NEWMAC TOURNAMENT: No. 3 Wheaton, No. 2 WPI Split Day One

NEWMAC TOURNAMENT: No. 3 Wheaton, No. 2 WPI Split Day One

Lyons, Engineers to play game three tomorrow at 1 p.m.

WORCESTER, Mass. – Third-seeded Wheaton College and second-seeded WPI split a pair of New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal games on Saturday afternoon at Rocheleau Field on the campus of Assumption College. WPI took game one, 3-2, in extra innings, while Wheaton bounced back in game two with a 12-3 victory.

The decisive third game in the best of three series between the two clubs will be played tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Assumption College. The winner will face MIT in the NEWMAC Tournament Championship on May 2-3 in Cambridge, Mass.

WPI 3, Wheaton 2 (12 inn.)

Engineers' sophomore reliever Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) earned the win on four scoreless innings out of the pen. WPI starter Taylor Landry (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) was issued a no-decision on eight innings pitched, ten hits, two runs (both earned), one walk and a pair of strikeouts.

Wheaton first-year reliever Jimmy Gowen (Brielle, N.J./St. Rose) received the loss going 1/3 of an inning alongside one hit, one unearned run and a walk. Sophomore starter Michael Bruemmel (Bridgewater, Mass./Bridgewater-Raynham) went 7 1/3 innings, allowed eight hits, one run (earned), two walks and also registered four strikeouts. Senior closer Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) pitched 3 2/3 innings out of the pent alongside one hit, one unearned run, two walks and four punchouts.

The Lyons used RBI triples from seniors Tyler Contillo (Uncasville, Conn./Montville) and Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively, to take a 2-0 lead late in game one.

WPI cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the seventh inning as Sean Kelly (Shrewsbury, Mass./Holy Name) ripped a run-producing double to left field but was later thrown out at third trying to stretch out his extra-base hit.

A fielding error in the eighth scored the game-tying run with one out, but Bisceglia stranded runners at second and third base with a strikeout swinging and a ground out to keep the game tied at 2-2.

Both bullpens went on throw four straight 1-2-3 frames to keep the score deadlocked at 2-2 headed to the bottom of the 11th inning. WPI mounted a rally in that frame, but Bisceglia came through again for Wheaton squandering a one-out, second and third situation with a strike out swinging and a fly out.

In the bottom of the 12th, the Engineers scored the game-winning run on a bases loaded wild pitch.

Wheaton 12, WPI 3

Wheaton first-year Brady Furdon (Natick, Mass./Natick) picked up his fifth victory of the season (5-2) on seven innings pitched, four hits, two runs (both earned), six walks and five strikeouts. Sophomore Michael Baryski (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) allowed one unearned run in the eighth, while junior Eric Dumas (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) walked one batter in an otherwise clean ninth inning.

WPI first-year starter Steven D'Agostino (Shrewsbury, Mass./St. John's) was tagged with the loss in game two on five innings pitched, ten hits, eight runs (all earned), two free passes and a pair of strikeouts.

Senior Zach Blanchard (Warwick, R.I./Pilgrim) put the Engineers in front early with a two-run single in the bottom of the first that scored Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) and Alex Venditti (Newton, Mass./St. Sebastian's).

Blanchard also singled and scored in the eighth inning, playing a part in all three WPI runs, but he was the only Engineers' batter to muster multiple hits in the afternoon nightcap.

Meanwhile, Wheaton 12 consecutive runs from the second inning until the eighth to compile a 12-2 lead at that point before the bottom half of the frame.

Shortstop Joshua LaJoie (Somers, Conn./Avon Old Farms) went 2 for 5 with a run scored in the first game, and upped the ante in the second, going a perfect 4 for 4 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored. Lajoie reached base seven times in all, also drawing a walk in the sixth inning of the second game.

Senior Zach Bombard (Belchertown, Mass./Cathedral) came through with a three-run triple in the top of the second inning to put the Lyons ahead for good, 3-2, at the time.

De La Cruz also had a big second game, going 3 for 5, driving in four runs and scoring three times. De La Cruz hit a solo home run to right center in the third inning and then went the other way to left center for a two-run shot in the sixth inning.

Junior third baseman Justin Silvestro (Waltham, Mass./BC High) also had a pair of hits in each game for four on the day.

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