AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Rhode Island College freshman pinch hitter Stephen Andrews jacked a 3-run, pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Anchormen a 4-2 walk-off win over Westfield State in the Owls' Florida opener at Lake Myrtle Park on Saturday morning.
The late blast spoiled a strong outing from Westfield State senior John Gegetskas, who worked seven strong innings, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out 12.
Scott Strachan worked a scoreless eighth for the Owls, but sophomore Troy Saulnier was unable to shut the door in the ninth, and he hit the first two batters of the inning to set the stage for Andrews heroics, on a towering fly ball to right.
Westfield scratched for single runs in the first and seventh innings. In the first, Anthony Crowley's chopper to the pitcher was just enough to score Nate Martin from third, then in the sixth, Crowley lofted a fly ball to left that was deep enough to score Tyler Beach from third.
RIC managed just single run off Gegetskas in the fourth inning, as Nate Vigeant tripled to left as the Owls' Crowley hung a cleat while running and was unable to get to the ball down the left field line, and Ray Zincone followed a few hitters later with a two-out flare single to center field.
URI transfer reliever Jake Rockefeller picked up the win in relief, working 3.1 innings of scoreless relief and fanning six. He and Anchormen starter Mike Webb combined to strike out 15 Westfield State hitters.
Martin finished with three hits for the Owls, while Vigeant rapped a pair for RIC.
Westfield drops to 1-1 on the season, while RIC is now 1-0. The Owls will be back in action tomorrow morning with a 9:45 a.m. game against Lesley (Mass.) College at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, the former spring training home of the Houston Astros.