WPI 13, Endicott 9
Worcester, MA --- Senior Mike Swanton (Foxboro, MA) launched a pair of two-run home runs and classmate Matt Moreau (Manchester, NH) had four RBI of his own, powering host WPI to a 13-10 victory over visiting Endicott in non-conference baseball action on Tuesday afternoon. Endicott fought back from a seven-run deficit to tie the game before the Engineers secured the win in the late innings.
The game is the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams, which will also play at Endicott on Wednesday. WPI improved its record to 22-10 with the win, while Endicott dropped to 27-16 on the year with the loss.
The visitors got off to a great start, as leadoff hitter Andrew Betts (Bristol, CT) blasted the first pitch of the game over the fence in left for a 1-0 Endicott lead. The Gulls also scored a single run in the second, on a leadoff double from Joe Kasabuski (Saugus, MA) and a RBI double off the bat of second baseman Robbie Goldstick (Deerfield, IL).
WPI, however, established an early five-run lead with crooked numbers in both innings. The Engineers plated five in the first, with the big blow coming from a two-run double from Moreau. Mark Dignum (Albany, NY) and Cody McGregor (Westfield, MA) also drove in runs in the inning, with WPI adding its fifth run on a throwing error to lead 5-1 after one.
The Crimson and Gray, ranked ninth in the initial NCAA New England Division III regional rankings, led 7-2 after adding two more runs in the second. After Paul Galligan (Weymouth, MA) was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, Swanton launched his third home run of the year to right-center, as WPI jumped out ahead by five. The hosts added two more runs in the fourth, getting a leadoff solo shot from catcher Joe Walsh (Weymouth, MA), his third of the season, and a two-out RBI single from Moreau that made the score 9-2 WPI.
Endicott staged an impressive comeback though, getting all seven runs of the deficit back in the fifth and sixth innings to draw even. The Gulls used RBI base hits from Colin Sitarz (West Hartford, CT) and Kasabuski in the fifth to pull to within 9-4, then catcher John Halsey (Reading, MA) connected on a two-run home run to right center to cut the WPI lead to three. After a Ralph Fidaleo (Fairfield, CT) sac fly in the sixth, Sitarz hammered a two-run homer of his own, capping the Gulls' comeback and giving the visitors new life.
WPI answered back with four unanswered runs over the next three innings, providing enough offense for the win. Moreau picked up his fourth RBI of the day on a run-scoring double in the sixth that gave WPI the lead back at 10-9. A Walsh RBI groundout in the seventh gave the Engineers some needed insurance, while Swanton's second home run of the game and fourth of the year, this time to right, capped the scoring for the hosts. The Gulls added a run in the ninth on a Betts single up the middle, but there would be no second comeback in Endicott's bats this afternoon.
Jason Forte (Carlisle, MA) earned the victory with four innings of relief for the Engineers. Forte (1-0) allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out three in support of starter Thomas Whiting (Farmington Hills, MI) who went the first five frames. Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) was one of five Engineers with multi-hit days on Tuesday, joining teammates Swanton, Moreau and Walsh. Swanton scored three runs, while Galligan posted the rare line of 1-for-1 with five runs and an RBI for the victors.
Sitarz paced Endicott with a 3-for-4 day with three runs batted in. The Gulls had five players with multiple hits, as Kasabuski had a four-hit afternoon with three runs scored, Betts was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, and Halsey and Goldstick chipped in two hits apiece. Tyler Hitchcock (Abington, MA) was saddled with the loss for Endicott, falling to 2-2 on the year.
The two teams endured multiple weather-related scares, but were able to complete the game despite cool, rainy and blustery conditions as thunderstorms loomed in the Worcester area. They hope for better weather for tomorrow's contest, scheduled for 4pm at Endicott in Beverly, MA.