The Breakers used a pair of crooked numbers to get a dominant first win of the season on opening day.
Keyed by a three-run first and a five-run fourth, Southampton beat the Whalers 8-3 at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor. Whalers starting pitcher Jason Foley (Sacred Heart) fell apart in the third inning, walking four straight batters before he was pulled and replaced by Brandon Kruel (C.W. Post). Foley finished allowing three hits, seven runs, five walks and struck out five over three innings. His counterpart Tim Ingram (SUNY Old Westbury) was stellar in his first outing, allowing only two runs over five innings while striking out four.
“The difference between Ingram and Foley was control,” said Whalers manager Danny Benedetti, who was impressed by the Breakers’ starter. “He was very composed on the mound. He just threw strikes and that was key for them. His tempo was phenomenal and we had a hard time getting to him because of his control.”
Southampton manager Rob Cafiero was familiar with Ingram before the season and knew the quality of his stuff, which is the main reason why he got the starting nod for opening day.
After Foley departed in the fourth, Kruel allowed a couple of hits that plated four runs, although he was charged with only one earned run. Benedetti keyed in a play where shortstop Hunter Hanks (Lipscomb) couldn’t corral a tough hop as one chance that could’ve kept them in it in that inning. After that fourth, however, Southampton was stymied by a duo of relievers, Steven Barranca (College of Charleston) and Connor Stanley (Georgia State), who allowed only one hit for the rest of the game. Benedetti was very impressed by his bullpen’s ability to stop the bleeding.
Following Ingram’s solid five innings for the Breakers was Luke Scherzer (Virginia Tech), who allowed one run over three innings, and Jake Spezial (Brown), who pitched a scoreless ninth.
Seven Breakers scored on Sunday, as the team benefited from Foley’s five free passes and a pair of errors. Shortstop Ricky Surum (Virginia Tech) led Southampton with two hits and two RBIs in four at-bats. Gary LeClair (Virginia Military Institute), Marquise Gil (Eastern Michigan), Donovan May (Villanova) and Jake O’Rourke (Eckerd) also contributed with an RBI each.
“I was very happy with Surum. He really jump-started the offense for us,” said Cafiero. “He had a couple real good at-bats and was on base four out of five times up. He also added a stolen base and made quality reads on the basepaths.”
Hanks made up for his error by driving in two runs on a single in the fourth and James Clements (Georgia State) added the third run, driving in Joe Gellenbeck (Xavier) in the bottom of the eighth.
“Hunter has average speed, but he is a presence at the plate. He really knows what he’s doing up there,” said Benedetti.
The national anthem pre-game ceremony, which was sung by a local Sag Harbor student chorus, was accompanied by local armed forces members for the presentation of colors.