Nashua Silver




Bullpen Delivers, Nashua Tops Vermont in Offensive Battle

Photo: Kailey Lane/Nashua Silver Knights

Coming off their first win against Vermont in 2022, the Silver Knights entered July on a three-game winning streak with a chance to do something no other team has done this season: beat the first place Lake Monsters in back-to-back games.

To accomplish this and move their win streak to four, Salem State’s Brock Pare would have to perform well in hopes of getting his first win of the year. Opposing Pare, Brown’s Tobey McDonough got the nod for Vermont as the senior from Naples, FL tried to aid the Lake Monsters to their league leading 25th win. In an offensive war, Nashua pulled out a gusty win to sweep Vermont in the two-game road trip 8-7.

In similar fashion to Thursday’s ballgame, the Lake Monsters once again struck first. Brown’s Ryan Marra helped his teammate by giving McDonough a lead to work with. After Vermont walked their way aboard and stole second ahead of Marra’s at bat, Marra would single to right field to bring the runner around. After one, Vermont had an early 1-0 lead.

Vermont wasn’t done after the first, adding two more runs in the second. Pare had some struggles early, walking two Vermont batters with only one out. After the runners moved up on a passed ball, a groundout by Princeton’s Jordan Kelly was still enough to bring another run home. After the RBI groundout, Kansas’s Cooper Kelly doubled to bring in the second Vermont runner. With the “Kelly Connection” in full effect with RBIs from Jordan and Cooper, Vermont now had a 3-0 advantage after two.

Coastal Carolina’s Liam Doyle came in after Pare’s two inning outing. Even with Doyle’s impressive first couple appearances, it was going to take a lot to silence this Vermont lineup. Wake Forest’s Tommy Hawke led off the inning with a double, with another Vermont runner in scoring position threatening to make it 4-0. Back-to-back groundouts moved Hawke to third and eventually to home, stretching the Vermont lead to four after three innings. If Nashua wanted to keep this win streak alive, they would need to respond quickly.

Four scoreless frames by the Knights lineup gave Vermont the potential to cruise to a victory with their early four run lead. But in the fifth inning, it all started to click. With one out in the inning, UMass’s Will MacLean ignited the Nashua offense with a triple. After a tough stretch for the Exeter native, MacLean is slowly starting to come back alive with a .280 AVG in his last three games. Following Will, Northeastern’s Greg Bozzo singled to left to bring home Nashua’s first run of the day.

Colby’s Pat McConnell moved Bozzo up to second with a single of his own, setting up runners on first and second with still only one out. A quick second out for the Knights put the pressure on Niagara's Brady Desjardins to deliver. Just like an ATM Machine, Nashua kept delivering singles with Desjardins’s hit to keep the inning alive. An error by the Lake Monster’s left fielder moved the runners up once more with Bozzo scoring from third. Now with runners on second and third, Nashua’s hottest hitter in Boston College’s Kyle Wolff was now due up.

Wolff didn’t sleep off his hot bat, carrying his clutch hitting into Friday with a two RBI double to score Desjardins and McConnell. Wolff would end up getting out on the base paths, but not before delivering the tying blow. After the top of the fifth, Nashua was back in it with the score all square at four.

After Nashua finally responded to Vermont’s offensive onslaught, the Lake Monsters didn’t let up. A single and a walk once again set up another prime opportunity for Vermont, with the runners once again moving up. A fielder's choice from Pepperdine’s Cam Conley got the Monsters the lead back 5-4. Wake Forest’s Gio Cueto ended up scoring Conley on an RBI double, notching his second double of the ballgame. Jordan Kelly would put the cherry on top for Vermont’s fifth inning production with an RBI single to score Cueto and earn his second RBI of the game. After five, Vermont was back out to a solid lead at 7-4.

Similar to Vermont’s big start to the game, the Silver Knight offense did not slow down after their fifth inning outburst. Getting right to business, Eastern Nazarene’s Shane McNamara walked aboard to lead off the sixth. Siena’s Richie Paltridge joined the hit party with a double following McNamara, setting up second and third with no outs for the Knights. With a big chance to make up some runs, St. Thomas Aquinas Andrew “Clutch God” Jemison lived up to his (intern given) nickname with a RBI single to left field. Nashua was now down 7-5.

Following his triple earlier in the ballgame, MacLean delivered a productive at bat, bringing home Paltridge on a 4-3 groundout. Another out following Will put the Knights at two outs for the inning, but that wouldn’t stop Pat McConnell from contributing to the scoreboard. McConnell, who already had one hit in the ballgame, tallied his second with a double to bring home Jemison. Securing his seventh RBI of the season, the Knights and Lake Monsters were now tied at seven.

Northeastern’s Carmelo Musacchia came up to the plate, looking to try and drive McConnell in for the potential go ahead run. Musacchia, keeping up his .350 AVG on the season, grounded out to third but was able to beat it out for a single. After a huge error by the Vermont third baseman, McConnell advanced to third and came home to give Nashua the 8-7 lead. With six innings in the books, the Silver Knights now had their first lead of the night.

In a game that has not been pretty for Nashua’s pitching staff, all eyes were now on them to see if they could protect the one run lead. Plymouth State’s Noah Wachter, coming off closing out a W against Westfield, filled a needed gap in the middle innings with three strikeouts in one and ⅓ innings pitched. Wake Forest’s Will Andrews delivered as well, giving up no hits in two and ⅓ innings.

In the bottom of the ninth, Will Andrews looked to get the final three outs to complete his three-inning masterpiece. Unfortunately for Nashua, things didn't go as planned. After one quick out, a hit by pitch put the tying run aboard. After the beanball by Andrews, a questionable balk call by the umpire awarded another Vermont runner first base. With just one out, the Lake Monsters were threatening with first and second.

With Andrew’s no-hit performance coming to an unlucky end, the Knights now looked to SNHU’s George Welch to get Nashua out of the ninth and secure the W. In a high leverage spot, Welch delivered with two huge strikeouts to cap off the massive comeback win. Taking their fourth in a row, the Knights stunned the Lake Monsters 8-7.

An all-around great performance by the Silver Knights boosted their way to their second win against Vermont. Nashua’s lineup one through nine was contributing with the bullpen coming up huge in the back end of the ballgame.

Following their road trip sweep, Nashua will head home to take on the Pittsfield Suns at 1:00 PM Saturday. NESN will be broadcasting live from Historic Holman Stadium, with the Knights looking for their fifth straight victory.