Bison walk-off against Westfield, 9-8

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DUDLEY, Mass. – Senior Matt Hardy (North Attleboro, Mass.) scored the walk-off run to push the Bison past Westfield State, 9-8, in non-conference action Tuesday afternoon at the Nichols Baseball Field.
The Bison exploded for five runs in the fourth inning before scoring another three runs in the sixth to defeat the Owls – ranked No. 7 in New England.
Junior Cam Cook (Phoenixville, Pa.) had three hits for the fifth-consecutive game while driving in two and scoring a run. Freshman Kyle Bouchard (Fall River, Mass.) and Hardy both added two hits and a run.
The Owls saw homeruns from sophomore Anthony Crowley (Bellingham, Mass.) and senior Dan Rokitowski (Taunton, Mass.) while junior John Lippincott (Barkhamsted, Conn.) had three hits and two runs scored.
Junior Kevin Kirley (Clinton, Mass.) earned his first win of the season after pitching the final 1.2 innings and allowing just one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one. Sophomore Tyler Crane (Amherst, N.Y.) started the game for the Bison and allowed just two runs on five hits through four innings.
Senior Nate Barnes (Westfield, Mass.) started the game for the Owls and allowed five runs (one earned) on eight hits through four innings. The loss went to sophomore Scott Strachan (Braintree, Mass.) – whose throwing-error following a bunt by Bouchard in the ninth allowed Hardy to score the game-winner.
The Bison trailed 2-0 through three innings before freshman Christopher Cerniglia (Monroe, N.J.) doubled home Bouchard to start a five-run fourth inning. Sophomore Joe Assenza (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) followed that up by singling to left field to bring home senior Tim Ford (Stafford Springs, Conn.).
Cook had a two-RBI single and junior Nick Roy (Middletown, Conn.) also drove in a run to cap off the inning.
The Owls then tied things up with three runs in the sixth inning – including a RBI-single to left by sophomore Jared Ferrari (Waltham, Mass.) – but Nichols added three more in its half of the inning to take a 8-5 lead.
Westfield pulled within a run with a pair of runs in the seventh and tied things up, 8-8, in the ninth following a double to left that went over the head of Hardy to bring home junior Alex Lafayette (Ludlow, Mass.).
Hardy led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to right center field and later scored on the throwing error by the pitcher off the Bouchard bunt.
All-Time Series
The win for the Bison breaks a nine-game losing streak in the series to the Owls. This was the first win for Nichols in the series since 1992 but it still trails in the all-time series, 9-25-1.
Next Games
Westfield St. (28-7) – Friday, May 5 in MASCAC Tournament, 3:00 p.m.
Nichols (21-17) – Friday, May 5 at Curry in CCC Tournament, 3:00 p.m.