Senior righty strikes out five in win
BABSON PARK, Mass. – Wheaton College senior right-hander Alec Palioca (Wrentham, Mass./King Phillip Regional) tossed a complete-game two hitter and junior Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) scored the only run of the game sending Wheaton College past Babson College, 1-0, in the opener of a three-game New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) baseball series on Friday afternoon at Govoni Field.
With its seventh consecutive victory, Wheaton is now 15-6-1 overall and 5-2 in conference play, while Babson, which has won eight of its last ten games, drops to 9-7 overall and 5-2 in the NEWMAC.
Palioca (3-2), who faced just one batter over the minimum on the day, gave up a two-out single to Beavers' junior Sean MacPhee (Framingham, Mass./Belmont Hill) in the first and a leadoff single by his classmate Joe Zanca (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) before retiring 23 of the final 24 batters he faced. Zanca was the last Babson hitter to get on base, reaching on an error to start the fifth. It also was the first complete game and first shutout of the year for Palioca, who struck out five on the afternoon.
Senior Matt Grenier (Rochester, N.H./Spaulding) took the loss for the Green and White despite his quality start. Grenier tossed his third consecutive complete game, scattering eight hits and giving up three walks along with just the one earned run. Grenier, who lowered his ERA to 1.85, has now surrendered just one run over his last 23 innings.
Lyons' junior Justin Peluso (North Reading, Mass./Saint John's Prep) was stranded after hitting a one-out double in the first, and Grenier induced a ground ball double play following a leadoff single by sophomore Justin Silvestro (Waltham, Mass./BC High) in the second.
The Beavers followed with arguably their best scoring opportunity of the day in the bottom of the frame when Zanca singled to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore George Crowley (Watertown, Mass./The Rivers School). Palioca squandered the threat as he picked off Zanca for out number two, followed up by a groundball to short to end the inning.
Wheaton got the only run it needed in the top of the fourth as De La Cruz opened the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown). Silvestro singled to left to put runners on the corners, and senior Kevin Foley (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) drove in De La Cruz with a groundball to shortstop, just staying out of a double play in the process.
Peluso and Silvestro both had a pair of hits, while De La Cruz walked twice for the Lyons, who left ten runners on base.
Babson and Wheaton will wrap up their three-game series with a doubleheader in Norton, Mass., starting at 11:30 a.m.