Worcester, MA --- Southpaw Eric Johnson (Rutland, MA) hurled seven scoreless innings and Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) hit an RBI single as WPI beat the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 2-0 in NEWMAC baseball action on Friday afternoon at H.L. Rochleau Field on the Assumption campus. WPI is now 17-8 with a 6-3 mark in the conference standings while Coast Guard drops to 11-14 overall with a 5-7 mark in the NEWMAC.
The game was scoreless through five-and-a-half innings when, in the bottom of the sixth, McClune smashed a two-out single to right field, scoring David Trujillo (Sutton, MA) who had earlier walked and stole second with two outs. On the very next at-bat, Brendan Walsh(Windham, NH) scored from third on a wild pitch, and the Engineers were suddenly up 2-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, WPI seemed poised to add to that lead when John Flynn (Albion, ME) singled to right with runners at first and second with two outs. But Coast Guard right fielder Nolan Gallagher (New Milford, CT) made a perfect throw to gun down WPI's Tim Erlandson (Hudson, MA) at home plate to end the inning.
The Bears were unable to capitalize, however, as Taylor Landry (Kennebunk, ME) pitched two scoreless innings for his fourth save of the season and Flynn made a diving catch in centerfield in the bottom of the ninth to give WPI the victory.
Johnson struck out three while scattering six hits to keep the Bears off the board. The junior is now 3-0 on the season and has not allowed an earned run in 23 innings of work this spring. McClune went 3-for-4 on the day with a double in addition to his RBI while Matt Blakeman (Bedford, NH) went 2-for-3 with a double at the plate to lead the Engineers.
For the Bears, Riley Beecher (Elgin, TX) totaled six strikeouts in a complete game effort, allowing just two runs. Six Bears each had a hit, with Joe Petry (Worcester, MA) and Cameron Carroll (Reno, NV) both coming up with doubles. Chris Izurieta (Mason, OH), Tyler Babkiewich (Golden, CO), Mike Shannon (Durham, NC) and Gallagher each had a single.
The fast-paced game took only an hour and forty-three minutes, featuring just a pair of errors and two double-plays, one by each team.
The two teams conclude their three-game series Saturday in New London, CT. First pitch for the doubleheader is slated for noon.
Story by Mike Rupp