Bridgeport, Conn.-Pitching ruled the day on Saturday afternoon, as the University of Bridgeport picked up an East Coast Conference home sweep over the visiting Mercy College Mavericks in Seaside Park, as UB took game one, 1-0, and completed the sweep with a 5-3 victory in game two. Bridgeport is now 5-4 both overall and in conference play so far in 2021, and Mercy falls to 7-6 overall and 4-2 in the ECC.
Saturday's two wins also move head coach Joe Tonelli to the top of the University of Bridgeport all-time wins list as he has now amassed 156 total victories surpassing the previous high of 154 posted by John Anquillare from 2004-2012. Joe now has a total of 345 career wins, as he also had 189 during his tenure on the Albertus Magnus College bench.
In the opener, senior Andrew Francella (New Rochelle, N.Y.) pitched the best game of his Bridgeport career blanking the Mavericks over nine innings, in which he allowed only four hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Andrew fired a total of 117 pitches to notch his first career complete game shutout.
The Purple Knights scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when senior Conall Roberts (Mt. Laurel, N.J.), who went 3-for-4 at the plate in the opener, touched home following a wild pitch from hard-luck loser Ryan Rozinski.
Taking his cue from Francella, freshman Jason Giambra (Milford, Conn.) earned his first collegiate win in the nightcap working six strong innings in which he allowed four hits, two runs (both earned) with 6 K's and two bases on balls.
Junior Justin Hafele (Shelton, Conn.) worked the seventh inning in relief to pick up his second save of 2021.
Trailing 1-0 after the top of the first, the Purple Knights stormed right back off starter and loser A.J. DeRosa in game two scoring four runs in the first on a wild pitch, a two-RBI single from junior Craig Leonard (Holtsville, N.Y.) and a run-scoring base hit from senior Stephen Giambra (Milford, Conn.).
UB would tack on one more run in the second inning on an RBI-single by graduate student Andre Marchesseault (Cheshire, Conn.).
Leonard and sophomore Jacob Rich (Northwood, N.H.) led the Purple Knights' offense in game two, as they each banged out two hits.
Up next, the UB baseball team will open a three-game conference series against the St. Thomas Aquinas College Spartans, next Friday, April 16, when Purple Knights travel to Sparkill, N.Y. for a 3:30 p.m. single game. The same two teams will meet in Bridgeport for a 12 noon doubleheader on Saturday, April 17.