the sweep.

Wells led off the inning with a single to right field, followed by another single from Lester that allowed both runners to advance into scoring position on the throw. Left fielder Shaun Callahan lined a two-run single to left field that made it a five-run game. Callahan made it to second after an error by catcher Sean Lynch and advanced to third on the throw.

After a walk to Franquiz, Budzik lined a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Callahan and opening up a 6-0 lead, which would stand as closer Drew Silverman came on in relief of Eletto and fired a scoreless inning with three strikeouts to close out the game.