NEWPORT, R.I. —Thanks to a thrilling comeback victory, the Upper Valley Nighthawks erased an early five-run deficit to defeat the Newport Gulls – 6-5 — and earn a split in Monday's doubleheader at Cardines Field in Newport.
With the split of the doubleheader and the season series, Upper Valley moves to 10-10, and currently sits in 3rd place in the NECBL Northern Division. Meanwhile, Newport is 11-10 and sits in 5th place in the Southern Division.
Newport 4, Upper Valley 2 (F/7)
With the Nighthawks acting as the home team in Game 1, Upper Valley starter Levi Thomas (Troy University) cruised steadily through the first four innings, managing to escape several jams and forcing Newport to leave five runners stranded on the base paths.
The Gulls managed to get through Thomas in the top of the 5th inning however, as a Tim Tawa sacrifice fly and an RBI-double from Stevie Mangrum put a pair of runs on the board, giving Newport a 2-0 lead.
Alvin Melendez (Fordham University) countered for the Nighthawks in the bottom half of the inning, driving in Anthony Meduri (Binghamton University) on a sac-fly to cut the Gulls’ lead in half.
Newport’s Zach Hogueisson hit a solo homer in the top of the 6th, but Matt Tarabek (Fordham University) quickly answered in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI-single to score Anthony Quirion (Lamar University).
With the Nighthawks trailing 3-2 heading to the final frame, Newport was able to tack on the insurance run they needed to secure the victory in the first contest.
Thomas (L, 0-1) tossed 5.1 innings, surrendered three runs on eight hits, walked three, and fanned six. Reliever Ryan Parker (University of West Georgia) pitched the final 1.2 innings, gave up one run on a lone hit, and walked two Gulls. The win was credited to Newport starter Tyler Mattison (1-0), and the save was given to Nic Enright (1 SV).
Upper Valley 6, Newport 5 (F/7)
The Gulls attacked early, plating three runs in the first frame on a Zach Britton RBI-single and a Kody Hoese two-run blast.
Upper Valley’s Davis Mikell (Castleton University) reduced Newport’s lead two one run in the top of the 2nd inning with a two-run homerun of his own.
In the home-half of 2nd, Mangrum struck again for the Gulls, hammering an RBI double to centerfield. A second run came around to score on the play, as Newport took advantage Nighthawks defensive miscue.
Trailing 5-2 in the 4th inning, the Nighthawks chipped away and did not look back. Meduri doubled late in the inning, which brought the Nighthawks to within a run, but was put out trying to advance to 3rd place.
One inning later, Melendez and Quirion pieced together the offense to scrape two more runs across for the Nighthawks, as Upper Valley went on to capture the Game 2 victory.
Chris Berry (University of North Florida) was a key offensive contributor for Upper Valley, as the Brookhaven, Ga. native went 3-for-4 with a double in Game 2.
Nighthawks starter Danny Wirchansky (Pace University) ran into trouble in his first start, giving up three runs on four hits in an inning of work. Ty Adcock (Elon University) relieved him, and gave up two runs on one hit and recorded two strikeouts in the second inning. Jordan Allard (Southern New Hampshire University) was next for Upper Valley out of the bullpen. Jack Ipsen (Bryant University) (W, 1-1) pitched just 0.2 inning and struck out one batter. The save was given to AJ Franklin (Vanderbilt University) (1 SV), who struck out six Newport hitters in three hitless innings on the bump.
Upper Valley will return to action at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, as the team travels to Montpelier, Vt. for Game 2 of the Governor’s Cup series with the in-state rival Mountaineers .
The Nighthawks return home on Thursday, playing host to the Keene Swamp Bats at 6:30 PM. Thursday is Beach Night at the ballpark, where Maxfield Sports Complex will transform into a beach party. Expect everything except the ocean itself. Those attending in a Hawaiian shirt will get free admission! If you can’t make it to the ballpark, Dan Stein will have all of the action covered on the NECBL Broadcast Network starting at 6:15 PM.