NORTON, Mass. – Freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) went 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored in No. 10 Wheaton College's 12-6 win over Suffolk University in non-conference baseball action Tuesday afternoon at Sidell Stadium.
Senior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H./Salem) and junior Paul O'Neill (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) each drove in a pair of runs as the Lyons broke open a scoreless tie with 10 runs in the fourth inning. The win extends the Lyons win streak to eight and lifts their all-time mark against the Rams to 12-8-1.
Suffolk junior Jhonneris Mendez (Boston, Mass./Boston English) started on the bump for the Rams (3-7-1) and held the Lyons scoreless for the first three innings before the wheels came off in the fourth. Junior Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton) and senior Dan Haugh (Andover, Mass./St. John's Prep) scored the first two runs of the game on a throwing error by Mendez on a sac bunt attempt by De la Cruz. He later came in to score on a sac fly by O'Neill to push the lead to 3-0.
With two outs in the frame, Landers and De la Cruz each recorded two-run singles to help cap Wheaton's 10-run rally and chase Mendez, who allowed six hits and nine runs (two earned) with three walks and three strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
In the fifth, junior Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) laced a ground rule double in the fifth plate O'Neill and make it 11-0. Suffolk answered with one in the sixth, three in the seventh and two in the eighth to climb to within five runs at 11-5. Mendez homered to left with one down in the seventh to break the Lyons shutout.
Sophomore Devan Jones (Roslindale, Mass./Catholic Memorial) plated two runs for the Rams in the eighth, followed by an RBI double by Mendez which brought the score to 11-4. Sophomore Jake Cintolo (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip) singled in two runs with one out in the eighth to make it 11-5 before Wheaton retired the next five batters to seal the win. O'Neill added an RBI single in Wheaton's half of the eighth to cap the scoring.
"The execution in our big inning was a key to today's win," said Lyons head coach Eric Podbelski. "We got two sacrifice bunts down that helped us put runners in position to score and break the stalemate. Paul O'Neill did a great job delivering a sac fly on a slider with two strikes to get a run in, and (senior) Dan Demeo followed with another hit and a great baserunning play to get to second base on a throw home. That type of execution allowed us to get some runs on the board, which opened the game up."
Jensen finished the afternoon 3-for-4 with an RBI and one run scored while the aforementioned Dan Demeo (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) went 1-for-5 with one run scored. Senior Nolan Corr (Somersworth, N.H./Saint Thomas Aquinas) blanked the Rams over five innings to pick up his first win of the season. He scattered five hits and struck out three without walking a batter.
Cintolo, Jones, and Mendez each finished with two hits for Suffolk, which outhit the Lyons 12-11 but committed four errors which led to a total of eight unearned runs.
The Lyons – who moved up seven spots from No. 17 in this week's D3baseball.com poll – return to action on Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. contest at Endicott. The Rams travel to Babson for a 3:30 p.m. game on Wednesday.