#17 Wheaton Tops Coe, 3-2, In Season Opener

#17 Wheaton Tops Coe, 3-2, In Season Opener

Palioca goes seven strong with nine strikeouts and zero walks

AUBURNDALE, Fla.  – The Wheaton College baseball team, ranked No. 17 in the latest D3baseball.com national poll, opened up its 2014 season with a 3-2 victory over Coe College on Friday evening at Lake Myrtle Field.

Wheaton senior right-hander Alec Palioca (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip Regional) picked up his first win of the season and 18th of his career (eighth all-time) tossing seven innings, while yielding four hits, one run (unearned), zero walks and a game-high nine strikeouts. Sophomore reliever Eric Dumas (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) struck out two in the eighth and senior closer Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Avon Old Farms) notched his first save of the year (37th career) recording three ground outs.

Coe junior Kyle Brady (Leawood, Kan./Blue Valley) was dealt the loss on five-and-two-thirds innings, seven hits, three runs (all earned), zero walks and a pair of strikeouts. Classmate Jack Hoffmann (Dubuque, Iowa/Wahlert) was solid in relief throwing two-and-one-thirds scoreless innings to go along with two strikeouts.

The Lyons grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning as junior Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) knocked in freshman Joshua LaJoie (Somers, Conn./Avon Old Farms) from third base with a single to left center.

Coe evened the score in the next half inning on an RBI bunt single towards the left side of the pitching mound by junior Cole Tomlinson (Trabuco Canyon, Calif./El Toro). The run against Palioca's pitching line was unearned as the Kohawks leadoff hitter in the inning reached base on a throwing error and advanced to third on a successful hit-and-run before scoring.

Both teams went scoreless until the sixth inning when Justin Peluso (North Reading, Mass./Saint John's Prep) knocked in Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) on a run-producing infield single to the right side and junior catcher Zach Horton (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro) roped an RBI double down the left field line plating Peluso from first.

After retiring seven-straight batters, Palioca ended a first-and-second threat in the top of the seventh with a groundout to short in his final inning. Grant went on to close out the game despite having the tying run stationed 90-feet away with a chopper to second base, while Dumas was economical in the eighth with two strikeouts (one looking).

Bisceglia and Peluso both ended the contest with two hits and a run scored as the Lyons collected seven total.

Wheaton (1-0) will play The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) tomorrow afternoon at Chain O'Lakes Stadium at 12:30 p.m. Coe (2-3) takes on Rockford University in double-header action tomorrow with game one scheduled for 9 a.m.

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