NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL: #2 Wheaton Downs #7 Salem State, 5-3

NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL: #2 Wheaton Downs #7 Salem State, 5-3

Holbrook moves to second all-time on career wins list

HARWICH, Mass. – Second-seeded Wheaton College, ranked no.15 overall in the latest D3baseball.com national poll, defeated seventh-seeded Salem State University, 5-3, in the opening round of the NCAA Division III New England Regional double elimination tournament on Wednesday night at Whitehouse Field. 

The Lyons (31-10) will play third-seeded Endicott College (33-12) tomorrow night at Whitehouse Field in game eight of the tournament at 8 p.m. The Vikings (25-14) will take on St. Joseph's College (Maine) at 1 p.m. 

Wheaton senior Frank Holbrook (Middletown, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey School) moved into second all-time on the career wins list (26) tossing six innings, yielding eight hits, three runs (two earned), one walk and a game-high six strikeouts. Holbrook entered tonight's game tied with Craig Zapenas '01 on the list while Mike Hunsinger '03 holds the all-time record at 30-5 overall. 

Freshman Eric Dumas (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) fanned three batters in two scoreless innings of relief and junior closer Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Avon Old Farms School) notched his 11th save of the season to tie Mike Spavento '02 for the all-time lead in saves in program history with 35. 

Salem State sophomore pitcher Cato Lacroix (Holliston, Mass./Holliston) took the loss on four innings, six hits, four runs (all earned), four free passes and five punchouts. 

In the top of second, junior Kyle McElroy (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport) launched a solo home run to left-center field, his first collegiate round-tripper, to give the Vikings a 1-0 advantage. 

Wheaton answered in the bottom half of the frame as freshman Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) worked a bases loaded walk after falling behind in the count (0-2) to tie the contest. 

Senior shortstop Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) followed with an opposite field single to right field plating classmate Justin Connor (Arlington, Mass./Arlington) and sophomore Tyler Contillo (Montville, Conn./Montville) for a 3-1 lead. 

The Vikings scratched home a run in the third on a throwing error as the Lyons attempted an inning-ending double play and evened the score at 3-3 in the fourth with a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of junior Ethan Trowt (Beverly, Mass./Beverly). Holbrook limited any further damage in the frame recording a strikeout and a fly out to spell a second and third situation with one out. 

Sophomore Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) reclaimed the lead for Wheaton in the bottom of the fourth with an infield RBI single to short, his team-leading 34th RBI of the season, for a 4-3 gap.

Senior Dan Gusovsky (Andover, Mass./Andover) added an insurance run in the eighth with a two-out RBI single to left-center. Gusovsky, who ranks second on the team with 31 RBI, now has 22 RBI this season with two outs. All five of Wheaton's runs came with two outs against Salem State. 

Jensen notched a one-out single up the middle in the eighth to finish 2-for-5 at the plate with two RBI. With his two hits, both singles, Jensen surpassed Dan Haugh '12 and Damon Whalen '02 to move into third place all-time in career hits with 242. Haugh and Jensen were tied at 240 prior to tonight's contest while Whalen has 241 career hits. 

De la Cruz and Gusovsky both went 3-for-5 for the Lyons out of the four and five spots in the lineup. Gusovsky leads Wheaton with six 3-hit games this season while De la Cruz compiled his second 3-hit contest in the win.