Five-Run Fifth Dooms Baseball Against Visiting Westfield State

Mike Swanton

Westfield State 11, WPI 6

Box Score

Worcester, MA --- Visiting Westfield State used a five-run fifth inning to grab control, leading to the Owls' 11-6 victory over WPI in non-conference baseball action on Wednesday afternoon. The win boosts Westfield State's record to 16-6, while the Engineers dropped to 18-6.

The teams matched innings over the first four, with both clubs scoring three times in the second. Owls left fielder Jeff Ackerman (Beverly, MA) blasted a one-out solo homer for a 1-0 lead. Then catcher Pete Hogan (Weymouth, MA) was hit by a pitch before back-to-back doubles from Pete Grillo (Shrewsbury, MA) and Jeff Fields (Pittsfield, MA) put the visitors up by three.

WPI evened the score in its half of the second. Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) led off the inning with a double and Cody McGregor (Westfield, MA) walked to start the rally. A Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA) RBI single plated McClune and McGregor scored on an error to pull the Engineers to within a run. Mike Swanton (Foxboro, MA) lined an RBI single to left later in the inning to even the score at 3-3.

After a scoreless fourth, the Owls erupted for five in the fifth. The first three batters lined hits, as shortstop Ben Wagner (Cumberland, RI) smacked a leadoff single before Ben Campbell (Easthampton, MA) tripled into the gap in right-center to give Westfield State the lead. DH Kevin Lyons (Braintree, MA) singled to plate Campbell as the Owls went up 5-3. After a sac bunt, Ackerman and Hogan produced back-to-back singles, followed by a two-RBI base hit from Grillo, putting the visitors up 8-3.

Westfield State added two more in the seventh and another in the eighth to pull away. Grillo reached on an error and eventually scored the Owls ninth run on a wild pitch. Then, a Fields walk and Wagner single that chased him to third set the table for a sac fly from Campbell that put the Owls ahead 10-3. A Grillo RBI groundout in the eighth gave Westfield State an 11-3 lead.

WPI got three runs back in the eighth, as McClune picked up a one-out double before Daniel Thomas (Manchester, NH) tripled to score McClune with WPI's fourth run. McGregoy followed with a single that scored Thomas. After a passed ball and Kyle Bartosik (Midland Park, NJ) single, McGregor scored on a balk to pull the Crimson and Gray to within 11-6.

Reliever Tymon Muska (Brimfield, MA) got the win for the Owls with three innings of scoreless relief. Muska (2-0) allowed just two hits over the three innings in relief of starter Jesse Vermeersch (Marlboro, MA) who went the first four. Kyle Boucher (Manchester, NH) suffered the loss for WPI, falling to 1-2.

Wagner and Ackerman each had three hits to lead the way for Westfield State at the plate. Grillo had two hits and three RBI, while Fields and Campbell each drove in two for the visitors. Swanton had a 3-for-4 day to lead WPI, improving his team-leading average to .393. McClune was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, while McGregor also scored twice for the hosts.

Baseball will continue its homestand on Friday with a 3:30pm non-conference contest against Westfield State. Westfield State will travel to Keene, NH on Thursday for a 3:30pm game against Keene State.