Becker Walks-Off Against Johnson & Wales

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ROCHDALE, Mass.-  The Becker College baseball walked off with a 7-6 victory over Johnson & Wales University in non-conference action Monday afternoon at Rochdale Park. The win lifts the Hawks record to 10-9 while the Wildcats slip to 11-9.

Johnson & Wales jumped on the board in the top of the first when Dave Matthews (Newtown, Conn.) plated Rob Ballinger (South Kingstown, R.I.) from third with a groundout to second base. Ballinger reached base with a leadoff double, before Lou Umberto (Cranston, R.I.) advanced him to third on a groundout.

Becker responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Chris Testa (Providence, R.I.) got the inning started with a two-out infield single. After Testa stole second and third, he tied the game when he scampered home on a passed ball. A walked by T.J. Sempkowski (Oceanport, N.J.) and a single by Evan Barrera (West Warwick, R.I.) kept the inning alive for senior Niko Bedell (Manorville, N.Y.), who gave the Hawks the lead with a single up the middle.

The scored remained the same until the bottom of the fourth when Kevin Perez (Jersey City, N.J.) drove in a pair of runs with a double into the left centerfield gap, scoring Evan Barrera and Niko Bedell.

The Wildcats came charging back with three in the top of the fifth. Cam Newell (Westerly, R.I.) and Vin Amalfitano (Massapequa, N.Y.) got the inning started with a pair of singles. Rob Ballinger cut the Johnson & Wales deficit to 4-2 when he brought home Newell with a double to left center. Lou Umberto followed with an RBI single to right, pulling the Wildcats within a run. Dave Matthews tied the game at 4-4 when he beat out a double play ball, allowing Ballinger to score.

In the bottom of the fifth, Chris Testa gave the Hawks a 5-4 advantage when he belted his fourth homerun of the year.

The Hawks would add what looked to be an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. With Evan Barrera on second and Niko Bedell on first, Head Coach Bob McLaughlin dialed up a double steal. The attempt to throw out the lead runner from the Wildcat's catcher sailed into left field, allowing Barrera to score.

Johnson & Wales refused to go down quietly as the Wildcats tied the game with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Pinch hitter Armani Henderson (Johnston, R.I.) got the inning started when he reached second on a throwing error by the Becker third baseman. Rob Ballinger pulled the Wildcats within a run when he followed with a double to left. Lou Umberto then brought home Ballinger with a double to left, knotting the game at 6-6.

In the bottom of the ninth, Josiah Shepherd (Providence, R.I.) made his way aboard with a leadoff walk. After Shepherd stole second, the Wildcats elected to intentionally walk Vaibhav Desi (Waltham, Mass.). Chris Testa sent the Hawks home with the victory when he singled to right center, scoring Shepherd with the game winning run.

Michael Iacovelli (Northbridge, Mass.) earned the win after recording the final two outs of the ninth. Becker starter Tyler Wagar (Uxbridge, Mass.) tossed eight and a third innings, allowing five earned runs while striking out seven.

Josh Mousseau suffered the loss after allowing two runs in three plus innings of relief.

The Hawks return to action tomorrow evening when they host Williams College at 5:00 p.m. The Wildcats will host Rhode Island College on Wednesday, April 12th at 3:30 p.m.