Baseball Rallies to Salvage Saturday Split; Takes Season Series With Coast Guard

Baseball Rallies to Salvage Saturday Split; Takes Season Series With Coast Guard

Northboro, MA --- Coast Guard's Luke Sniatkowski (Verona, NJ) struck out eight in a complete-game in game one and WPI's Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn, MA) pitched seven scoreless innings of relief in game two as the teams split a NEWMAC doubleheader on Saturday at Rocheleau Field on the campus of Assumption.

The Bears (11-7, 4-5 NEWMAC), who snapped a four game skid, won the opener 10-3 while the Engineers (16-11, 7-6) rallied for a 7-5 win in game two to claim the season series.

Sean Greene (Hingham, MA) led off the bottom of the first with a blast to right center. Zach Blanchard (Warwick, RI) plated Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, NY) with a sacrifice fly later in the inning.

Coast Guard swung the lead in its favor with a three-run top of the fourth. Zach Serna (Palaitin, IL) began the uprising with an RBI single to left field. Brendan McNeil (Pawcatuck, CT) then scored on a wild pitch to even the game at 2-2. Serna represented the go-ahead run as he scored on a wild pitch.

WPI tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the third courtesy of Blanchard's RBI single to left center.

Blake Thompson (Liberty Hill, TX) opened the fourth with a single up the middle and scored on an infield miscue for what proved to be the game-winning run. Matt Hanks (Chesapeake, VA) singled to center field to push the Bears lead to 5-3.

Coast Guard delivered two more in the sixth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Mark Behne (Cliffton, VA) and Kyle Jackson (Lincoln, RI). Tim Duncan (Heath, TX) singled in a run and McNeil followed with a run-producing double. Later in the stanza, Behne helped produce the final tally of the game with an infield RBI knock.

Greene batted 3-for-3 with a pair of walks, an RBI and a run scored as Blanchaed was 2-for-2 with a walk, sacrifice fly and a pair of RBI. D'Ambrosio and DJ Ouellette (Watertown, CT) also had a pair of hits for the Crimson and Gray.

Steven D'Agostino (Shrewsbury, MA) (1-3) struck out three in the setback while Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT) fanned seven in five innings of relief work for the Engineers.

Duncan (RBI, 2 runs), Thompson (2 RBI) and Behne (2 RBI, 2 runs) all tallied a pair of hits for Coast Guard.

Sniatkowski improved to 3-0 with the complete-game victory.

Defensively, the teams combined to turn five double plays, including three in the first three innings.

Coast Guard sailed out to a 4-0 lead after half an inning in the second game. Behne scored on a passed ball before Thompson delivered two runs with a single to center field. Ed Lazowski (Mount Joy, PA) pushed Thompson home with a knock to left. Duncan led off the third with a homer to right to extend the Bears lead to 5-0.

Beginning at toward the end of the top of the fourth, the Engineer defense set down 13 batters in a row. 

The WPI offense began to mount a comeback with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. John Caliri (Hanson, MA) and Steve Petry (Worcester, MA) combined to drive in three runs on consecutive hits to the outfield. Caliri later crossed home plate on a passed ball to cut the Engineers deficit to one.

The Boynton Hillers pulled ahead with three more in the seventh as Alex Venditti (Newton, MA) drove an RBI single through the right side and Ouellette plated a pair with a double to right center.

Coast Guard had runners on the corners with one out in the ninth. Vaitkunas faked to third and ended up picking off the runner at first. The final out was a screaming liner back to the pitcher.

WPI's Petry and Coast Guard's Thompson each had a pair of hits in the nightcap.

Aidan Freeburg (Billerica, MA) struck out three in the first two innings before being relieved by Vaitkunas who improved to 2-0 with the seven-inning, four strikeout effort.

Andrew Lucak (Golf Breeze, FL) fanned six in the first six frames. Justin Rebholz (Crestview, FL) took the loss (3-2) and Cody Bain (Beaver Falls, PA) faced the final three batters for the Bears.

Both teams face MIT in their next outing as the Engineers head to Cambridge for a single game on Tuesday at 3:30pm and the Bears host a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at noon.

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