Wild Ninth Does in Baseball After Comeback at Springfield

Aidan Freeburg

Springfield, MA --- The Springfield College baseball team walked off with a 3-2 win on a wild pitch to take a critical New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game over WPI on Berry-Allen Field Friday afternoon.

Springfield improves to 14-11 (8-7 NEWMAC) with the win while WPI drops to 16-12 (9-6 NEWMAC) with the loss.

After WPI tied the game up in the top of the ninth, the Pride used some late game heroics to take the conference game. Jared Hopkins (Cranston, RI) singled to right field to lead off the inning and Billy Paskowski (Wappingers Falls, NY) moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt. The Engineers intentionally walked Steve Starr (Lebanon, CT) with one out in the inning to preserve the chance at a double-play ball, but both runners advanced in the next at-bat on a wild pitch. Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT) got the second out of the inning as the Pride lined out to first base. Frank Calabrese (East Longmeadow, MA) was intentionally walked to load the bases, but a wild pitch scored Hopkins for the walk-off win.

Travis Lane (Canton, CT) pitched a gem for the Pride, but took the no decision after a late run from the Engineers tied the game. The senior allowed just two hits and one run while striking out six in six innings of work. Lane held a no-hitter through the first five innings. Matt Butrym (Schenectady, NY) pitched 2.1 innings of relief for Springfield and Peter Baranski (Hamden, CoT) earned the win (2-0), pitching the final two-thirds of the ninth, allowing just one hit.

Aidan Freeburg (Billerica, MA) had a solid start on the mound for WPI, allowing just five hits and two runs, one earned in seven innings of work. Andrew Portera (Alpharetta, GA) took the loss for the Engineers (1-2).

Springfield was led offensively by Billy Peterson (Wareham, MA) and Hopkins, with two hits apiece. Calabrese and CJ Monroe (Wolcott, CT) each drove in a run on one hit.

WPI was led by Zach Blanchard (Warwick, RI) and Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA) with a hit and an RBI each.

The Pride got on the board early, taking a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Starr took a walk with one out in the inning and stole second to get into scoring position. Calabrese reached an an error by the second baseman that allowed Starr to score.

Springfield took a two-run advantage in the third inning on a two-out RBI double from Monroe that went off the wall in right field. Billy Peterson (Wareham, MA) scored on the play, after leading off the inning with a single up the middle.

Springfield threatened in the bottom of the fifth, but Freeburg got out of the bases loaded jam. With one out in the inning, Peterson reached on an infield single, then Calabrese singled through the left side of the infield to put runners on first and second. Sean Smith (Broken Arrow, OK) moved both runners on a sacrifice bunt and the Pride loaded the bases on a walk. Freeburg got out of the inning on a strikeout.

WPI got its first hit in the sixth, as Steve Petry (Worcester, MA) broke up Lane's no-hit bid with a double to right center to lead off the inning. In the next at-bat, Comei drove him in on a single up the middle to make it a 2-1 game. Lane got out of what could've been a big inning for the Engineers, though. With runners on first and second, Lane posted three-straight outs to get out of the jam with a one run advantage. The senior struck out two and Smith threw out Comei attempting to steal third base.

The Engineers tied it up late with a run in the ninth. Sean Greene (Hingham, MA) reached on a throwing error to start the inning. After advancing to third on a grounder to shortstop, he scored on a single by Blanchard to left field to make it a 2-2 game.

Moments after the game ended, WPI had learned it had secured a spot in the NEWMAC Tournament after Clark knocked of Coast Guard.  The Engineers need only one win tomorrow to clinch the NEWMAC West division and the number two seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament.

Springfield and WPI will square off again on Saturday, as the Engineers host the Pride for a critical NEWMAC doubleheader at 12:00 and 3:00pm at Worcester State.

Release Courtesy Springfield Sports Information