WPI 3, Eastern Nazarene 2
Winter Haven, FL --- In his first collegiate start, freshman Alex Julian (Sterling, MA) went seven and a third strong innings while striking out eight to lead WPI Baseball to a tight 3-2 win over Eastern Nazarene at the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational on Tuesday. Julian (1-0) allowed only two runs on seven hits, while Thomas Whiting (Farmington Hills, MI) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless in relief to help WPI win its fifth straight to open the 2010 season.
The Engineers fell behind early, as Eastern Nazarene reached Julian for two runs in the third. With two out in the inning, left fielder Danny Rodriquez (Bronx, NY) tripled in a run and Jonathan Ovalles (Bronx, NY) singled in the Lions' second run two batters later to take the early advantage.
WPI would bounce right back however, plating a run in the fourth to cut the deficit in half. Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) doubled to lead off the inning, coming around to score on a base hit from Jameson Kokolis (Manchester, NH) as WPI pulled to within 2-1.
As Julian settled down in the middle innings, the Engineers had their opportunity to tie the score. In the fifth, Cody McGregor (Westfield, MA) singled to lead off the inning and John Flynn (Albion, ME) was hit by a pitch to start the rally. Following a double steal, an infield hit from Paul Galligan (Weymouth, MA) sent McGregor in with the tying run, with Flynn following close behind after a throwing error for a 3-2 Engineers lead.
Julian and Whiting made the lead stand up, holding the Lions scoreless over the final six innings. Whiting went 1 2/3 innings and allowed only one hit while striking out two en route to his third save of the trip. Justin Denbow (Readfield, ME) suffered the hard-luck loss for Eastern Nazarene, despite looking strong in eight innings of work. Denbow allowed two earned runs on six hits with six Ks. He did not walk a batter.
Galligan paced the Engineers with two of the team's six hits. Rodriquez led Eastern Nazarene with a 3-for-4 day, falling just a home run short of a cycle, while catcher Johan Villalona (Bronx, NY) had two hits for the Lions.
WPI Baseball will enjoy a scheduled day off on Wednesday before returning on Thursday to take on rival RPI in Auburndale, FL at 9:30am. Eastern Nazarene will play a doubleheader on Wednesday against Moravian at Chain O' Lakes Park in Winter Haven. Gametime is at 12pm.