HUDSON, Mass. -- Zack Tower is not someone you want to make angry.
In the fourth inning of Wednesday night's contest against Hudson, the Auburn senior was struck by a Kyle Sullivan pitch to the head area. Tower was not happy about it but wisely accepted it and trotted down to first.
One inning later, Tower faced Sullivan again and allowed his frustrations from the previous inning be taken out in the batters box as he belted a long two-run home run to left field helping the Rockets bury the Hawks 10-1 at Riverside Park.
"This was a huge win for us," said Tower, who went 3-for-3 at the plate and 3 RBI. "Everyone worked hard and played well tonight and the result is a big win."
Auburn improves to 15-4 and will wrap up its regular season with a game against Tantasqua Regional on Friday. Hudson drops to 14-5. The chances of these two clubs meeting again in the Central Mass. Division 2 tournament remains a distinct possibility.
"Auburn executed when they needed to and we came up short in that area," Hawks coach Tim Reinhardt said. "We had opportunities to move guys over and we didn't do that so we know what we need to work on. We'll learn from this and work hard to improve on somethings before the playoffs start."
The Rockets grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second after loading the bases with one out. Zach Clifford grounded a ball to shortstop. The Hawks got the out at second but the throw to first bounced in the dirt allowing Drew Goodrich and Tower, who both singled, to score.
Rockets right-hander Mike Vaitkunas had kept the Hudson's bats silent over the first three frames. In the top of the fourth, Auburn struck for three more runs. After Tower was struck by a pitch, John Kewley reached on an infield single and Tyler Lamonda followed with a line single to center scoring Tower. Clifford laid down a suicide squeeze to plate Kewley and Lamonda sprinted home on a Jason Vrusho SAC fly.
The Hawks got one back in the bottom of the inning on a Connor Bacon run-scoring double. But the night belonged to the Rockets. Tower, who will play at UMass-Lowell next season, ripped an inside fastball off the scoreboard beyond the left field fence, scoring Goodrich in front of him to make it 7-1.
With Austin Bruneau in for Sullivan, Auburn crossed the plate three more times in the seventh on RBIs from Tower, Kewley and pinch-hitter Ryan Kozlowski making it a nine run advantage.
"I'm pleased that we are playing playoff-caliber ball right now in terms of our execution," said Rockets coach Eric Swedberg, whose team finished with 8 hits. "Our defense is solid as is our pitching."
Hawks raise money for Marathon victims: The Hudson baseball team helped raised over $3,000 for the Victim Relief Fund of the One Fund Boston which is assisting families of victims killed or seriously injured during the Boston Marathon tragedy on April 15th.
The team sold T-shirts with 'Hudson Baseball' printed on the front and "Boston Strong' on the back within the high school and the community.
"The seniors set a goal for doing some kind of community service action," said Reinhardt. "When the Marathon bombings happened it hits very close to home. We sat down with the seniors and decided to do something. The kids did a great job soliciting sales in the school and in the community. Avidia Bank agreed to match $500 and Corporate Casuals, who made the shirts, gave $100. It's been a real nice outpouring of support. It means a lot for a small town and a bunch of guys who got together to see this through."