Lyons advance to NEWMAC championships series against MIT
WORCESTER, Mass. – Third-seeded Wheaton College dug out of an early 7-2 hole after the first inning of play to complete an eventual comeback victory over second-seeded WPI on Sunday afternoon at Rocheleau Field. The Lyons took the rubber game of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal round best of three series by a 10-9 score.
Wheaton (23-12) dropped game one of the series 3-2 in 12 innings on Saturday but bounced back in game two with a 12-3 victory to force today's elimination game. The Lyons will play first-seeded MIT in the NEWMAC Tournament championship series (best of three) on May 2-3. WPI (21-15) now awaits word on a possible at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Junior Michael Baryski (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) earned the win on two innings pitched, two hits, one run (unearned), one walk and three strikeouts. Senior Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) closed the door over the final 1 1/3 innings to notch his seventh save of the season. Sophomore Kyle Kasprzyk (East Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) was effective in relief throwing 4 1/3 innings out of the pen to go along with four hits, one run (unearned), one walk and three strikeouts.
WPI sophomore Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) was dealt the loss on five innings pitched, five hits, three runs (all earned), two walks and one strikeout.
Trailing 7-2 after the first inning, Wheaton chipped away at its deficit over the next three innings with five runs to bring the game within one run at 8-7.
Sophomore Joshua LaJoie (Somers, Conn./Avon Old Farms) got the offense going in the second with a two-run double down the left field line that plated senior Zach Bombard (Belchertown, Mass./Cathedral) and sophomore Joseph Santigate (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Joseph by the Sea) before he was thrown out at third trying to extend his extra-base hit into a triple for the final out of the frame.
In the third, junior Justin Silvestro (Waltham, Mass./BC High) launched his second home run of the season to right center to make it 7-5, while senior Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) scored from third base on a throwing error (failed picked off attempt) to dwindle the gap to one run (7-6).
Both teams scored solo runs in the bottom of the third and the top of the fourth, respectively, thanks to errors to push the score to 8-7.
After a scoreless fifth, Wheaton claimed its second lead of the game, 10-8, with three runs on three hits, no errors and one runner left on base. Senior Tyler Contillo (Uncasville, Conn./Montville) roped an RBI single to right field, junior Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) followed with a run-producing single to right center and Santigate lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to account for the scoring, which all occurred with the bases loaded.
The Engineers answered with one run in the seventh on an RBI ground out to the short stop, but Clement and Bisceglia kept WPI's offense at bay over the final two innings only allowing one runner to reach second base.
Wheaton held a 2-0 advantage in the top of the first as De La Cruz and junior Mike Beneduce (North Kingstown, R.I./Moses Brown School) connected on back-to-back RBI doubles.
WPI responded with seven runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a commanding 7-2 lead, at the time, on just two hits. The Engineers displayed patience at the plate registering seven walks to aid the seven-run frame, which included two bases loaded free passes for runs.
LaJoie finished the contest going 4-for-5 with one run scored and two RBI, while De La Cruz and Lavanchy also collected multi-hit games.