Auburndale, FL --- WPI's Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA) and Wentworth's Jordan Burst (Jackson, NJ) each registered walk-off singles as the two teams split a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon at Lake Myrtle Park in Auburndale, Florida. The Engineers took the opener 3-2 while the Leopards were victorious by an identical score in eight innings in game two.
Wentworth trailed 2-1 and down to its last out in the top of the seventh inning when Jimmy Temte (Northboro, MA) blasted his second homer of the season to left field to tie the game. Sean Kelly (Shrewsbury, MA) led off the bottom of the seventh for the Engineers with a single and, after a pair of strikeouts by Leopard reliever Dakota Baird (Bermuda Dunes, CA), moved to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. They set the stage for Comei, who deposited a line drive of the head of the shortstop to make a winner out of the Engineers.
Wentworth struck early when Christian Ferri (Bloomfield, NJ) led off the game with a single through the right side and Joe Hulme (Tewkesbury, MA) quickly followed with a double to right center before Jake Mailman (Medway, MA) delivered a sacrifice fly to center. WPI countered in the bottom of the second inning Alex Venditti (Newton, MA) poked a double down the left field line and scored after Zach Blanchard (Warwick, RI) parachuted a ball down the left field line.
The Engineers went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, taking advantage of a pair of Leopard errors that led to Sean Greene (Hingham, MA) trotting home on a DJ Ouellette (Watertown, CT) bloop single.
WPI starter Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn, MA) settled down after the rocky start and allowed seven hits and walked none while punching out a pair while the distance to earn the win. Tyler Weninger (Chandler, AZ) was solid on the hill for Wentworth. The rookie was tagged with just one earned run in six innings of walk and six.
The Engineers jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in opening frame of game when Venditti chased home Greene with an RBI double and scored himself on a bases loaded walk to Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA). Wentworth leveled the slate in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run single by Sam McManus (Hopkinton, NH) that plated Weninger and Burst.
The game remained knotted at 2-2 until the bottom of the eighth. Greg Confessore (West Harford, CT) led off with a single to right and moved to second on a Anthony Matera (Trumbull, CT) sacrifice. After Temte was walked intentionally, Mailman lashed a hard single to right to load the bases. It looked like WPI would wiggle out of the one-out jam a following a fly out to shallow left but Burst laced a 1-1 pitch to right center to earn the split.
Johnny Ryan (Marshfield, MA) worked around a two-out walk to earn his first victory in relief for Wentworth. Bram Grooten (Eindhoven, Netherlands) provided the Leopards four shutouts innings of relief after Ferri worked the opening three frames. WPI lefthander Steven D'Agostino (Shrewsbury, MA) was the tough luck loser for the Engineers. The rookie scattered seven hits and fanned eight while going the distance.
WPI is back at it tomorrow with a 10am doubleheader. The Crimson and Gray will face SUNYIT at Southeastern University in Lakeland at 10am. After a day off, Wentworth will square off with Wittenberg (OH) in a 3pm twinbill back in Auburndale.
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