NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. - A fantastic pitching performance in the opening game gave the Nighthawks a 7-0 game one victory, while a pitcher's duel in the second game favored Mitchell College 1-0, as the Nighthawks and Mariners split a pair of games on Saturday afternoon at the New England Baseball Complex in the opening games of the New England Collegiate Conference schedule for these two teams.
Game One: Newbury 7 - Mitchell 0
Nighthawks senior Ethan Forrest (East Bridgewater, Mass.) threw a two-hit shutout, recording four strikeouts and improving to 4-0 with the Newbury Nighthawks 7-0 victory over the Mitchell Mariners on Saturday afternoon in the opening game of the doubleheader between the two sides.
Forrest, who holds an ERA of 1.24, earned his second shutout of the season on the afternoon. Nighthawks sophomore David Center (Medford, Mass.) finished 3-for-4 including a two-run home run in the fifth. Junior Billy Stephen (Windermere, Fla.) batted 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.
Mariners junior Kyle Hartenstein (Meriden, Conn.) and sophomore Marcus Melendez (Storrs, Conn.) finished with the only hits for the Mariners, both singles. Hartenstein batted 1-for-3; Melendez was 1-for-2.
It was a pitching duel for four innings before the Nighthawks broke it open in the bottom of the fifth. With one out in the fifth, freshman Justin Banks (Corona, Calif.) reached base after being hit by a pitch. Stephen was next up and his triple scored Banks from first to break the scoreless tie and put the Nighthawks ahead 1-0.
The next batter was Center, who took a pitch to deep left field, clearing the left field wall for the first home run of his career, giving the Nighthawks a 3-0 lead.
The Nighthawks would add more insurance in the sixth, starting the inning by loading the bases. Newbury tallied four in the inning thanks to a hit batter, an error, a fielder's choice, and a single, putting the Nighthawks up 7-0.
The victory breaks a six-game losing streak against the Mariners dating back to 2014.
Game Two: Mitchell 1 - Newbury 0
A pitcher's duel between Mariners junior Eddie Santiago (New London, Conn.) and Nighthawks junior Jake Pringle (Acushnet, Mass.) stole the show in the second game of the doubleheader, inevitably favoring the Mariners, 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.
Santiago pitched a complete game, seven-inning shutout, on five hits with nine strikeouts. Pringle allowed one run in seven innings, giving up four hits and recording three strikeouts.
Mariners senior Tristan Hurley (Mystic, Conn.) batted 1-for-3 with a RBI double. Junior Jack Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn.) batted 1-for-2, scoring the only run of the game.
The Mariners struck for the only run of the game in the third, starting with a Finnegan single. The next batter sacrifice bunted to move Finnegan to second, but on the play, Finnegan was nearly caught too far off second base.
The ball was thrown to second, forcing Finnegan to try to take third. The throw would have beaten Finnegan, but the ball bounced off Finnegan's back, making him safe at third.
The next batter, Hurley, doubled into the right field corner, scoring Finnegan for the game's only run.
The Nighthawks best chance came in the fourth following a Center double and advancement to third on a two-out Hruniak single. Santiago came back, striking the next batter out and getting out of the jam.
In the last five games against the Mariners, the Nighthawks are 1-4 with all four losses coming by one run.
The third game of this series was postponed due to the threat of snow on Sunday afternoon, no make-up date has been announced.
The 1-1 split moves the Nighthawks to 9-6 (1-1 NECC) while putting the Mariners at 7-5 (1-1 NECC). The Nighthawks return to action on Feb. 21 vs. Anna Maria College at 3:30 p.m., the Mariners are set to welcome Coast Guard on Feb. 21 for a 3:30 game.