Murphy's Gem Helps Baseball Earn Saturday Split with Coast Guard

Nolan Murphy

Holden, MA --- WPI's Nolan Murphy (Shrewsbury, MA) tossed 6 1/3 strong innings in the opener and Coast Guard's Nolan Gallagher (New Milford, CT) tallied three RBI in the night cap as the two spilt an important NEWMAC doubleheader played at a sun-soaked Wachusett Regional High School on Saturday afternoon.  The host Engineers (11-16) took game one 4-2 before the Bears (17-11) rallied from an early 4-0 deficit in the second game to win 9-6.

Both teams are now 7-7 in NEWMAC conference play with Coast Guard - a 3-0 winner in Friday's series-opener in New London, CT - winning the series two games to one.   They are tied for the fourth and final spot in the NEWMAC Tournament with each team having four conference games remaining.  WPI is at Clark on Tuesday for a single game before playing a three-game series against Wheaton next weekend.  Coast Guard takes on Babson Tuesday and faces Springfield in a three-game set next Friday and Saturday.  

WPI would score all four of its runs in the opener on just one hit in the bottom of the fourth inning.  After walks to Daniel Thomas (Manchester, NH) and Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA), Shane Sampson (Worcester, MA) sacrifice bunt was mishandled to load the bases. Senior Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA) plated Thomas with a single and McClune came around to score on a throwing error.  Two batters later Alex Posch (Hopedale MA) executed a squeeze play to perfection to score Sampson.  Matt Blakeman (Bedford NH) closed out the WPI rally with a RBI groundout.

Murphy was outstanding in his first start after an injury nearly two weeks ago.  The graduate student took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.  He improved to 2-1 on the season and picked up his 10th career victory by yielding just three hits and three walk.  While Murphy put two runners on in the seventh with just one out, junior Sean Minor (Sherman Oaks, CA) came on and got a strikeout and then allowed a two-run double to left to Gallagher who was thrown out at third base to end the game.  It marked just the third career relief appearance for the right hander, and his first save since the opening game of the 2009 NCAA Tournament versus Suffolk.

The Engineers played strong defense ending threats in both the first and sixth innings throw out attempted stolen bases.

Coast Guard's Jesse Karr (Milan, MI) absorbed the loss despite pitching well for the Bears.  The senior went the distance, allowing just two earned runs and struck out five while seeing his record even out at 3-3.

WPI came out firing on all cylinders in the nightcap.  After starting pitcher Kyle Boucher (Manchester MA) struck out the side in the top of the first, the Crimson and Gray put four on the board in the bottom of the frame with hits on four of the first five at-bats and RBI base knocks by Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA), Thomas, Sampson and Mike Gauvin (Leominster, MA).

Coast Guard got a run back in the second on a Mike Salerno (Ellicott City, MD) run-producing double before breaking through with four runs in the top of the third inning.   With two outs, Eddie Kalankiewicz (San Diego, CA) delivered an RBI single through the right side to slice the lead to 4-2.  After a walk and a hit batsman, Gallagher stroked another single throw the right side to plate two runs and tie the game before a balk gave the Beats their first lead of the game.

WPI tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Watkins chased Posch home with an RBI single to right.  Coast Guard avoided further damage on the play as Gallagher throw out a runner at the plate that would have given the Engineers the lead back.

Coast Guard took the lead for good with three runs in the top of sixth.  Two batters after a walk, a bunt single and another bunt where an out was not recorded, loaded the bases, Dave Wolinski (Henrico, VA) notched an RBI single to left and Derek Petry (Worcester, MA) delivered a sacrifice fly.  The Bears tacked on another run in the frame on an Engineer miscue.

The teams closed out the scoring by trading runs in the seventh.  Gallagher collected his fifth RBI of the day in the top half for the Bears while Thomas launched his fourth homer of the year for the Engineers in the bottom of the inning. 

Coast Guard starter Derek Petty (Parker, CO) overcame the rocky first inning to even his mark at 3-3 on the season.  The sophomore went seven innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs while ringing up eight strikeouts.  Riley Beecher (Elgin, TX) and Tyler Vieira (Dumfries, VA) both tossed scoreless innings of relief to secure the win for the Bears. For Vieira, who started a nifty 1-6-3 double play after he walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning, it was his NEWMAC-leading sixth save of the season and second of the series.  The sophomore also set the new Coast Guard record with his eighth career save.

Reliever Forrest Dwyer (Winthrop ME) shouldered the loss for WPI  The junior allowed four runs (three earned) in four innings of work.  Gauvin joined Gallagher as the only players with three hits in the contest.

WPI is back in action Monday at 3:30pm when they host Worcester County rival Fitchburg State at Assumption.  Coast Guard's next outing is Tuesday at home at 3:30pm versus Babson.