Leesburg, FL --- Freshman Alex Venditti (Newton, MA) smacked a pair of home runs as WPI split a non-conference baseball doubleheader with regional rival Keene State on Friday at Pat Thomas Stadium in Leesburg, Florida. WPI took the opener 3-1 while the Owls, who have participated in two of the last three NCAA Tournaments, won the nightcap 6-5.
WPI (4-4) broke open a scoreless game one with two runs after two outs in the top of the third. Venditti and David Trujillo (Sutton, MA) got the rally started with walks and D.J. Ouellette (Watertown, CT) was hit by a pitch to load the bases to set the stage for a two-run single by rookie Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, NY).
Keene State got a run back in the third but Venditti countered in the fifth with a homer to right. The Owls got a runner on with one out in the bottom of the seventh but sophomore reliever Taylor Landry (Kennebunk, ME) induced a game-ending line drive double play to third en route to picking his first save of the season and sixth of his career.
Mark Bentson (Brewster, NY) allowed just one earned run over the first six innings to improve to 2-0 on the trip. D'Ambrosio had two of WPI's four hits in the opener with the other two coming from Venditti and Matt Blakeman (Bedford, NH).
The Engineers surged ahead 3-1 in the fourth inning of game two with a Venditti solo homer run to center and a Shane Sampson (Worcester, MA) RBI triple that chased home Trujillo.
Keene State (2-4) use a five-run top of the sixth to take a 6-3 advantage but WPI quickly got two back in the bottom of the frame benefitting from a passed ball and an error. The Crimson and Gray loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but were unable to push across the tying run.
Sam Miraglia (West Babylon, NY) yielded just one run over five innings in his first career start. Reliever Sean Greene (Hingham, MA) shouldered the loss to level his record at 1-1. Ouellette, who notched an RBI double in the first, was the Engineers' only repeat hitter in the night cap.
WPI closes out its 2013 spring break trip Saturday with an 11am doubleheader against Colby-Sawyer at McKeel Academy in Lakeland, Florida.