NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL: No.4 Western New England Knocks Off No.2 Wheaton, 8-3

NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL: No.4 Western New England Knocks Off No.2 Wheaton, 8-3

Lyons season comes to a close at 32-12

HARWICH, Mass. – Second-seeded Wheaton College, ranked no.15 overall in the latest D3baseball.com, saw its season come to a close as the Lyons fell to fourth-seeded Western New England University, 8-3, on day three of the NCAA Division III New England Regional on Friday night at Whitehouse Field. 

The Lyons, who defeated eighth-seeded Daniel Webster (3-1) earlier in the day to remain in contention for the New England Regional title, posted their ninth-straight 30-win season this year with a 32-12 record and 11th overall in program history. Wheaton captured its 14th New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season crown in the 15-year history of the league and its 13th NEWMAC championship. 

The Golden Bears (34-12) will take on first-seeded Southern Maine in an elimination game tomorrow at noon. The winner will play third-seeded Endicott College at 4 p.m. with the Gulls needing one win to claim the New England Regional championship. The if necessary game will be played on Sunday, May 19 at noon. 

Western New England senior Mike Lospinuso (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip) earned the win (9-3) on seven-and-two-thirds innings pitched, 12 hits, two runs (all earned), two free passes and five strikeouts. Lospinuso threw 144 pitches in the contest including 107 for strikes (74-percent) coming off of a 48-pitch relief appearance a day earlier in three innings of work. 

Wheaton starter Mike Gibbons (Simsbury, Conn./Avon Old Farms School) was dealt the loss over three-plus innings, nine hits, two runs (one earned), zero walks and one punchout. Sophomore Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) hurled three scoreless innings in relief allowing just two hits and no walks to go along with one strikeout. In three appearances in the regional, Bisceglia tossed four-and-two-thirds innings of shutout baseball out of the pen only giving up two hits. Bisceglia did not walk a single batter, recorded two strikeouts and held opponents to a .176 batting average (3-for-17).

Freshman Tim Budd (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) gave the Golden Bears a 1-0 lead in the second with a run-producing single to center field plating junior Steve Ambrosino (Laurel Hollow, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) from second. Ambrosino led off the inning with a single to right-center and also swiped a bag, his eighth stolen base of the season, to manufacture the game's first run. Budd eventually scored later in the inning on the back end of a throwing error. 

The Lyons threatened in the third with two outs and the bases loaded but Lospinuso escaped the jam with a fly out to right field to maintain the shutout. 

Senior right-hander Corey Laliberte (Fall River, Mass./B.M.C. Durfee) kept the Western New England offense at bay in the fourth using a strikeout looking with the bases loaded for the final out of the frame. Gibbons gave up two hits and recorded two outs before Laliberte entered, hit a batter and notched his 18th strikeout of the season to keep the deficit at 2-0. 

In the sixth, Western New England struck for five runs on three hits, one error and two runners left on base. Sophomore Steve Buckley (Monroe, Conn./Basuk) worked a bases loaded walk, senior Kyle McKelvey (Schenectady, N.Y./Schalmont) drove in a run on a fielder's choice and classmate Taylor Perun (Plainville, Conn./Plainville) plated another with a base knock through the left side of the infield to highlight the scoring. 

Freshman Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) answered for Wheaton in the next half inning with an RBI single to left-center field. Senior Paul O'Neill (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) led off the inning with a line drive single up the middle and advanced to second on a base hit from sophomore Justin Peluso (North Attleboro, Mass./Saint John's Prep). After the Lyons hit into a 6-4-3 double play moving O'Neill to third, Lavanchy drove home his fourth RBI of the tournament. 

Lospinuso erased a first and second situation jam after senior shortstop Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) connected on a single to right-center with a fly out to center field. 

In the eighth, Jensen cut into the deficit at 8-2 ripping an RBI single up the middle scoring sophomore Kevin Foley (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) who walked with two outs and advanced to second on Lavanchy's third base hit of the night. Jensen went 3-for-5 in the contest to increase his all-time career hits mark to 246 (third all-time) and ends his career on a ten-game hitting streak. 

Wheaton produced one more run in the ninth as Peluso laced an RBI single to right field driving home Gusovsky from third. Gusovsky reached base with one out on a fielding error and advanced two bases on a double down the left field line by sophomore Tyler Contillo (Montville, Conn./Montville)

Senior reliever Kevin Jefferis (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) prevented any further damage inducing a fly out to right field to end the game. Jefferis completed the final one-and-two-thirds for the Golden Bears yielding two hits, one run (unearned), no walks and one strikeout. 

Lavanchy finished the game batting 3-for-5 with one RBI while Peluso posted the same line at the plate from the eighth spot in the lineup. 

The Lyons fall to 19-8 all-time against Western New England in the all-time series dating back to 2001. Wheaton is now 3-2 overall in postseason play against the Golden Bears with its most recent victory coming in the 2012 New England Regional final, a 2-0 triumph.