NORTHBORO, Mass. – The Wheaton College baseball team came from behind to defeat WPI, 10-5, Saturday afternoon in game one of both teams New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener. The Engineers rallied from behind in game two, with an eight run eighth inning, to take game two 11-8.
GAME ONE: WHEATON 10 – WPI 5
The Engineers took a 3-0 lead in the second inning with three straight singles, that resulted in Anthony Capuano coming around to score. A double to right by Ryan Tropeano knocked in the final two runs of the inning.
Wheaton earned two of the runs back in the top half of the next inning with Jared Sharkey knocking in Josh LaJoie and Chris Ruocco on a double to left. The Lyons kept their offense going in the fourth inning, capturing the lead after scoring three runs on three hits and a WPI error. Joey Santigate picked up an RBI after knocking in Zach Goodwin-Boyd. With the game knotted at 3-3, a bases loaded mistake by the Engineers allowed Ty Calabro to come home, handing Wheaton its first lead of the game. First-year Nick Raposo knocked in the final run of the inning with a single to left that sent Santigate home.
The Lyons made it a 6-3 game in the top of the fifth with an RBI single to center from LaJoie that scored Tyler Walsh. Wheaton added two more runs in the eighth with an RBI single from Casey Twomey and a fielding error by the Engineers.
Now trailing 8-3, the Engineers countered with a single run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single from Evan Lacroix. Wheaton responded in the ninth, earning that run back and adding another with a single to center from Matt Cook that sent home both Raposo and Santigate. Both Santigate and Raposo reached earlier in the inning courtesy of walks.
The Engineers managed to earn just one run back in the ninth with an RBI single by Tropeano.
Brady Furdon remains undefeated this season, pitching seven complete for Wheaton, striking out 10, while surrendering just six hits. Mike Vaitkkunas picked up the loss for the Engineers, walking four in five innings, while giving up six runs on seven hits.
Santigate and Ruocco both ended the game 2-for-4 from the plate with a walk, while LaJoie and Sharkey were each 2-for-5 with a walk.
GAME TWO: WHEATON 8 - WPI 11
Like they did in the opening contest, the Engineers captured an early lead, this time plating a single run in the second inning. Capuano came around to score on a Gallagher single through the left side.
Wheaton took the lead in the top half of the next inning with an RBI double by LaJoie, which was followed by an RBI single from Raposo. The LaJoie double brought in Ruocco, who reached moments before on a ground-rule double, while LaJoie scored on the Raposo single.
Tropeano tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth with a single to center that allowed Connor Kurtz to score. Wheaton took the lead back in the next half inning with a sacrifice fly from Raposo that allowed Ruocco to score from third. Ruocco once again reached base on a ground-rule double, before moving to third on a sac bunt from LaJoie.
A solo home run to right center by Gallagher in the bottom of the sixth once again knotted up the contest. As they had done all game, the Lyons responded in their half of the next inning, this time with Ruocco and Calabro coming in to score on a single through the left side from Sharkey.
Wheaton increased its lead to 8-3 in the top of the eighth. Santigate got the scoring started with a two out single that brought in Walsh. Walsh led off the inning courtesy of an error by the Engineer third baseman. A single to right by Raposo knocked in the final two runs with Ruocco and Santigate crossing home.
Joe Fainer started the Engineer rally in the bottom of the eighth, singling to right with runners on the corners and no outs, scoring Tyrone Patterson. A bases loaded walk later in the inning allowed another run to come in before a fielder's choice to second plated another. Now down just two runs, Nick Comei grounded out to short, but not before Kurtz came home, cutting the WPI deficit to one. A single to left brought in the tying run. Patterson handed the Engineers the lead moments later with a single to right that scored two. Gallagher ended the scoring with a double to right that brought Patterson around.
Wheaton managed two base runners in the top of the ninth, with Jimmy Gianquitti reaching on a walk, before advancing to second when Walsh was hit by a pitch. Unfortunately for the Lyons both players would remain stranded.
Wheaton returns home for its next contest, hosting Amherst at Sidell Stadium on Sunday, March 26 for a 1 p.m. non-conference contest.