(West Palm Beach, FL) – The Sacred Heart Pioneer baseball team rode a five-run third inning to a 6-3 win on Opening Night Friday against Northeastern University at the Palm Beach Challenge. John Murphy (Seymour, CT) led the Pioneers' 13-hit attack, going 3-5 with two RBI and a run. Rob Griffith (Lake Ronkonkoma, NY) and Hunter Phillips (Monroe, CT) both contributed two hits as well.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Murphy followed a game-tying sacrifice fly by MJ Schifano (Monroe, NY) with a two-run double to right field to make it 3-1 SHU. Griffith then delivered Murphy home with a single to shortstop. The Pioneer's fifth run came home when Derick Horn (lined his first collegiate hit into left field, which turned into a two-base error and allowed Griffith to race home from first.
"It was a great way to start the season," said head coach Nick Giaquinto. "The guys came out and played hard for nine innings."
The Pioneers manufactured an insurance run in the seventh with Chris Whittemore (Lavelette, NJ) singling to lead off the inning, followed by bunt singles by Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) and Schifano. Whittemore came home on a double play by Murphy. That run gave SHU some wiggle room in the eighth, when Northeastern scored twice on Jon Leroux's RBI double and Jeff Dunlap's RBI single. With the tying run at the plate, Mike Korevec (Greenwich, CT) came on in relief and stranded two in scoring position to end the threat. He pitched a perfect ninth to close the game.
That held up the win for Troy Scribner (Washington Depot, CT), who scattered eight hits over six innings while striking out six and not issuing a walk.
"He was a little shaky in the first, then he settled in pretty well," said Giaquinto. "He didn't really get hit until the sixth, so he was solid. He pitched very well throughout the game. He was Scrib. Since day one, he's been consistent."
The Pioneers play a double header Saturday afternoon, taking on the University of Rhode Island at 1:00 p.m., followed by St. Bonaventure at 4:30 p.m. to close out the weekend long Palm Beach Challenge.