NORTON, Mass. – Senior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H./Salem) and junior Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton) each drove in three runs to propel the No. 6 Wheaton College baseball team to its fifth-straight win, a 10-7 triumph over Southern Maine in non-conference action Sunday afternoon at Sidell Stadium.
Ryan went 4-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored while freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored for the Lyons, who improved to 25-4 on the season heading into Tuesday afternoon's contest at Roger Williams.
The game remained scoreless until the Lyons pushed across a run in the third to take a 1-0 lead. Senior Dan Demeo (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) laced a one-out triple and scored on an RBI groundout by Landers. Junior Tucker White (Deering, N.H./Coe-Brown Northwood) homered leading off the fourth for the Huskies (14-12) to tie the game at one. Later in the frame, sophomore Matt Verrier (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) doubled in sophomore Forrest Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine/Gardiner) to put Southern Maine ahead 2-1.
Wheaton answered in its half of the fourth as Ryan belted his first home run of the season leading off the frame to even the score at two. Freshman Kevin Foley (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) singled in De la Cruz later in the inning to put Wheaton ahead 3-2. The Huskies scored three times in the fifth – highlighted by a two-run home run off the bat of junior Nick Grady (Whitefield, Maine/Erskine Academy) – to go ahead 5-3.
An RBI double by Ryan in the fifth cut Wheaton's deficit to one at 5-4 before it exploded for five runs in the sixth to go ahead 9-5. Ryan and senior John Keating (Duxbury, Mas./Duxbury) each had an RBI double, Landers and De la Cruz each drove in a run with an RBI single, and junior Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) brought in a run on a sac fly.
The Huskies got one back in the seventh on an RBI single by freshman Jake Glauser (Goffstown, N.H./Goffstown), but an RBI single by Landers in the bottom of the inning gave Wheaton a 10-6 lead. Southern Maine scored one in the ninth on a wild pitch to close the scoring.
"As long as I have been involved as a player, an assistant coach, and now as a head coach, Southern Maine has been one of the better hitting teams around," said Lyons head coach Eric Podbelski. "They're a tough team and you have to make pitches to get them out. They are going to get their hits and score their runs. You never feel like the lead is safe against them. I thought the key to the game was defense, especially the left side of our infield. They were awesome defensively. It was our best defensive game of the year."
Sophomore Nick Filloramo (Rochester, Mass./Old Rochester) picked up his second of the season in relief of junior starting pitcher Corey Laliberte (Fall River, Mass./Durfee). Laliberte surrendered six hits and four runs in 4.2 innings before Filloramo worked the next 1.1 innings and gave up one run on one hit. Senior David Longley (Brunswick, Maine/Brunswick) and sophomore Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames) pitched the final three innings for Wheaton.
Junior Ryan Yates (Norway, Maine/Oxford Hills) took the loss for the Huskies to fall to 1-3. He allowed 10 hits and seven runs (six earned) in 5.0+ innings of work. Both he and Laliberte walked none and struck out one.
De la Cruz now has at least one hit in 23 of the Lyons 27 games this season. Landers, Foley, and junior Dan Gusovsky (Andover, Mass./Andover) each recorded two hits. Glauser went 3-for-4 for the Huskies while White and Grady each drove in a pair.
The Lyons and Hawks contest on Tuesday begins at 3:30 in Bristol, R.I. The Huskies head to UMass Boston for a 3:30 p.m. contest on Tuesday.