Northboro, MA --- Zach Blanchard (Warwick, RI) hit a grand slam and Sean Kelly (Shrewsbury, MA) followed with a solo shot in the first inning while WPI went on to accumulate 20 hits in a 17-7 non-conference baseball victory over Johnson & Wales at the New England Baseball Complex on Tuesday. The game was shortened to seven innings due to deteriorating weather conditions.
The Wildcats (3-5) plated a pair of runs in the top of the first for the early lead. Rob Ballinger(South Kingstown, RI) scored on an infield miscue and Jordan Pilarski (Garnet Valley, PA) delivered an RBI double down the left field line.
WPI (8-4) responded with a six-run surge in the home half of the frame. DJ Ouellette(Watertown, CT) used a run-producing ground out to put the Engineers on the board. Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA) followed with a two-out walk to set the table for Blanchard's grand slam down the right field line. Kelly then sent one out of the park in right center. A swinging strikeout ended the frame.
The Engineers tacked another run on in the bottom of the second with an RBI seeing-eye-single through the left side by Ouellette. Ty Karalis (Seekonk, MA) pushed Carlos Sanabria(Pawtucket, RI) home with a bases-loaded RBI ground out in the top of the third.
Following a weather-related delay in the action, Alex Venditti (Newton, MA) utilized an RBI single in the bottom of the third and Kelley added a run-producing triple in the fourth to make it a 10-3 Engineer advantage. The Wildcats scratched two more across in the fifth to cut the deficit in half as Karalis scored on a miscue following a double steal and Tom Elkow (Morganville, NJ) drew a bases-loaded walk. Mike Duclos (Greenfield, MA) came in and fanned the No. 2 hitter with the bases loaded to end the frame.
Sean Greene (Hingham, MA) increased the Crimson and Gray lead in the bottom of the fifth as he drove in a run with a hit through the left side. Blanchard, who approached the plate with the bases juiced and two outs, sent a 2-2 pitch to short but an interference call halted the inning.
John Caliri (Hanson, MA) doubled and Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, NY) singled to plate two runs before any outs were recorded in the sixth. Later in the frame Greene jacked a two-run blast and Capuano pitched in with an RBI single for the 16-5 advantage. Johnson & Wales grabbed two runs back in the top of the seventh with back-to-back RBI ground outs by Brad McParlin(Pawtucket, RI) and Rob Bocchetti (East Meadow, NY).
Steve Petry (Worcester, MA) walked to push the Engineer lead back to double-digits, with what proved to be the final run of the contest, in the bottom of the seventh.
D'Ambrosio, Ouellette and Blanchard (HR) each had three hits while Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA), Venditti (double), Greene, Kelly (triple, HR) and Caliri (double) each recorded a pair of hits on the day.
Lou Umberto (Cranston, RI) logged two of the Wildcats four hits and Ivan Reyes (Cranston, RI) drew a game-best three walks for the guests.
Nick Borsari (Bolton, MA), CJ Doskocil (Sterling, MA), Duclos and Andrew Portera (Alpharetta, GA) shared time on the hill for WPI as Shawn Haugh (Tampa, FL), Taylor Pacific (Cranston, RI) and James Harlow (Bristol, CT) spent time on the mound for Johnson & Wales.
WPI is scheduled to return to action on Friday with a 3:30pm appointment with Brandeis at the New England Baseball Complex. The Wildcats are also set to return to the diamond at 3pm on Friday with a trip to Fitchburg State.
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