Ninth Inning Comeback Falls Short for Baseball Versus Clark

Brendan Walsh

Worcester, MA --- Clark University got a standout pitching performance from Andrew LeBlanc (Farmington, CT) and the host Cougars avoided a three-game series sweep by holding on for an 8-6 win over New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival WPI on Tuesday afternoon at Granger Field.

The win for Clark (7-19) snaps a seven game losing streak and puts an end to the Engineers (19-9) eight game winning streak.

LeBlanc went eight strong innings, allowing just seven hits, no earned runs and had nine strikeouts. Things, however, got interesting when he left after throwing 131 pitches and the score 8-2.

David Balme (Brooklyn, NY) allowed a leadoff double to Matt Blakeman (Bedford, NH) and a single to Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) before a wild pitch brought in a run and hit batsman put runners on the corners with no outs. David Trujillo (Sutton, MA) then doubled off of the Cougars' second reliever, Brian Sullivan (Auburn, MA), pushing another run across.

After Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Sullivan was able to strike out Kyle Bartosik (Midland Park, NJ) to record the first out of the inning. Pinch hitter Brendan Walsh (Windham, NH) then doubled down the right field line, sending a ball just over the glove of outstretched first baseman Austin Kneif (Scarsdale, NY), to force two more runs across the plate, tightening the gap to 8-4.

Sullivan, however, was able to strike out both Tim Erlandson (Hudson, MA) and Steve Petry (Worcester, MA) to secure the win.

The Cougars opened the game by scoring four runs in the first off of WPI starter, Trujillo. Both Kneif and Matt Asdornvuttikrai (Winchester, MA) had RBI doubles, while Nicholas Kellogg (Florence, MA) and Michael Lamothe (Bellingham, MA) each recorded run-scoring singles.

Trujillo (2-3), who picked up a win over the Cougars in last week's 5-2 contest after going six strong innings, lasted just one frame in today's contest, allowing five hits and four runs – only two of which were earned.

Clark tacked on a run in the second on a wild pitch, then scored three in the fourth, highlighted by Kneif's two-run single.

WPI put its first two runs on the board in fourth when one run scored on a catcher's interference and another unearned run crossed the dish on a Petry bases loaded walk.

The Cougars banged out 13 hits on the day led by three hits apiece from Shawn Lamothe (Bellingham, MA), Michael Lamothe and Kneif.

Blakeman was the only Engineers to record multiple hits (3-for-5), while eight others all had one hit.

WPI returns to action on Wednesday when they travel to Fitchburg State, while Clark will next play on Friday when they host MIT.