De La Cruz, Smith key Lyons to fifth consecutive win
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Wheaton College junior first baseman Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) broke open a 2-2 game in the top of the eighth with a two-run triple off the right-center field wall to propel the Lyons, ranked No. 11 in the latest D3baseball.com national poll, to an eventual 5-2 win over No. 8 Webster University on Monday night at Chain of Lakes Stadium.
Wheaton sophomore reliever Eric Dumas (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) was credited with the win (1-0), while senior closer Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Avon Old Farms) collected his fourth save of the season and third save in the last two days. Freshman right-hander Jack Fant (Independence, Va./McLean) landed the no-decision on five innings pitched, three hits, one run (unearned), two walks and a pair of strikeouts in his collegiate debut. Classmate Kyle Kasprzyk (East Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) yielded one hit, one walk and struck out two batters in the sixth, while senior Mike McGinnis (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) bridged the gap to Grant in the eighth inning with two punchouts.
Webster reliever Jack Bensinger (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall) suffered the loss as the only battered he faced in the game walked and came around to score. Gorloks' starter Chris Jansen (Cicero, Ind./Saint Joseph's College) was dealt the no decision on seven innings of work, seven hits, two runs (both earned), zero walks and three strikeouts.
Tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth, De La Cruz belted a two-run triple off the right-center field wall plating junior Justin Peluso (North Reading, Mass./Saint John's Prep) and sophomore Jimmy Smith (Worcester, Mass./Saint John's) for a 4-2 advantage.
McGinnis shut down the Gorloks' offense in the bottom half of the frame with a strikeout looking, fly out to center field and a strike out swinging. Smith tacked on an insurance run in the ninth with a base knock to center which scored junior Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) from second.
Earlier in the contest, Smith evened the score at 1-1 in the fifth with an RBI single to right field on the first pitch he saw against Jansen coming with two outs in the frame. Smith also helped sway momentum in the game for the Lyons in third inning with a double play on a superb diving catch in the right-center gap and a successful throw back to first base on Webster's runner who scampered too far towards second base.
De La Cruz gave Wheaton a 2-1 lead in the sixth with an RBI single through the right side scoring sophomore Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) who reached base on a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch before sprinting across home plate.
Both runs for the Gorloks came via the sac fly in the second and seventh innings.
Wheaton (5-0) enjoys an off day tomorrow before it returns to action against Thomas More, who is receiving votes in the latest D3baseball.com national poll, on March 12 at Warner University in Winter Haven, Fla. at 10:00 a.m.