Fitchburg, Mass. – Sophomore Jordon Pallazola (Rockport, Mass.) delivered the game-winning 3-run home run in the eighth inning to propel the visiting sixth seeded Rams of Framingham State to an 8-5 victory over third seed Fitchburg State University in first round action of the 2017 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Baseball Championship on Thursday afternoon at Riccards Field.
The Rams (18-22) advance to the double-elimination portion of the tournament this weekend, when they travel to Salem State University on Saturday for at 1 p.m. The Falcons finish the 2017 campaign with a 14-20-1 record.
The Rams took a quick 2-0 in the top of the first inning when they capitalized on a pair on Falcon miscues as Andrew Curtis (Dracut, Mass.) scored on a wild pitch before Manny Powers (Malden, Mass.) crossed the plate on a throwing error following an attempted steal.
Fitchburg State cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame. With one out junior Andrew Mooney doubled to right center field then came around to score on an RBI single from classmate Sean Maki to make it a 2-1 score after one inning of play.
The Green and Gold knotted the score (2-2) in the home half of the fourth inning. Back-to-back walks to freshman Joshua Macomber and senior Nathan Littman with two-outs set the table for Mooney who delivered a single through the left side of the infield to plate Macomber.
Framingham State regained a two-run lead (4-2) in the in the fifth inning. Curtis laced a single up the middle past the Falcon's drawn in infield to score classmates Aaron Williams (Brockton, Mass.) and Joe Ambrosino (Bradeton, Fla.).
In the home half of the frame the Falcons battled back again as Mike St. John supplied an RBI sac fly and Littman poked an RBI single to left field to power the Green and Gold to a 4-4 tie.
Defensively, Rams left fielder Williams robbed Brandon Lefebvre of a home run with a running catch over the fence to keep the score even to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. However, junior Drew Mazzeo followed with a double down the right field line, advanced to third on a Macomber single and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly from Littman to give the Falcons their first lead of the game 5-4.
Again the Rams answered in the eighth when Pallazola belted a 3-run home over the 385' sign in straight away centerfield to tilt the scoreboard to a 7-5 advantage. In the ninth the Rams added an insurance run for the 8-5 final.
Fitchburg State was led offensively by Mooney, who went 2-for-4 with a double, one run scored and an RBI, while Littman finished 1-for-3 with two runs batted in.
For Framingham State, Curtis hit 2-for-4, including two runs scored and two RBI, while Pallazola added a 1-for-3 effort with a homerun, one run scored and three RBI.
On the mound, Smith took the loss for the Falcons, allowing seven run (five earned) on five hits with six strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work, while sophomore Kevin Connelly (Bolton, Mass.) collected the win for the Rams, giving up five runs on 12 hits and eight K's in seven innings pitched.
Release courtesy of Fitchburg State Sports Information