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Baseball rallies late to knock off No. 8-ranked Northern Essex

Baseball rallies late to knock off No. 8-ranked Northern Essex

Warwick, RI – Freshman shortstop Avery Acuna (Providence, RI) delivered a bases-loaded tie-breaking single in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday as the Community College of Rhode Island baseball team beat No. 8 nationally-ranked Northern Essex 5-3 at Whitey Fell Field.

Both teams entered yesterday’s game with matching 9-0 records in Region XXI play; the red-hot CCRI Knights are now 10-0 in the conference, 14-9 overall, and have won five in a row in addition to 13 of their last 14. Northern Essex – also nicknamed the Knights – hosts CCRI for a doubleheader Saturday at Trinity Stadium in Haverhill, MA, beginning at 2 pm.

Yesterday’s win by CCRI adds a new chapter to its budding rivalry with Northern Essex. In 2022, Northern Essex finished a staggering 42-4 – at one point winning 33 consecutive games – and qualified for the NJCAA Division III World Series before losing to overall No. 1 seed Caldwell Tech. CCRI finished 10-21 during last year’s rebuild, but won a critical consolation bracket doubleheader in the Region XXI Tournament to advance to the championship, where it ultimately lost to Northern Essex.

On Thursday, CCRI raced out to a 3-0 lead with three runs in the bottom of the third off starter Jairo Vazquez courtesy of run-scoring singles by freshman catcher Sean Gallagher (Warwick, RI) and sophomore centerfielder Dylan Barlow (Warwick, RI). Northern Essex battled back with a run in the fourth and two more in the sixth off freshman starter Nate Kelly (Lincoln, RI), who ended the game with six strikeouts over seven innings.

Acuna, who entered yesterday with 17 RBI in just 22 games, delivered again with a two-run bases-loaded single off reliever Riley Stys. CCRI’s bullpen did its job with sophomore Garrett Bolwell (Gloucester, RI) earning the win after pitching a scores eighth and sophomore co-captain Marcus Botelho (Portsmouth, RI) notching his third save of the season. Sophomore Caleb Harris (Cranston, RI) and freshman Noah Cook (Cranston, RI) each had two hits for CCRI.

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