NORTON, Mass. – Sophomore Alec Palioca (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip) tossed a complete-game shutout in the opener and junior Dan Gusovsky (Andover, Mass./Andover) drove in four runs in the nightcap as the No. 10 Wheaton College baseball team ran its win streak to 12 games with a doubleheader sweep of Coast Guard in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Saturday afternoon at Sidell Stadium.
Freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) extended his hitting streak to 12 games while juniors Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) and Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton) each stretched their hit streaks to seven as the Lyons (12-1, 6-0 NEWMAC) won game one 3-0 and game two 7-5. Following a season-opening loss to nationally-ranked Cortland State, Wheaton has won 12 consecutive games for the first time since April 15-May 1, 2010, sweeping the season series from conference foes MIT and Coast Guard in the process.
Paloica and Coast Guard junior Curt Barrett (Bremen, Ga./Bremen) each worked three scoreless innings to start game one before Wheaton took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Senior Dan Haugh (Andover, Mass./Andover) and De la Cruz each drew two-out walks before both Gusovsky and senior John Keating (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) were hit by pitches to bring in the first run of the game.
The Lyons doubled their lead in the fifth when Jensen drew a two-out walk and came around to score on a single by Haugh. They tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI single by senior Dan Demeo (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury).
Palioca scattered six hits, walked one and struck out eight to improve to 2-0 on the season. Barrett, meanwhile, allowed five hits and three runs (two earned) with four walks and one strikeout. Freshman Chris Izurieta (Mason, Ohio/William Mason) recorded two hits for the Bears.
Coast Guard took advantage of three Wheaton errors to take a 4-0 lead midway through the third. Junior Ed Cella (Silver Spring, Md./St. Anselm's) plated the first run of the game with a triple down the right field line in the second inning. Izurieta followed with a sac fly to center to bring in Cella and give the Bears a 2-0 lead. In the third, juniors Tyler Babkiewich (Golden, Colo./Golden) and Joe Petry (Worcester, Mass./St. John's) each scored on throwing errors to stretch the Bears lead to 3-0.
Wheaton answered with three runs in its half of the third to cut the Bears lead to one. Haugh drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the Lyons first run, followed by a two-out, two-run double down the right field line by Gusovsky.
The Bears added another unearned run in the fifth when Babkiewich reached on a fielding error and scored on a throwing error to make it a 5-3 game. In the bottom half of the inning, Ryan led off with a single and advanced to third on a double by De la Cruz. Gusovsky followed with a double to left center that brought in both runners and tied the game at five. Keating capped the scoring with a two-run blast to left center to put Wheaton in front for good at 7-5.
Junior Corey Laliberte (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) worked the first 4.2 innings for Wheaton and allowed four hits and five runs (two earned) with two walks and three strikeouts. Sophomore Nick Filloramo (Rochester, Mass./Old Rochester) came on in relief of Laliberte in the fifth and worked 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to earn his first win of the season – less than 48 hours after earning a save in a 14-inning win at Endicott. Freshman Ben Johnson (Cambridge, Mass./Carlbrook School (Va.) ) and senior David Longley (Brunswick, Maine/Brunswick) each pitched one scoreless inning of relief before sophomore Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames) worked a scoreless ninth to earn his fourth save of the season.
"We had to scratch and claw for runs in a very well played first game by both sides," said Lyons head coach Eric Podbelski. "Alec threw a really good game for us, we played good defense, and we won using the formula that's been working for us. In the second game, we didn't play very well, but we competed and escaped with a win. We stormed back after getting down early, which shows a lot of resilience on the part of our team."
Keating finished game two 2-for-3 with two RBI while Ryan, De la Cruz, Gusovsky, and senior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H./Salem) each tallied two hits.
Junior Riley Beecher (Elgin, Texas/Manor) allowed 10 runs and seven hits in 4.1 innings in suffering his first loss of the season. He walked three and struck out two. Sella, junior Nolan Gallagher (New Milford, Conn./New Milford), and sophomore David Wolinski (Henrico, Va./Freeman) each recorded two hits for the Bears (7-10, 2-4 NEWMAC).
Wheaton returns to action on Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest at Westfield State. The Bears travel to Albertus Magnus Monday afternoon for a 4 p.m. doubleheader.