Strong Ninth Inning Propels Baseball Past Westfield State

AUBURNDALE, Fla. - A four run ninth inning propelled the Wheaton College baseball team past Westfield State University, 5-2, on Monday in game five of the RussMatt Invitational. 

The win moves the Lyons to 4-1 on the year, while the Owls slip to 1-4. 

Tommy Larason started the game on the mound for Wheaton, pitching 4.2 innings, giving up eight hits, while striking out three. Jared Clement came in the eighth inning, earning the win for Wheaton, while Eric Dumas collected his third save of the game. 

After retiring the Owls in order in the first inning, the Lyons gave up a run courtesy of a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Nate Barnes. Westfield State doubled its lead in the bottom of the fifth with Dan McCormack scoring after leading off with a double to right center. 

Wheaton pulled within a run in the top of the sixth. Senior Justin Silvestro came in to score the Lyons run after a Westfield State error. 

Trailing 2-1 heading into the ninth inning, Wheaton's offense stepped up to the plate and took charge. The inning kicked off with a Mike Beneduce walk. First-year Jared Sharkey came in to pinch run for Beneduce and quickly stole second. Matt Lavanchy kept things going with a well-placed bunt single down the left field line that moved Sharkey to third. Justin Sellar came up next and blasted the ball back to the pitcher, leaving him unable to make a play, loading the bases. 

With the bases juiced, the Owl pitcher walked Ty Calabro, knotting up the game at 2-2. Sophomore shortstop Joshua LaJoie knocked in the next two runs with a double to deep center field that brought in both Calabro and Sellar. The final run came moments later as Tyler Walsh singled through the left side, allowing Jimmy Smith to cross home. 

Now with a 5-2 advantage, Dumas took to the mound in the bottom half of the inning and sat the Owls in order.  

Wheaton returns to the invitational on Wednesday, March 16 at 10:30 a.m. for a contest against Rugers-Camden. 

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