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NESCAC Tournament Championship
Trinity (CT) 7, Tufts 3

At Williamstown, MA
Sunday, May 10, 2009

Game Box Score

Derek Miller, who won Game 5 of the tournament, pitched two scoreless innings in Game 6

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Sophomore reliever Connor O'Sullivan Pierce pitched out of a bases-loaded jam one half-inning after senior Sean Killeen hit a go ahead grand slam, as Trinity College (29-5) overcame eight errors to defeat Tufts University (19-19) 7-3 Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Bantams claimed their second consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference baseball championship and became the first school to win three titles overall.

After winning two straight elimination games, Tufts came out fired up in the first. First-year 2B Sam Sager (Cranston, RI) led off the game with a double off Trinity sophomore starter Andrew Janiga. Then with one out, sophomore SS David LeResche (St. Louis, MO) reached on an error, and Sager scored on an RBI groundout by junior Nate Bankoff (Lynnfield, MA). Sophomore Chase Rose (Scottsdale, AZ) came up next and scorched an RBI double, and just like that, the Jumbos led 2-0.

Senior ace Mike Stefaniak (Needham, MA) started for the Jumbos and held the NESCAC's leading offense scoreless over the first two frames. Sophomore Derek Miller (Auburn, ME) came on in relief and was just as effective in two innings of work, allowing no runs while striking out one.

Sophomore pitcher Ed Bernstein (Foxborough, MA) took the mound for the Jumbos in the fifth and got into a jam with two outs. With sophomore Robert Martin at first, Bernstein walked junior Matt Sullivan and Killeen to set up a bases-loaded battle with the NESCAC's leading power hitter junior Kent Graham. Graham worked the count full, but with the runners moving Bernstein got him to swing and miss on a fastball for the third out.

After the huge strikeout, the Jumbos would carry the momentum into their half of the sixth. Rose chased Janiga with a leadoff double, and sophomore reliever Connor O'Sullivan Pierce booted a sacrifice bunt attempt by senior 3B Kevin Casey (Milford, MA) to put runners on first and third with no outs. Junior Corey Pontes (Milton, MA) then reached on a fielder's choice that scored the Jumbos third run.

The defending NESCAC champs finally got on the board in the sixth as Bernstein gave up a leadoff double, walk, and RBI single to end his day and make the score 3-1. Sophomore Pat O'Donnell (Worcester, MA) came on in relief and got pinch-hitting sophomore Alexander Rokicki to line into a double play and then struck out junior Jack Abbott to end the threat.

Unfortunately for Tufts, their magical run would succumb to Killeen, who single-handedly brought Trinity all the way back. After a long home run to right centerfield to cut the deficit to one in the seventh, the senior captain came up with the bases loaded and a 3-3 tie in the eighth. Killen pulled a hanging breaking ball from O'Donnell down the right field line and over the fence for a go-ahead grand slam. Tufts freshman Chris DeGotti (Miami, FL) would come on in relief and keep the deficit at four, but the damage was already done.

Tufts loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against Pierce, but he got a strikeout and a line out to finish the game with four scoreless innings and pick up the win.

Killeen finished 4 for 4 with two runs and five RBI. For the Jumbos, Sager finished 2 for 5 with a run, while Rose went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

The Bantams now await the announcement of their next game as they take the NESCAC's automatic bid into the Division 3 NCAA tournament. Trinity will enter NCAA play as the defending national champion.