Worcester, MA --- In the final game of his career, Shane Sampson (Worcester, MA) tallied three hits and pulled the rare feat of playing all nine positions during the contest as the WPI baseball team beat Nichols 12-7 Wednesday afternoon in its last contest of the 2013 season. The Engineers finished the season 14-23 overall and 5-13 in conference play. With three games remaining Nichols is 5-28.
In nearly 150 years of major league baseball, only four players (Cesar Tovar of the Twins in 1968, Bert Campenaris of the Athletics in 1965, Scott Shelden of the Rangers in 2000, and Shane Halter of the Tigers in 2000) accomplished what Sampson did today. The senior captain started the day in his normal catching position before ending the game as the pitcher, a position he excelled in last year until a season-ending injury. He allowed no hits and accounted for two outs, striking out one and making the play for the other out.
In the bottom of the second, D.J. Ouelette (Watertown, CT) led off with a double to right center. WPI loaded the bases when both Matt Blakeman (Bedford, NH) and Cody Holmes (Plymouth, MA) were hit by pitches. But the Engineers could only plate one run in the inning on John Caliri's (Hanson, MA) walk.
WPI was able to keep the Bison at bay and were able to score two more runs in the third off of four hits. The inning was highlighted by Alex Venditti's (Newton, MA) two-run homer to deep right center. The Engineer momentum was halted by a Bison double play and the inning ended 4-3 in favor of Nichols.
In the fifth inning, the Crimson and Gray tied things up when for a second time on the day two WPI players were hit by pitches. After stealing second, Blakeman scored the tying run on a Holmes' double down the right field line. The Boynton Hillers went ahead in the sixth inning on three hits including singles by Sean Kelly (Shrewsbury, MA), Venditti and Sampson.
Nichols scored two in the seventh on a Brady Boisvert (Plainfield, NH) double and a Nicolace single that plated Boisvert. WPI answered scoring one themselves tying the game 6-6.
WPI opened things up in the bottom of the eighth going ahead 12-7. The Engineers hit through the cycle and tallied seven hits and recorded six unearned runs. Sampson, Blakeman, Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA), Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, NY), Kelly, Venditti and Ouellette each hit singles to account for all of the hits in the inning.
Venditti tallied four hits and four RBI, while Kelly and Ouelette both posted three hits and an RBI apiece. Sam Miraglia (West Babylon, NY) earned his first career win for WPI, while Chris Johnson (Mansfield, MA) shouldered the loss for Nichols (1-2).
WPI will open the 2014 season in Central Florida with a doubleheader on Sunday, March 9th. Nichols concludes its 2013 campaign with a three-game homestand on Saturday with a noon twinbill against Roger Williams.