Sophomore Zach Soulier from Milford struck out a game-high five batters over six-and-one-thirds innings pitched and freshman reliever Jim Duff did not surrender a hit in two-and-two-thirds innings to lead Stonehill College, ranked fourth overall in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) East Regional Poll, to a 2-0 shutout over Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) inter-divisional action on Thursday evening at Lou Gorman Field.
Soulier, a Jonathan Law graduate, yielded just five hits and issued one walk to earn his third victory of the season (3-0).
Duff, who faced the minimum in his outing, notched his first-career collegiate save on two strikeouts, five groundouts, one fly out and zero walks.
After Soulier erased a first and second situation with one out in the top of the first on two swinging strikeouts, Stonehill claimed a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the frame as senior first baseman Michael White plated junior centerfielder James DeAlto from third base on a double play ball.
Soulier held Assumption out of scoring position over the next two innings and retired nine-straight batters from the fourth inning to the sixth inning.
The Greyhounds threatened in the seventh inning loading the bases with one out.
Junior shortstop Shane Keddy led off the frame with a single but was forced out at second base on a fielder’s choice off the bat of senior third baseman Travis Smith.
Freshman right fielder Billy Johnson reached on a fielding error and junior first baseman Joe Lopes lined a single to left field to setting up a potential Assumption rally.
The Skyhawks went to the bullpen and Duff delivered with a strikeout against junior designated hitter Nick Napoli and a groundout from freshman left fielder Zachary Bombard to keep the score at 1-0.
Stonehill pushed across an insurance run in the eighth inning as DeAlto tripled to the right centerfield gap to start the frame and junior shortstop Michael Zeiner from Simsbury lifted an opposite field sacrifice fly to left for his 14th run batted in on the season and a 2-0 advantage.
Duff made quick work of the Greyhounds in the ninth retiring the side in order on a fly out to centerfield and two groundouts.
Zeiner led Stonehill offensively at the plate going 3-for-3 with one RBI, while DeAlto was 2-for-4 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot.
White, sophomore second baseman Dan Fratus and senior designated hitter Michael Magnussen all collected a hit to round out the offense.
Stonehill (15-9, 3-3 NE-10, 0-1 Northeast Division) hosts Saint Michael’s on Saturday for a NE-10 doubleheader with game one scheduled for noon.
Assumption (6-9, 0-4 NE-10, 0-1 Southwest Division) travels to Southern Connecticut State University for a doubleheader starting at noon.