NCAA TOURNAMENT: #4 Wilmington Edges #2 Stonehill With Late Rally, 4-3

Senior catcher Eric Schneider went 3-for-4 at the plate in Stonehill's 4-3 loss to Wilmington. 

Senior Eric Schneider and sophomore Steve Lee each post 3-for-4 efforts at the plate

RINDGE, N.H. (May 15, 2015) – Fourth-seeded Wilmington University erased a late deficit with a two-run eighth inning on its way to a 4-3 victory over second-seeded Stonehill College this evening on day two of the NCAA Baseball Tournament East Regional at Pappas Field on the campus of host Franklin Pierce University.

Stonehill (34-14-1, 16-7 NE-10) will look to keep its season alive tomorrow afternoon when it takes on sixth-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas College in an elimination contest at 3 p.m. Wilmington (35-12, 18-2 CACC), the only unbeaten team remaining in the East Regional, will await the winner of the 3 p.m. game in tomorrow's 10 p.m. nightcap.

Senior catcher Eric Schneider (Camarillo, California/St. Bonaventure) and sophomore third baseman Steve Lee (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) each went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Stonehill offense, while junior left fielder Brian Campbell (Franklin, Massachusetts/Moujnt Saint Charles Academy) added two hits and two RBI and senior shortstop Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North) recorded an RBI double.Senior right-hander Armand Rugel (Middletown, Rhode Island/Middletown) got the start for the Skyhawks and struck out five while allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in 7.1 innings, but did not earn a decision. Sophomore Aubrey Solomon (Groton, Massachusetts/Lawrence Academy) took the loss after giving up one run on two hits in the eighth.

Senior Josh Swirchak (Manassas, Virginia/Osbourn Park) paced the Wildcats at the plate, as he went 3-for-4 with a double, one RBI and two runs scored. Classmate Sam Goines (Wilmington, Delaware/A.I. Dupont) recorded two hits and two RBI, while Samluk and sophomore Christian Adorno (Millville, New Jersey/St. Augustine Prep) each went 1-for-3 with one run.Senior Frank Samluk (Middletown, Delaware/St. Elizabeth's) took the ball for Wilmington and struck out nine batters over six innings while allowing three runs, but did not factor into the decision. Sophomore Jake Wersinger (Greenville, Delaware/Salesianum) improved to 5-2 with the win after tossing two scoreless frames of relief, and senior Tyler Fries (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania/Unionville) worked a scoreless ninth for his 12th save of the season.

Stonehill threatened to take an early lead for the second straight game, loading the bases in the top of the first without recording a hit as Samluk walked two batters and hit another. The senior avoided damage, however, with his third strikeout of the inning as all three Skyhawks were stranded on base.

Senior Armand Rugel struck out five and gave up two earned runs over 7.1 innings tonight.

The Wildcats opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, as Goines drove in a pair with a double down the left field line after Adorno and Swirchak reached on an error and a double, respectively.

Stonehill picked up its first two hits in the second and added two more in the third, but Samluk continued to get outs when it mattered, as all four runners were stranded on base.

The Skyhawks put an end to their offensive struggles in the fourth, coming up with several big hits to take a 3-2 lead. Lee got it started with a single through the left side of the infield, and sophomore Ben Monte (New Haven, Connecticut/Guilford) reached on an error before both runners advanced on a sacrifice by junior Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers). Campbell came up next and tripled into the gap in right center field, plating both Monte and Lee, and Fratus followed with an RBI double to give Stonehill the lead.

Rugel settled into a groove after Wilmington's two-run first, allowing just one hit over the next four innings and retiring the side in order in both the second and fifth.

The Wildcats were unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings, before putting together the game-winning rally in the eighth. Samluk worked a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice, which ended Rugel's outing in favor of Solomon. Swirchak came up next and laced a single up the middle, plating Samluk to tie the score at 3-3. After the next two batters reached to load the bases, junior left-hander Patrick Nicholson (Middleboro, Massachusetts/Middleboro) came on for the Skyhawks to face junior Mike Annone (Wilmington, Delaware/Concord). Annone lifted a pop fly into shallow right field, but it dropped in due to a defensive miscommunication, allowing the go-ahead run to score from third.

Fries allowed a leadoff single to Schneider in the ninth, before a double play and a foul out ended Stonehill's comeback hopes.

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