MANCHESTER — Any momentum the Manchester Central baseball team generated with its 2-0 start has faded by now.
Central has dropped three in a row since winning its first two Division I games. The latest loss came Wednesday, when Keene scored eight runs in the final three innings to post an 8-3 victory at Gill Stadium.
Keene received six strong innings from starting pitcher Stephen Bianco, who also had a pair of triples and drove in four runs. Bianco's second triple came with the bases loaded in the seventh and stretched Keene's lead to 8-2.
"That's the best we've hit the ball this year," Keene coach Dan Moylan said. "We've had quality pitching so far this year, and Bianco has pitched well for us in both outings, so that's encouraging."
Bianco tossed a complete-game shutout when Keene beat Spaulding of Rochester, 2-0, last week.
Central's Dario Vitagliano held Keene to two hits and struck out seven through four innings, but the Blackbirds scored two runs in the fifth, two more in the sixth and four in the seventh. Nick Makris replaced Vitagliano after Bianco's three-run triple with one out in the seventh.
First baseman Alex Parenteau and third baseman Eric Zecha also had two hits for the Blackbirds, who improved their record to 4-1."Dario pitched well for six innings," Central coach Kevin O'Leary said. "That seventh kind of bit him, but he did pitch well. You can't expect these kids to go seven every time. He just got worn down at the end.
"The bright spot? We put runs on the board. We had eight hits and only five strikeouts against a kid who threw pretty well."
Central entered the game having scored one run in its previous 20 innings. The Little Green failed to score through the first five innings Wednesday, but got on the scoreboard when a Collin Duffley triple drove in Mike Plentzas in the sixth. Duffley then made it a 4-2 game when he scored on Vitagliano's infield grounder.
Central scored its other run in the seventh, when a Makris single drove in Andrew Leiter. Plentzas collected three of Central's eight hits.