NORTON, Mass. – Seniors Dan Haugh (Andover, Mass./St. John's Prep) and John Keating (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) each drove in a pair of runs to help the No. 17 Wheaton College baseball team sweep their doubleheader against MIT Saturday afternoon in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener for both at Sidell Stadium. The Lyons won game one 2-1 and game two 9-2.
The Lyons (6-1, 2-0 NEWMAC) received outstanding pitching performances by junior Frank Holbrook (Middletown, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey) in game one and sophomore Alec Palioca (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip) in game two. Holbrook held the Engineers (4-4, 0-2 NEWMAC) to six hits and one run while striking out four in six innings before giving way to sophomore Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames) in the seventh. Palioca, meanwhile, hurled a complete-game, five-hitter in the nightcap to earn his first win of the season. He surrendered a pair of runs and walked two while striking out three.
Game one was a classic pitchers' duel between Holbrook and MIT sophomore Kiel Jindra (Oceanside, Calif./El Camino). Both hurlers held the other team at bay until Wheaton broke through in the fifth with an unearned run. Freshman Justin Peluso (North Andover, Mass./St. John's Prep) drew a one-out walk and was replaced on the bases by classmate Kevin Foley (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug). After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Foley came around to score on a throwing error by the MIT shortstop on a grounder by senior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H./Salem).
The Engineers tied the game in the top of the sixth on a sac fly by senior A.J. Hansborough (Deltona, Fla./Deltona). In Wheaton's half of the inning, junior Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton) reached on an error to lead off, stole second, advanced to third on a sac bunt by Haugh, and scored on a single by freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical). In the ninth, Grant walked the leadoff batter before recording the final three outs for his third save of the season.
Wheaton fell behind 2-1 in game two on an RBI single by sophomore Sean Karson (Winter Park, Fla./Trinity Prep) and a run scoring groundout by Hansborough before erupting for two in the sixth, four in the seventh, and two in the eighth to build a 9-2 lead. De la Cruz opened the sixth with a single and came around to score on a double by junior Dan Gusovsky (Andover, Mass./Andover) to tie the game at two. Later in the frame, Gusovsky scored what proved to be the winning-run when he came in from third on a passed ball.
In the seventh, Ryan laced a one-out single and scored on a single by Haugh. Later in the inning, De la Cruz and Gusovsky recorded back-to-back hits, putting runners on second and third. De la Cruz came home on a balk, and Keating following with a two-run blast to left that gave Wheaton a 7-2 lead. Jensen's sac fly and Haugh's RBI double in the eighth capped the scoring.
"MIT is a very, very difficult team to beat," said Lyons head coach Eric Podbelski. "They always give us a lot of trouble and nothing ever comes easy. They play the game very well in all facets. You have to stay resilient throughout the game in order to beat them, and we were able to do that today. We didn't always do that last year. I expect more of the same tomorrow. We're two evenly matched teams. Things went our way today."
De la Cruz finished the doubleheader 4-for-8 with two runs scored while Gusovsky was 3-for-6 and also scored twice. Wheaton won game one despite recording just three hits off MIT pitchers but responded with 10 hits in the second game.
Jindra worked 5.2 innings for MIT and allowed three this and a pair of unearned runs to fall to 1-2 on the season. He walked five and struck out two. Junior Aric Dama (Winfield, Ill./Wheaton North) started game two and allowed four hits and three runs over 5.1 innings with three walks and four strikeouts. Sophomore Brandon Lowe (Brier, Wash./Edmonds-Woodway) came on in the sixth and was touched up for five hits and four runs in 1.2 innings of work.
The Lyons and Engineers wrap their three-game set with a noon contest tomorrow in Cambridge.