WORCESTER, Mass. - Freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) drove in two runs in game one and senior Dan Haugh (Andover, Mass./St. John's Prep) had two doubles and four RBI in game two of No. 6 Wheaton College's doubleheader sweep of WPI in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) baseball action Saturday afternoon at College of the Holy Cross.
With a 5-3 win in game one and a 10-1 triumph in game two, the Lyons improved to 24-4 (13-2 NEWMAC) on the season and extended their winning streak to four. Wheaton has now swept the regular season series from four NEWMAC foes - Springfield, MIT, Coast Guard, and the Engineers (19-13, 8-4 NEWMAC). Additionally, the Lyons magic number to clinch a share of the NEWMAC regular season crown and the top seed in the conference tournament is one.
Senior Hal Landers (Salem, Mass./Salem) singled with two outs in the third and came around to score on a triple off the bat of junior Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) to give the Lyons a 1-0 lead. WPI tied the game in its half of the frame on an RBI single by sophomore Matt Blakeman (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin).
An RBI triple from Haugh and a run-scoring single from De la Cruz in the fifth put Wheaton back in front 3-1. Jensen scored on an error in the seventh to make it 4-1, and De la Cruz followed with his second RBI single of the afternoon to plate junior Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton) for a 5-1 lead. A fielders choice led to a pair of WPI runs in the bottom of the seventh before sophomore Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames) came on to record the final two outs to seal with win.
Junior Frank Holbrook (Middletown, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey) surrendered four hits and three runs (two earned) in 6.1 innings to record his fourth win of the season. He walked one and struck out two. Senior Eric Johnson (Rutland, Mass./St. John's) took the loss, allowing eight hits and five runs (three earned) in 6.1 innings of work.
In the nightcap, the Lyons put up an '8' spot in the fourth to build an 8-0 lead for sophomore SP Alec Palioca (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip). Junior Dan Gusovsky (Andover, Mass./Andover) brought in Wheaton's first run with a single through the left side. Three batters later, senior Dan Demeo (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) brought in Gusovsky with a single to left to make it 2-0. Following a bases-loaded walk to Landers that pushed the lead to 3-0, Jensen doubled to right to bring in two for a 5-0 Lyons lead. A two-run double by Haugh and an RBI single by De la Cruz capped the scoring in the frame.
The score remained 8-0 until the eighth when a two-run single by Haugh stretched it to double digits. The Engineers scratched out an unearned run in their half of the eighth to close the scoring.
Palioca improved to 5-0 with the win. In seven innings of work, he scattered three hits and fanned six - including the side in the fifth. Freshman Andrew Portera (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta) surrendered 10 hits and eight runs with three walks and two strikeouts in 3.2 IP for the Engineers in the loss.
De la Cruz finished the afternoon with six hits and has now hit safely in 25 of the Lyons 28 games this season. Haugh, meanwhile, finished the day with five RBI to move into sole possession of second place in program history with 177. Landers had four hits - including three in game one.
Wheaton returns to action tomorrow with a 1 p.m. contest against Southern Maine. The Lyons will host their annual 'White Ribbon Campaign' with proceeds benefitting the New Hope shelter in Attleboro. WPI, meanwhile, heads to Becker Wednesday for a 7 p.m. contest.