Providence, RI -- Catcher Sean Kelly (Shrewsbury, MA) and third baseman Zach Blanchard (Warwick, RI) both had two hits and WPI limited undefeated Johnson & Wales (9-0) to just three runs (one earned), but the Crimson and Gray (6-5) came up just short in a 3-1 loss away to the Wildcats at Scotts Miracle-Gro Field in baseball's first game of the season in New England.
WPI came in having won three of its final four games in a 10-game Spring Break trip to Florida, but the Engineers couldn't keep the momentum going against the tough pitching of Johnson & Wales.
The Crimson and Gray manufactured their lone run in the fourth inning to cut it to 2-1 at the time. Blanchard led off with a double to left, Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA) bunted him over to third, and then David Trujillo (Sutton, MA) brought him home on a ground out.
The Wildcats' Rob West (East Windsor, CT) scattered six hits and one run over seven innings to pick up his second win of the season. Relievers Bryan Quinlan (Pawtucket, RI) and Tim Ashworth (West Chesterfield, NH) both tossed scoreless innings to conclude the contest.
On the WPI side, freshman Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT) spun two scoreless innings, the seventh and eighth, to keep the Engineers in competition until the final at bat. Starter Andrew Portera (Alpharetta, GA) shouldered the loss despite not allowing an earned run over his two innings of work. Sean Greene (Hingham, MA), Aidan Freeburg (Billerica, MA) both tossed scoreless frames.
WPI fell behind, 1-0, in the second after Jake Dickerson (Garnet Valley, PA) led off with a single to the left side, then later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jack Hocking (Hanover, MA).
The hosts made it 2-0 in the bottom of the third when Alex Pezzuto (Hastings, NY) sent a base hit into left field, scoring Kory Ferullo (Rochester, NY). The last JWU run came in the sixth as Dickerson grounded out to the right side to bring in Pezzuto and set the final score.
The Crimson and Gray are back in action at 3:30pm Friday, playing at Brandeis, while Johnson & Wales will try to make it 10-0 when it hosts Coast Guard at 3:30pm Thursday.
Release by Carl Setterlund - WPI Athletics Intern - Emerson '14