Bertone's 11th inning blast leads Diamond Hawks past Towson 4-3

Bertone's 11th inning blast leads Diamond Hawks past Towson 4-3

UNCW Press Release

TOWSON, Maryland – Joe Bertone's leadoff homer in the top of the 11th gave UNCW the lead as the Seahawks held off Towson, who loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, for a 4-3 win on Saturday at Scheurholz Park.

The Seahawks picked up their second Colonial Athletic Association series win of the season as they stayed perfect in the league with a 5-0 mark and improved to 18-6 overall. Towson, meanwhile, dropped to 3-20 on the season and 0-5 in the CAA.

Leading the Seahawks at the plate was Zach Shields with three hits and a run batted in. His infield single in the seventh gave UNCW a 3-2 lead. Terence Connelly added two hits, including his fifth double of the season.

Reliever Jared Gesell (1-0) picked up the win while Will Shepley recorded the final out of the game with the bases loaded for his first save of the season.

Towson reliever Nick Cioffi (0-1) was the hard-luck loser, allowing just two hits, including Bertone's fourth home run of the season. Cioffi struck out five in 4.1 innings out of the pen.

TU's Chris Henze collected three hits while Peter Bowles and Colin Dyer added two hits apiece.

Neither starter figured in the final decision. UNCW's Ryan Foster went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs, one earned on five hits and he struck out two. TU starter Kevin Ross also went 6.2 innings, allowed seven hits and three runs. He struck out three and walked three.

Up next: The Seahawks look to finish a sweep of the Tigers when the series concludes on Sunday with a 1 p.m. start from Schuerholz Park.

How it happened: Bertone was hitless with two walks to his credit when he came to bat, leading off the seventh inning. Cioffi fell behind in the count, 1-0, and Bertone jumped on his next offering and sent over the wall in left center for the go-ahead run.

Towson loaded the bases in the bottom of the 11th, but Shepley was able to retire Henze and close out the game with a fly ball out to right field.

Inside the box score: Towson landed its leadoff hitter on base safely in 7-of-11 innings, but went 2-for-14 with two outs and 2-for-16 with RISP … Shields had the lone two-out RBI for either team … Foster limited the Tigers to 1-for-13 hitting with runners on base while inducing 13 ground ball outs … Foster and Ross combined for 25 ground ball outs on the afternoon.

Notes: The Seahawks rallied for the fifth time in as many games this conference season … UNCW broke a streak of nine games in which the opponent scored first … The Seahawks played their second extra inning game of the season and improved to 2-0 with the win … UNCW's six errors were a season-high … Andy Austin's 18 putouts at first base were one short of tying the school record of 19 set by Matt Wright in 2001 and equaled by Drew Farber in 2012 … UNCW leads the all-time series 36-16 and 11-9 at Schuerholz Park.