NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College baseball team moved a half game away from first place in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) standings following an important sweep over Babson College, which entered the twinbill in first place, on Saturday at Sidell Stadium. The Lyons collected 8-1 and 5-1 triumphs to move into a second-place tie with the Beavers.
Wheaton, which began today's action receiving votes in the most recent D3baseball.com national poll, extended its winning streak to five games while emerging victorious for the ninth time in 10 games to improve to 13-5 overall and 7-4 in league play. Babson slipped to 15-6 and 7-4.
Steady offense and solid pitching helped the Lyons win the opener, as senior Hadi Raad (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y./Hastings), junior Dan Haugh (Andover, Mass./Saint John's Prep), sophomore Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) and freshman Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) each went 2-for-3 and combined were responsible for plating seven of the eight runs.
Bisceglia drove in five following a three-run homer in the fifth, his first collegiate long ball, while bringing in two with a single in the third. Haugh plated two runs while scoring a pair, and junior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H./Salem) had a run and an RBI. Sophomore Frank Holbrook (Middleton, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey School) earned the win in game one, allowing no walks and only one earned run on nine hits while striking out two in his first complete-game effort. He improved to 3-0.
Bisceglia's three-run shot over the right field fence in the fifth frame gave Wheaton some breathing room in what was a tight contest up until that point. His two-run single in the third gave the Lyons a 3-0 edge before Babson pushed one across in the top of the fourth. Haugh continued having a hot bat, driving in two runs on a sacrifice fly in the first and a single in the sixth.
Babson senior Andrew Aizenstadt (Norwell, Mass./Norwell), who came into the day with a 3-0 record and a 0.90 earned run average, surrendered six earned runs and six hits while fanning two and walking three over five innings. Freshman Chris Warren (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) picked up the lone RBI for his team.
In game two, freshman pitcher Alec Palioca (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip Regional) picked up his first win of the season, giving up only one run and four hits in seven-plus innings. Senior Dave Ahern (Bedford, Mass./Bedford) was saddled with the loss after yielding three earned runs on seven hits. At the plate, he was 2-for-2 with two walks as the designated hitter.
Landers turned in an impressive showing at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a career-best three doubles and one run, including putting the game away with a two-run, two-bagger in the bottom of the eighth. Jensen and sophomore Dan Gusovsky (Andover, Mass./Andover) also tacked on one RBI each, with Gusovsky going 2-for-3. Senior Eric Laliberte (Nashua, N.H./Bishop Guertin) scored two runs while drawing a pair of walks.
Babson senior Corey Highfield (East Hampstead, N.H./Central Catholic) crossed the plate in the third inning after Palioca hit sophomore Chris Kucher (Westwood, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) in the numbers with the bases loaded in the top of the third.
Wheaton will look to complete the series sweep with the Beavers in Babson Park tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m.