Worcester, MA – Clark sophomore Andrew LeBlanc (Farmington, CT) fired a complete game five-hitter and freshman Brian Sullivan (Auburn, MA) made a pair of key plays as the host Cougars knocked off crosstown rival WPI, 3-2 at Granger Field in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) baseball action on Tuesday.
The win pushes Clark's overall record to 14-14 and 4-11 in league play, while the Engineers dip to 11-18 and 7-8 in conference action.
WPI took a lead in the top of the first when LeBlanc's first two pitches resulted in a single by Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA) and a double down the right field line by Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA), putting runners on second and third with no outs. A passed ball allowed a run to score, but LeBlanc was able to get out of the rest of the inning unscathed.
After retiring six of the first seven batters he faced, Engineer hurler Sean Minor (Sherman Oaks, CA) surrendered a leadoff triple to Kevin Kopec (Katonah, N.Y.) to open the third. Kopec then evened the game on an RBI groundout by Jeremy Gerber (Amherst, Mass.).
WPI wasted little time moving back ahead as Daniel Thomas (Manchester, NH) led off the fourth inning with a towering blast to deep left center field that sailed high over the outfield fence for his fifth homerun of the season, making the score 2-1.
Later in the frame, the Engineers again had runners on second and third with less than two outs, but LeBlanc was able to wiggle his way out of the rest of the inning without allowing a run. From then on, he was dominant, retiring 13 of the next 14 batters he faced.
The Cougar offense tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Scott Hollingsworth (Tilton, NH) reached on an error and then eventually scored on a bases loaded walk to Kopec.
Clark looked poised to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Hollingsworth found himself on second base with one out. WPI reliever Kyle Boucher (Manchester, NH) entered the contest and promptly retired the next two batters to keep the game even at 2-2.
The Cougars finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth when Peter Lewis (Gardiner, ME) opened the frame with a single to left. After he was sacrificed to second by Nicholas Kellogg (Florence, MA), and Hollingsworth flew out, Sullivan crushed a 1-2 offering to the base of the left field fence that scored Lewis with the go ahead run.
The Engineers looked as if they would open the top of the ninth with a runner in scoring position when John Flynn (Albion, ME) cracked a deep fly to right field, but Sullivan made a spectacular catch near the right field fence to record the out.
LeBlanc then struck out the final two batters of the contest to pick up his fourth win of the season. He struck out a career-high nine batters for the second consecutive start – both against WPI.
Lewis had two of the Cougars' five hits, while Bean had two of the Engineers' five.
Boucher (2-4) took the loss for WPI, going 2.2 innings and allowing just two hits, one earned run and striking out three.
Clark returns to the diamond on Friday with a road contest at MIT. WPI, meanwhile, currently tied with Coast Guard in the race for the fourth and final spot in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament, hosts Wheaton at Holy Cross on Friday as well.