Late rally falls short for Western in 5-3 loss to FDU Florham

Mike Yates ties Western All-Time career hit mark

Box Score

DANBURY, CT (May 2) Senior Mike Yates (Guilford, CT) tied the team record for career hits (173) with a single in the third inning, but the Western Connecticut State University baseball team dropped a 5-3 decision to Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham in the final home game of the season for the Colonials Wednesday evening at Westside Field.

Through the first two innings, neither team advanced a runner past first base.  In the top of the third inning, FDU Florham senior Steve Seminerio (East Hanover, NJ) drew a two-out walk  and moved to third when Brandan Adams (Jackson, NJ) followed with a single up the middle, but on the next batter Yates made a diving catch in center to end the inning.

Senior Kyle Savo (West Haven. CT) led off the bottom of the third with a liner to left and stole second.  Junior Chris Alberto (Trumbull, CT) drew a two-out walk and Yates followed with an infield single that would have loaded the bases, but the throw to first was both late and well off the mark, allowing Savo to score from second on the play and giving Western an early 1-0 lead.

FDU Florham answered in the top of the fourth, but the star of the inning was Western’s Conor Bierfeldt (Torrington, CT) in left field.  With a runner on second and no outs, sophomore Frank LaGuarina (Somerset, NJ) hit a shot down the line in left field.  Beirfeldt charged the ball and gunned down the FDU runner at home for the inning’s first out.  The Devils’ run in the inning came when LaGuarina, who took second on the throw to the plate, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by junior Ricky Gathen (Hopatcong, NJ).  After drawing a walk and stealing second, senior Ryan Fandel (Flemington, NJ) held at second on Gathan’s sacrifice fly, but when freshman Frankie Tassielli (Florham Park, NJ) singled through the left side of the Western infield, Bierfeldt’s throw to the plate beat Fandel by several strides and the inning ended with one run, two hits, and two runners thrown out at home by Bierfeldt.

Western moved runners into scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings, but failed to score.  The top of the fifth inning started well for Western starter Connor Nolan (Shelton, CT) as he retired the first two batters, but those were the last outs he recorded.  A hit batter, a single, and another hit batter loaded the bases, and the first Devil run scored on the third hit batsman of the inning.  A two-run single off the bat of Fandel chased Nolan from the game, and when reliever C.J. Sousa (Danbury, CT) was greeted with a single by Gathan, a total of four FDU Florham runs had scored in the fifth, giving the visitors a 5-1 lead.

Sousa silenced the Devil bats over the next three innings, but the Western batters went down in order in the seventh and eighth as the score remained 5-1.  In the bottom of the eighth with two out, Yates drew a walk that started a two-run, two-out rally.  Bierfeldt, senior Zack Dandrea (Wanaque, NJ), and senior David Simone (Danbury, CT), followed Yates with singles to score two runs, and after junior Bill Eannotti (Shelton, CT) walked to load the bases, Western had the tying run at second base, but a pop-up to second ended the rally with the score 5-3.

A double play and a strikeout ended things quickly for FDU Florham in the ninth, but Western managed only an infield single in the bottom of the ninth to make the Devils’ final margin of victory 5-3.

With the loss, Western falls to 16-21 on the season, while FDU Florham improves to 22-16.  The Colonials conclude the regular season on Friday, May 4, when they play a double header at LEC rival Plymouth State starting at 11:00am.

FDU Florham 5, Western Connecticut 3
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FDU Florham......... 000 140 000  -  5  9  1      (22-16)
Western Connecticut. 001 000 020  -  3  8  3      (16-21)
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Pitchers: FDU Florham - Chris Roberts; Andrew Hille(4); Matt LaTorre(5); AJ Pichalski(6); Smith(7); Wirth-Kenyon(8); Winters(8).
Western Connecticut - Connor Nolan; C.J. Sousa(5); Conor Bierfeldt(9).
Win-Matt LaTorre(1-1)  Save-Mike Winters(1)  Loss-Connor Nolan(1-4)