Northboro, MA --- Both Clark and WPI each received stellar performances from starting pitching, riding the arms of Luke Crocker (Stafford, VT) and Steven D'Agostino (Shrewsbury, MA) to a doubleheader split in NEWMAC baseball action at the New England Baseball Complex on Friday evening.
Clark (5-8, 2-2 NEWMAC) took the first game 3-1 behind Crocker, while D'Agostino led the Engineers (12-10, 3-5 NEWMAC) to an 8-2 win in the nightcap.
The teams will complete their three game series on Saturday with a single game at Clark with first pitch slated for 12:30pm
Game #1: Clark 3, WPI 1
Crocker was in complete command in the opener, twirling a complete game five-hitter as the Scarlet and White edged the Engineers, 3-1. Already one of the league leaders in ERA even after coming off of Tommy John surgery that cost him the 2014 season, Crocker walked one, struck out seven and retired seven straight batters twice.
Clark pushed across two runs in the top of the third when Zach Richall (Tyngsboro, MA) and David Eschen (New York, NY) each had RBI singles to center off of WPI starter Taylor Landry (Kennebunk, ME).
Neither team threatened again until there were two outs in the sixth and Michael Eglow (Delmar, NY) launched his second homerun in as many games to left center, upping the Cougar advantage to 3-0.
The Engineers found themselves with a golden opportunity to score some runs in the bottom of the sixth when Sean Kelly (Shrewsbury, MA) singled and then advanced to second on a throwing error. Steve Petry (Worcester, MA) was then hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with one out. Crocker was up to the task, however, as he struck out both Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopec, NY) and Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA) swinging to end the inning.
WPI finally broke through in the seventh when Alex Vendetti (Newton, MA) crushed his tenth career homerun and fourth of the year.
That run would be all that Crocker would allow as he retired five of the final seven batters he faced to earn his first win of the season.
Landry, who like Crocker entered the game as one of the league leaders in ERA, went eight effective innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs while striking out three.
Incredibly, all 12 of the hits in the game came from 12 different batters.
Game #2: WPI 8, Clark 2
WPI wasted little time jumping out to a 4-0 lead after one and a 6-0 lead after two off of Cougar starter Patrick Robinson (Watertown, CT).
The first three batters of the game reached base for the Engineers, including Vendetti who drove in the game's first run on a double to right. After a RBI groundout by DJ Ouellette (Watertown, CT), John Mulready (Rockland, MA) delivered the biggest blow – a two-run blast that had the Crimson and Grey off and running.
Things continued in the second as both Vendetti and Ouellette each collected RBI singles.
While his offense was clicking, D'Agostino retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced including striking out all three batters in the third after allowing a leadoff double to Dan Lima (Manchester, CT).
Sean Greene (Hingham, MA) extended the Engineer lead when he blasted a solo shot to left field in the fourth, making the score 7-0.
Clark finally got on the board in the sixth when Tyler Hutchinson (Greene, Maine) walked, advanced to second on a passed ball and then came around to score on an Eschen single to right.
After WPI reliever Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT) struck out the side in the seventh, Vendetti provided more offense for the Engineers with his second homerun of the day.
The Cougars threatened in the eighth when they loaded the bases with one out while facing reliever Mike Duclos (Greenfield, MA). Eschen knocked in a run with a groundout but more damage was averted when Duclos was able to strike out Cougar pinch hitter Mikey Thomsen (Northampton, MA) to end the inning.
Another WPI reliever, Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn, MA) came in for the ninth and retired the Cougars in order to end the game.
The Engineers out-hit Clark 10-4 in the nightcap, with Greene and Vendetti doing most of the damage. Greene was a double short of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Vendetti was 3-for-4 with three RBI.
For Clark, Lima had two of the Scarlet and White's four hits and Eschen drove in both runs.
Release Courtesy Clark Sports Information
Click HERE if the video does not appear below