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Starfires strike out Rox

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BROCKTON, Massachusetts (July 8, 2022) – Westfield State University’s Ryan Donahue fanned a franchise record-tying 13 Brockton Rox batters as the Westfield Starfires cruised to an 8-0 Futures Collegiate Baseball League win at Campanelli Stadium on Friday, July 8.

The victory moves the Starfires to 19-18 on the season and back into a three-way tie for second place in the FCBL.

Luca Giallongo was hit by the game’s first pitch, and moved to third on a Jackson Hornung single. Brendan Jones followed with a flare to center field that was just out of the reach of the sliding Manny Ramirez Jr., bringing Giallongo in. Patrick D’Amico walked to load the bases, and Chad Lavelle worked an eight-pitch plate appearance to another walk, forcing Hornung home to give the Starfires a 2-0 lead before the Rox could even pick up their bats.

Westfield doubled its lead in the second. Giallongo was plunked a second time, and swiped second, taking third when the throw sailed past the infield. Hornung walked to put men at the corners, and Jones singled to left to bring in Giallongo a second time. D’Amico then sacrificed to allow Hornung to score, pushing the Westfield lead to 4-0.

On the other side, Donahue dominated. He worked around a one-out first-inning double to get three strikeouts early, then fanned two each in the second, third, and fourth.

In the fifth, Westfield’s offense came alive again. Chad Lavelle walked, and his brother Ryan Lavelle was hit by a pitch to put two on with no one out. Both came in as Nolan Florence boomed a double to left, and Florence subsequently scored on a Nicholas Alonso single. Alonso moved up two bases on passed balls before Giallongo – who had previously been hit by a pitch a third time – singled to drive him in and put the Starfires up 8-0.

Donahue kept rolling. He picked up two strikeouts in the fifth and six, and kept the scoreboard clean by inducing a grounder back to the mouth with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, and by fanning Ramirez Jr. to leave second and third, ending the sixth with his 13th strikeout of the night.

Donahue was relieved by Sam Craven, who went two full, allowing just a hit and a walk while fanning two. John DeGirolamo finished the night, working around a leadoff walk in the ninth and striking out the last two batters of the game.

“I thought we played great. We took the lead early and I was lucky enough to hold it for them,” said Donahue of the overall effort. Of his own record-tying night, he praised his Westfield State batterymate Florence, saying “I have to give a lot of props to Nolan Florence. He was creative with his pitch calls and he gave me the confidence to throw every pitch.”

His 13 strikeouts tied the mark set by Westfield native and American International College pitcher Mason St. Pierre in the franchise’s inaugural season; St. Pierre struck out 13 Rox on July 12, 2019. The 17 combined for Donahue, Craven, and DeGirolamo also tied a franchise high-water mark; five Starfires combined for 17 strikeouts against the Vermont Lake Monsters on June 5, 2021.

Westfield heads to Vermont for a weekend set with the Lake Monsters. Saturday, July 9 will be a 6:05 p.m. first pitch at Centennial Field in Burlington, while Sunday, July 10 will feature a 5:05 p.m. start time.

For the latest on the team, be sure to follow the Starfires on Twitter and Instagram @starfiresbb, and visit us on the web at westfieldstarfires.com.



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