Baseball Eliminated from NEWMAC Tournament Hunt After Sweep at Wheaton

Bryan Watkins

Norton, MA --- The WPI baseball team's quest to qualify for next week's NEWMAC Tournament was derailed on Saturday as the Engineers were swept at Wheaton by scores of 17-0 and 9-4.  The sweep gave the host Lyons a share of the NEWMAC regular season championship with Babson and, with MIT's split Saturday with Clark, Wheaton snagged the four-team tournament's top seed.

WPI moves to 11-21 season and sees its NEWMAC slated end with a 7-11 mark.  Wheaton, who started the conference season 0-3, completed the league schedule with a 13-5 record and improves to 22-7 on the season.  A winner in 18 of its last 21 games, the Lyons will host fourth seed Coast Guard in Wednesday's opening round at 3:30pm.

Wheaton junior Dan Haugh (Andover, MA) was outstanding at the plate, going a combined 6-for-6 with five RBI and four runs, as the third baseman now has 49 RBI on the season to go alongside 16 doubles.  His 16 doubles are tied for fifth in program history and are one shy of the 17 he hit last season, while his career-best 49 RBI ties senior teammate Sean Munley (Ewing, NJ) for sixth.

The Lyons pounded out 19 hits during its 17-run showing in the opener, overshadowing a stellar pitching performance from sophomore Frank Holbrook (Middleton, RI), who improved to a perfect 5-0 after firing a two-hit shutout with four strikeouts and two walks.  Graduate student Nolan Murphy (Shrewsbury, MA) took the loss after yielding nine earned runs in 1.1 innings. Bryce Calvetti (Derry, NY) and Joe Giesecke (Mashasset, NY) both tossed scoreless innings of relief for the Engineers, who received hits from Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) and Alex Posch (Hopedale, MA).

Haugh went 3-for-3 with three runs and two RBI, sophomore Dan Gusovsky (Andover, MA) was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI, and freshman Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, NH) smacked a grand slam.  Seniors Hadi Raad (Hastings-on-Hudson, NY) and Tad Skelley (Wolfeboro, NH) and sophomore Eric Jensen (Gorham, NH) plated two runs apiece, while junior Hal Landers (Salem, NH) had two hits.

 
After putting two runs on the board in the first, Wheaton exploded with a nine-run second frame.  Jensen, Raad and Skelley each recorded two-run hits.  Gusovsky's two-run double in the third made the score 13-0 before Bisceglia topped off the scoring with a fifth-inning grand slam over the deepest part of the fence in center.
 
Game two saw the Lyons jump out to a 7-0 lead after four before the Engineers plated four in the fifth to close within three.  However, Wheaton sophomore Justin Dickinson (Stratford, CT) came on in relief and closed the door, tossing 2.2 shutout frames with four strikeouts to earn the win.  Offensively, Haugh had three hits and three RBI, Landers notched three hits while scoring twice, and Bisceglia and Jensen each drove in a pair.
 
Skelley began Wheaton's two-out rally in the second with a double.  Raad laid down a perfect bunt to advance Skelley to third, and Landers brought in the first run with a single to left.  Jensen and Haugh then each hit two-RBI singles for a 5-0 lead.  Bisceglia's fourth-inning double brought two home to make the score 7-0. 

WPI clawed back to slice the advantage to 7-4 with a four-run rally in the top of the fifth.  A Bryan Watkins (Belmont MA) two-run single plated John Flynn (Albion, ME) and Posch before Watkins came plateward on a passed ball and Bean crossed the dish on a wild pitch.

After the WPI uprising, the Lyons tacked on single runs in each the fifth and sixth frames to complete the scoring.
 
Sophomore Alex Julian (Sterling, MA) was saddled with the loss, giving up seven earned runs on 10 hits with five walks in 4.2 innings. Sophomore Daniel Thomas (Manchester, NH) was the lone multiple hitter, going 2-for-3, while senior Watkins plated two runs.

The Engineers return to the diamond on Monday with its scheduled home finale.  The Crimson and Gray host Becker at 3:30pm at Holy Cross' Fitton Field. Wheaton hosts Keene State College tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. in its final tune-up before Wednesday's NEWMAC Tournament begins. 

Release Courtesy Wheaton Sports Information