Gowen, Kozin & Bisceglia combine for game two win
AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Wheaton College baseball team split a non-conference doubleheader with Worcester State University on Friday evening at Lake Myrtle Sports Park. The Lyons fell in game one by a 4-2 score, but rebounded in the nightcap with a 2-0 victory. Both games were seven inning contests.
Worcester State 4, Wheaton 2
Lancers' senior left-hander Ben Libuda (Auburn, Mass./Auburn) scattered five hits in a complete game effort to improve to 1-1 on the season. Libuda gave up two runs (both earned) and four walks to go with a game-high seven strikeouts on 108 pitches (64 strikes).
First-year Brady Furdon (Natick, Mass./Natick) was handed a hard-luck loss on 4 2/3 innings pitched, three hits, three runs (all unearned), one walk and four strikeouts.
Wheaton took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Thomas Landry (Hingham, Mass./BC High) ripped a two-out, two-run bases loaded single through the left side of the infield to bring home Joshua LaJoie (Somers, Conn./Avon Old Farms) and Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole).
Despite allowing Landry and Mike Beneduce (North Kingstown, R.I./Moses Brown School) to advance to second and third, respectively, on a wild pitch in the next at-bat, Libuda squandered Wheaton's chance at a potential big inning with a ground out to third to keep the deficit at 2-0.
Both teams were held scoreless over the next three innings until Worcester State struck for three runs in the fifth. Dennis Duplessis (Marlboro, Mass./Marlboro) and Brian Bonacquisti (Pittsfield, Mass./Taconic) both scored on a fielding error, while Jake Ryan (Whitinsville, Mass./Northbridge) plated the final run of the frame with an RBI single up the middle to drive in Zach George (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro).
Duplessis also added an RBI single down the left field line in the sixth to cap the scoring in game one of the doubleheader matchup.
Down the stretch, Libuda struck out a pair of batters in the fifth and seventh innings, respectively, while he also used a 6-4-3 double play in the sixth to erase a one-out, bases loaded scoring threat from Wheaton.
Wheaton 2, Worcester State 0
First-year Jimmy Gowen (Brielle, N.J./St. Rose) picked up his first career collegiate victory in relief throwing five strong innings alongside three hits, no runs, one walk and two strikeouts. Gowen also pitched the seventh inning in game one of the doubleheader to finish the day with six innings pitched on 61 pitches (41 strikes).
Senior closer Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) locked up his third save of the season by striking out the side in the seventh, while first-year Cody Kozin (Storrs, Conn./E.O. Smith) earned the hold allowing one hit in the sixth.
Worcester State sophomore Kris Doyle (Millbury, Mass./Millbury) took the loss on seven innings pitched, five hits, two runs (both earned), three walks and a game-high six strikeouts.
The Lyons scored both of their runs in the fourth inning as senior first baseman Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) pulled an RBI triple down the right field line to bring home junior third baseman Justin Silvestro (Waltham, Mass./BC High) who led off the frame with a hard-hit double into the right center field gap.
Senior designated hitter Tyler Contillo (Uncasville, Conn./Montville) followed De La Cruz with an RBI double to deep center field to make it 2-0. Doyle avoided any further damage by inducing a pop up, foul out and a strike out looking to hold off a big inning by the Lyons.
Gowen went on to record three ground outs, two fly outs and a strikeout over the next two frames before giving way to the rest of his bullpen mates.
Worcester State threatened in the sixth with runners at first and third and one out, but the Lyons prevented the backend of an attempted double steal play from scoring on a 2-6-2 put out to help maintain the shutout. Kozin then induced an inning-ending ground out to short to move the game forward to the top of the seventh inning.
Bisceglia closed the door in the final half inning of the contest recording three strikeouts on 14 pitches (nine strikes).
Wheaton (5-4) concludes its spring break trip to Florida tomorrow with a non-conference game against UMass Dartmouth in Auburndale at 1:30 p.m. Worcester State (1-2) plays Trinity in a doubleheader on Sunday, March 15 in Leesburg, Florida with game one scheduled for 10 a.m.