Thrilling Comeback Sparks Baseball to Doubleheader Sweep

Matt Moreau

Game #1 - WPI 13, St. Joseph's (ME) 12
Game #2 - WPI 9, St. Joseph's (ME) 8

Game #1 Box Score
Game #2 Box Score
 

Winter Haven, FL --- WPI got off to a rough start in its doubleheader against St. Joseph's (ME) on Monday, spotting the Monks a 12-1 lead before rallying back for a thrilling 13-12 come-from-behind victory in game one and defeating St. Joe's 9-8 in game two. Senior outfielder Matt Moreau (Manchester, NH) homered in both games of the doubleheader and posted six RBI to lead the WPI attack. The Engineers moved to 4-0 with the wins, while St. Joe's dropped to 2-2 on the young season. 

St. Joe's, who appeared in the 2008 NCAA Championships, was ranked #26 in the ACBA Preseason Top 30 and received votes in latest D3baseball.com Top 25, got on the board first with two runs in the top of the first inning of game one, then used a 10-run third to take command with a 12-1 lead. WPI second baseman Mark Dignum (Albany, NY) belted a solo home run in the bottom of the first for the Engineers' lone run in the first two frames.

The third inning saw more combined runs cross the plate than in all other innings combined during WPI's first two and a half games of the season. Leading 2-1, the Monks sent 14 men to the plate in the top of the third, scoring 10 times. The key blow in the inning, a three-run home run to left, made a 4-1 game 7-1 in favor of the Monks. St. Joe's would tack on five more in the inning for a 12-1 lead.

WPI continued to battle despite the deficit, and it paid dividends. The Engineers plated seven runs in the bottom of the third to immediately get back into the game. Cody McGregor (Westfield, MA) doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a Joe Walsh (Weymouth, MA) RBI single as the Engineers rebounded right away with six of the first seven batters reaching base in the third. After a Dignum base hit and Paul Galligan (Weymouth, MA) RBI groundout, Moreau blasted WPI's second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left that pulled WPI to within 12-5. DH Mike Swanton (Foxboro, MA) later added an RBI double and Walsh picked up his second RBI base hit of the inning to cap off the seven-run rally that brought the Crimson and Gray to within 12-8.

The Engineers completed their comeback effort in the fifth, scoring five runs to take the lead for the first time. Swanton led off with a single, later scoring after a Jameson Kokolis (Manchester, NH) base hit and McGregor infield single. With one run in, WPI loaded the bases and scored on a Galligan walk before Moreau drove a double into the right-center field gap that plated two more runs and tied the game. Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) followed with a run-producing groundout that gave WPI its first lead at 13-12 after five, a lead that the bullpen would make hold up for the team's third win in as many tries.

Forrest Dwyer (Winthrop, ME) came in out of the 'pen to steady things for the Engineers, delivering 2 2/3 innings of shutout ball as WPI staged its comeback. Dwyer (1-0) struck out three. Jason Forte (Carlisle, MA) added an inning of scoreless work before Thomas Whiting (Farmington Hills, MI) came on and struck out two in a scoreless seventh for his first save of 2010. Walsh was 3-for-3 with two runs scored in the opener, while Moreau paced WPI with four RBI. Swanton also had three hits, while Dignum had a game-high three runs scored in game one.

WPI kept up its momentum in game two, scoring the first five runs of the game to take the early advantage. Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA) picked up an RBI single in the second, followed by a Walsh sac fly, giving the Engineers a 2-0 lead after two. WPI would plate three more in the third to take control. John Flynn (Albion, ME) lined a single to center that scored two for a 4-0 WPI edge, while McGregor's RBI groundout gave the Boynton Hillers a 5-0 lead.

St. Joe's came back in the middle innings, scoring in four consecutive innings to get back into the game. The Monks pushed across one run in the third and three in the fourth to chase Engineers starter Kyle Boucher (Manchester, NH), then added a pair of runs off freshman Brian Schopka (Tinton Falls, NJ).

WPI kept the Monks at bay however, scoring twice in the fourth and fifth to keep hold of the lead, 9-6. Moreau launched his second two-run homer of the day in the fourth, and the Engineers added two more in the fifth via a McClune sac fly and an unearned run. WPI also scored in four straight frames, helping it stay out in front despite seven errors from the defense.

St. Joe's scratched across another run in the sixth and one in the seventh but fell a run short. Whiting came on in the seventh and allowed a run but closed the door for his second save of the day. The senior reliever only had five career saves before today's action. Boucher (1-0) pitched well to earn his first win, going four innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits. He struck out two and walked one. Schopka was also effective in his first work at the college level, tossing three innings and allowing two earned on five hits.  Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) was 3-for-4 in the second game, while Moreau, Galligan and Flynn each had two hits to spark the WPI offense.

WPI Baseball returns to action on Tuesday when it will take on Eastern Nazarene at 9am before a scheduled day off on Wednesday.