Worcester, MA --- Wheaton secured at least a share of its third straight NEWMAC regular season title and 13th in the 14 year history of the conference by sweeping a doubleheader from host WPI Saturday afternoon by scores of 5-3 and 10-1 in games play at Holy Cross' Fitton Field.
The Lyons can clinch the outright title and the number one seed in the NEWMAC Tournament by either winning one of three games next weekend versus Clark or having Babson lose any of its three games next weekend against Springfield.
Wheaton, ranked number one in the most recent New England Coaches Poll and sixth nationally in the latest D3baseball.com Top 25, pushes its record to 24-4 this spring and 13-2 in conference play. WPI is now 19-13 on the season and 8-7 in NEWMAC action.
Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, RI) had a pair of RBI singles and Hal Landers (Salem, MA) recorded three hits to lead Wheaton to a 5-3 victory in game one.
After both teams traded single runs in the third, the Lyons broke the deadlock in the sixth on a Dan Haugh (Andover, MA) RBI triple and a De la Cruz run-producing single.
Wheaton extended the lead to 5-1 in the top half of the seventh with an unearned run and De la Cruz's second RBI single of the game.
The Engineers responded when Brendan Walsh (Windham, NH) and Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) both scored off a fielder's choice and an error with the bases loaded. Ryan Grant (Easton, MA), who came in to relieve starter Frank Holbrook (Middleton, RI) earlier in the inning, got the final out a few batters later to record his seventh save of the season.
Four WPI batters had a hit while Kyle Bartosik (Midland Park, NJ) and Mark Blakeman (Bedford, NH) had RBIs. Crimson and Gray starter Eric Johnson (Rutland, MA) suffered his first loss in four decisions this season despite equaling his career-high with nine strikeouts. Holbrook improved to 4-0, allowing just two earned runs and one walk with two strikeouts.
Wheaton hurler Alec Palioca (Wrentham, MA) threw seven scoreless innings while De la Cruz had four hits and Haugh recorded four RBIs to help the Lyons sweep WPI with a 10-1 triumph in game two.
Wheaton exploded for eight runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by two-run doubles by Haugh and Eric Jensen (Gorham, MA). Landers, De la Cruz, Dan Gusovsky (Andover, MA), and Dan Demeo (Glastonbury, CT) all had RBIs in the inning. Haugh would add a two-run single in the eighth before WPI got on the board in the bottom half with an unearned run.
Walsh, McClune, and Tim Erlandson (Hudson, MA) all had a hit for the Engineers. Andrew Portera (Alpharetta, GA) was saddled with the loss on the mound. Taylor Landry (Kennebunk, ME) and Steve Petry (Worcester, MA) combined for 5 1/3 innings of strong relief for the Boynton Hillers.
Palioca earned his fifth win of the season, striking out six and walking just one batter. Brian Mylett (Dorchester, MA) and Nick Filloramo (Rochester, MA) each worked an inning for the Lyons without allowing an earned run.
WPI is off until Wednesday until they venture to Rochdale Park in Leicester to face host Becker. First pitch is slated for 7pm. Wheaton returns home Sunday to face Southern Maine at 1pm.
Release by Dave Milone for WPI Athletics