Hartford, Conn. - A five-run eighth inning, highlighted by a two-run blast by junior 2B Cooper Mooney (Southbury, Conn.), led the Trinity College baseball team to a 9-2 victory over the Dean College Bulldogs on Wednesday evening at Murren Family Field at DiBenedetto Stadium on Trinity's campus in Hartford. The win improves the Bantams to 9-8 overall while Dean falls to 4-11 with the loss. Trinity returns to action this weekend with a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) East series at home against the Colby College Mules.
Mooney, senior 3B Nick DiBenedetto (Fort Myers, Fla.) and junior co-captain CF Brendan Pierce (Hingham, Mass.) each drove home a pair of runs on the day. Pierce crossed the plate three times while DiBenedetto and Junior LF Christian Orsini (Livingston, N.J.) led the Bantams with two hits apiece. First-year Alex Herbst (Clarendon Hills, Ill.) picked up the win on the bump for Trinity, tossing 2.1 innings of one-hit, scoreless ball in relief, but it was senior co-captain southpaw Chris Speer (Westport, Conn.) who shined on the hill. Speer came in for the final five outs of the game, of which he struck out four. Dean starting pitcher Victor Paiva Jr. (Seekonk, Mass.) gave the Bulldogs seven innings of work, yielding just four runs through the first six innings before getting into trouble in the eighth. Bulldog sophomore Daniel Blazejewski (Stewartsville, N.J.) led Dean offensively with a triple, a run and a walk.
Trinity struck first in the home half of the third when junior RF Ryan Vultaggio (Vero Beach, Fla.) scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of freshman DH Matt Koperniak (Adams, Mass.). Dean answered, however, with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth when Blazejewski was plated on a Conor Callery (Lowell, Mass.) sacrifice fly, followed by an RBI single by Chris Wood (Berkley, Mass.).
The Bantams responded with a pair of unearned runs in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead before Orsini smoked a double down the left field line in the sixth to score Pierce. In the eighth, a two-run Dean error put Trinity ahead 6-2 before DiBenedetto smoked a double to score Pierce. Mooney followed with a homerun, deep over the right field fence, onto Broad Street, to extend Trinity's lead to seven and ice the game. Speer retired the side in the ninth, highlighted by a pair of strikeouts, as the Bantams came away with the 9-2 victory.