Wheaton 12, WPI 1 (Game 1)
Wheaton 17, WPI 3 (Game 2)
Worcester, MA --- On another chilly afternoon at the Class of 1893 Field, WPI Baseball was overwhelmed by visiting NEWMAC-rival Wheaton in its final doubleheader of the regular season, falling 12-1 and 17-3, to wrap up its conference regular season schedule on Sunday afternoon.
The wins clinched the NEWMAC regular season title and the #1 seed in the conference tournament for the Lyons (21-7, 11-1 NEWMAC). It marks the 11th time in the last 12 years that Wheaton has clinched at least a share of the regular season crown and the ninth time the Lyons have won the title outright. Wheaton will hold the top seed for the 10th time in tournament history and the first time since 2007.
WPI dropped to 19-8 (7-5 NEWMAC) with the defeats, falling to third place overall in the conference. The Engineers will be the #3 seed in the NEWMAC Tournament and will host a first round game on Wednesday at 3:30 against fourth-seeded Clark. The Engineers were 2-0 against the Cougars this season.
In the opener, Wheaton posted single runs in the first and fourth innings before exploding for five-run innings in the fifth and sixth to break open a tight contest. The Lyons led 2-0 after four on Dan Haugh (Andover, MA) and Eric Jensen (Gorham, NH) RBI singles. In the fifth, 2B Tad Skelley (Wolfeboro, NH) opened the frame with a double before a pair of errors allowed Hal Landers (Salem, NH) to reach and Skelley to score to make it 3-0. DH Sean Ryan (Norton, MA) and Paul Malaguti (Andover, MA) followed with infield hits to load the bases before a single from Haugh plated two more Wheaton runs. Sean Munley (Trenton, NJ) then picked up an RBI single and Jeff Lieneck (Foxboro, MA) a sac fly as the visitors raced ahead by a 7-0 score.
Wheaton's hit parade continued in the sixth, as the Lyons added six more hits in the inning. After singles from Hadi Raad (Hastings-on-Hudson, NY) and Skelley to open the inning, Wheaton received RBI hits from Ryan, Malaguti, Munley and Lieneck, as well as a RBI groundout for Haugh that gave the third baseman four for the game, as the NEWMAC regular season champs went up 12-0. WPI got a run back via a brief two-out rally in the sixth. Mike Swanton (Foxboro, MA) was hit and Jameson Kokolis (Manchester, NH) reached on an infield single before a single to left from Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) gave the Crimson and Gray its only run.
Nick Kostaras (North Attleboro, MA) cruised to the victory for Wheaton. Kostaras (3-1) allowed just one hit and one walk over five shutout innings to pick up the win. Haugh's four RBI for the Lyons were a game high, and the sophomore also went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Ryan was also 3-for-4 with two runs in game one, while Malaguti and Skelley each picked up two hits while scoring twice. Kokolis, McClune, Paul Galligan (Weymouth, MA) and Joe Walsh (Weymouth, MA) recorded the four Engineer hits off Lyons pitching.
Game two started off well for the Engineers, as WPI jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on RBI singles from McClune and Galligan and a sac fly from Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA). But the Lyons fought back by clubbing 16 hits and scored 17 unanswered runs over the next seven innings, while the Engineers committed seven errors in the field, en route to a 17-3 Wheaton victory. The visitors tied the game with three runs in the second inning, followed by scoring eight more times over the next three frames to seize control. Wheaton added six runs in the eighth to reach the final margin.
Haugh added another 3-for-4 showing with three runs for the Lyons in game two, while Jason Clucas (Peabody, MA) and Munley each drove in three runs for the victors. Lieneck was 2-for-4 with three runs while Landers added three hits and two runs scored. Starter Corey Laliberte (Fall River, MA) tossed seven innings en route to the win, settling down after the three-run first inning. Laliberte (3-1) only allowed two WPI hits over his final six innings of work. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
McClune and Galligan paced WPI at the plate with two hits and an RBI each. Swanton and Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA) each contributed a hit and a run scored for the hosts.
Baseball will be home for its NEWMAC Tournament opening round game versus Clark on Wednesday at 3:30pm. Wheaton will host MIT in its opening round game at the same time.