Navs split doubleheader, win their first game of the season

BRISTOL, Conn. — The North Shore Navigators split a pair of one-run games in Sunday’s Futures Collegiate Baseball League doubleheader with the Bristol Blues, coming out on the positive end of a 3-2 decision for their first win of the season before suffering a 1-0 loss in the nightcap at Muzzy Field.

With the doubleheader split, North Shore falls to 1-4 on the season, while Bristol is 4-1.

The Navs are scheduled to return home to Fraser Field for a Monday contest with the Brockton Rox. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.

Navigators 3

Bristol 2

The Navs scored two runs in the top of the seventh and final inning of the opener, winning the game on an obstruction call with designated hitter JP Knight (Tufts) running between third and home. They held the lead as Lynnfield’s Justin Foley (Bates) tossed a 1-2-3 inning that included a game-saving catch by Jeff Mejia (UMass Lowell) in left field.

First baseman Corey DiLoreto (Northeastern) opened the seventh with a towering triple to center field and scored the game-tying run on Knight’s single up the middle. Second baseman Joey Murphy (Saint Joseph’s of Maine) grounded an infield single to third base in the next at-bat, and Knight was awarded home on the obstruction call after keeping himself in a lengthy rundown.

Foley recorded 11 outs in just nine batters to earn the victory in his first appearance of the summer, with Mejia’s catch at the wall to rob Blues left fielder Giacomo Brancato (Fairfield) of at least extra bases punctuating the clean final frame. Navs starter Ethan Dyer (Holy Cross) allowed just one run and scattered four hits and three walks over the first 3.1 innings.

DiLoreto led North Shore’s six-hit attack with his second consecutive two-hit performance, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The Reading native got the Navs on the board first as he led off the second inning with a single and eventually scored on Blues starter Nick Rascati’s (Eastern Connecticut State) wild pitch.

Right fielder Peyton Stephens (Central Connecticut State) drove home both Bristol runs with singles in the fourth and sixth innings. He went 3-for-3 to account for half of Bristol’s offense, while center fielder Conor Nolan (Princeton) went 2-for-3 and scored a run.

Bristol 1

Navigators 0

Stephens continued his impressive day with a 2-for-3 nightcap for the Blues, hitting a leadoff triple to center field in the seventh inning before scoring on shortstop Ian Ostberg’s (Quinnipiac) walk-off single over Murphy’s head. The teams logged just nine combined hits in the game.

The Navs received a strong pitching performance from Plymouth State’s Dylan Gaita in the setback. The Melrose native pitched all 6 1/3  innings on 89 pitches, allowing just a single run on five hits and three walks. His six strikeouts were the most by a North Shore starting pitcher this summer.

After Stephens’ three-bagger to start the seventh, North Shore elected to intentionally walk two Bristol batters and induced a grounder to shortstop for the first out of the inning. Ostberg’s line single ended North Shore’s first 1-0 loss in its FCBL history.

Bristol starter Jared Kollar (Seton Hill) retired the first 11 batters he faced before Navs catcher Harrison Engstrom and Murphy logged singles in the fifth inning to break up the no-hitter. North Shore also left two runners aboard in its half of the seventh as Engstrom walked and third baseman Elias Varinos (Tufts) singled with two outs.

Kollar did not factor into the decision despite striking out seven Navs over five innings of two-hit, scoreless ball. Casey Elbin (WVU Tech) pitched the final two frames to earn the win.

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