MANCHESTER, N.H. – The No. 21 University of New Haven baseball team rallied, scoring three fifth inning runs as the Chargers downed the Dominican Chargers 5-2 in their opening round game of the NCAA Division II East Region Championship on Thursday afternoon.
New Haven went up early on a homer by Nick Perrelli (North Branford, Conn./North Branford), but found itself down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth. With a runner on second and two outs, PJ Contreras (Hauppauge, N.Y./Hauppauge) doubled down the leftfield line, scoring Joe Caico (Hopedale, Mass./Worcester (MA)) to knot the game at 2-2. Matt Chamberlain (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) stepped in next and drove his second homer of the season over the rightfield wall to put the Blue and Gold up 4-2. An insurance run in the eighth proved plenty for the pitching staff as Tim Kennedy (Ridge, N.Y./Longwood), Brandon LaManna (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) and Josh Walker (Otisville, N.Y./Minisink Valley) combined to hold the Dominican lineup at bay through the final five innings.
New Haven escaped some trouble in the first when Dominican put runners on first and third with no outs, but Kennedy was able to get a foul pop-out and a double play to keep the No. 7 seed off the board.
Leading off the second, Perrelli took the third pitch he saw over the centerfield wall for his second homer of the season, putting New Haven up 1-0.
Dominican knotted the game up in the third on an RBI single from Arbely Soto. An inning later, another run came in on a wild pitch as the Chargers took a 2-1 lead.
The Blue and Gold came through with the answer in the bottom of the fifth. Caico led off being hit by a pitch and moved to second on a groundout by James Myers (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East). Contreras came up with laced a double down the leftfield line to score the runner and tie the game at 2-2. Chamberlain followed and cracked his second homer of the season over the right-centerfield fence, putting New Haven back on top, 4-2.
The Chargers added an insurance run in the eighth on a bases loaded walk by Andrew Garcia (Medford, N.Y./Patchogue Medford) to score Walraven.
Kennedy ran his record to 7-0 with 6.2 innings, striking out five.
LaManna and Walker finished the final 2.1 innings with Walker picking up his third save of the year.
Chamberlain, Perrelli and Walraven each had two hits in the game.
New Haven advances to the winners’ bracket where they will face the No. 3 seed Saint Thomas Aquinas Spartans on Friday, May 19. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.