Sophomore Nick Herzog's (Riverhead, N.Y.) walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted top-seeded UMass Boston to a 9-8 victory over eighth-seeded Penn State-Berks in opening round play of the 2017 NCAA Division III New England Baseball Regional Championships on Thursday afternoon at Whitehouse Field.
The Beacons (34-10) advance to take on fifth-seeded Babson (26-13) in second round play on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in a winner's bracket contest, while the Nittany Lions (20-20) will square off with fourth-seeded Salve Regina (34-11) in an elimination round game Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.
UMass Boston grabbed a 1-0 first inning lead on an error, but Penn State-Berks responded with a three-run fourth inning rally on sophomore Brandon Griesemer's (Boyertown, Pa.) two-run single and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. The Nittany Lions tacked on two more tallies in the top of the fifth on a bases-loaded walk to senior John McGarvey (Wilmington, Del.) and Griesemer's sacrifice fly, but the Beacons responded with a seven-run outburst in the bottom of the frame that began with a three-run double off the bat of sophomore Kyle Boudrias (Medford, Mass.) that cut the score to 5-4. Herzog's run-scoring single evened matters for UMass Boston, which took the lead on a passed ball and added two more runs in the inning on senior Anthony Searles' (Shelton, Conn.) sacrifice fly and an RBI single by junior Sal Frosceno (Derby, Conn.), and that score held up until the ninth when Penn State-Berks rallied to close back to within one on an error and Griesemer's fourth RBI on a single up the middle. The Nittany Lions evened matters on junior Cory Fox's (Boyertown, Pa.) run-scoring single with two outs in the ninth to force the extra frame, and Herzog provided the heroics for the Beacons with a drive down the left field line that plated junior pinch-runner Eddie Riley (Quincy, Mass.) with the deciding run.
Boudrias, Herzog, senior Dan Mantoni (Northbridge, Mass.) and juniors Josh Lopez (New Haven, Conn.) and Chris Fowler (Barnstable, Mass.) each had two hits as part of 14-hit attack for UMass Boston, as junior Bryan Kaufman (Farmingdale, N.Y.) improved to 3-0 on the season in fanning a pair over 1 1/3 innings of work. Griesemer, senior Zach Reis (Womelsdorf, Pa.) and freshman Seth Endy (Boyertown, Pa.) each had two hits to lead a 13-hit attack for Penn State-Berks, as junior Tyler Comport (Boyertown, Pa.) also rapped out a pair of hits and suffered the setback on the mound for the Nittany Lions to fall to 4-2 on the spring.