Auburndale, FL --- The WPI baseball team began the season on the wrong end of a sweep at the hands of St. Joseph's (ME) at the RussMatt Invitational. Game one was a 7-2 final while the nightcap ended with a 20-11 score.
The Monks dented the scoreboard three times in the bottom of the first inning of the day. The Engineers finally put one on the board in the fourth thanks to a run-producing double off the bat of senior Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA). St. Joseph's answered with two more in the bottom of the inning and again in the sixth. Senior Nick Comei's (Haverhill, MA) double delivered the second Boynton Hiller run with out in the seventh.
Sophomore Ryan Tropeano (Pembroke, MA) went 2-for-3 at the leadoff spot as junior Matt Howard (Worcester, MA) was 2-for-4 in the the four hole. Defensively, sophomore Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI), senior Connor Kurtz (Lunenburg, MA) and freshman David Larson (Port Tobacco, MD) spun a 5-4-3 double play. Junior Steven D'Agostino (Worcester, MA) went five innings in the start and freshman Nick Colucci (Lynnfield, MA) finished the game for the Engineers.
The two teams combined for 31 hits and 21 runs in the second game. The Monks again claimed a 3-0 lead after one. WPI took one back in the second following a single to center by Larson. St. Joseph's tacked on two more in the top of the third. The Engineers again pushed a runner across with a hit down the right field line in the fourth.
The Monks exploded for eight in the top of the fifth while WPI put together six in the home portion. Capuano began the outburst with a 3-RBI double to center. Later in the inning, freshman Jake Spada (Middleton, MA) delivered another run-producing hit. Comei then chased senior Joe Fainer (Thomaston, CT) home with a fielder's choice and Gallagher added a two-out RBI single. Fainer did some damage of his own with a 2-RBI knock and Spada pitched in with an RBI ground out in the sixth. St. Joseph's tallied seven more in the seventh for the 20-11 final.
Capuano (2 doubles, triple, 3 RBI, 3 runs) led the way with three hits followed by Tropeano, Gallagher, Howard, Fainer (2 RBI, 2 runs), sophomore Austin Lindner (W. Windsor, NJ) and Spada (3 RBI). Junior Evan Lacroix (Methuen, MA) scored twice and sophomore Josh Herlands (Glastonbury, CT) recorded a double.
Seven pitchers got some work in, highlighted by five consecutive strikeouts by junior Drew Gelinas (Saco, ME) early in the game.
Baseball takes on Muskingum (OH) tomorrow. The twinbill is set for a 2:30 first pitch.