Worcester, MA --- What looked like a promising bid for a spot in the NEWMAC Tournament championship came to a bittersweet close for WPI baseball on Sunday at Assumption. After winning game one of the series on Saturday, the Engineers fell in a 10-9 heartbreaker against Wheaton Sunday in the decisive third game of the semifinal series.
WPI scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning, but couldn't hold on as the Lyons went ahead for good with a three-run sixth inning that included RBI singles by Tyler Contillo (Uncasville, CT) and Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, MA).
Sean Greene (Hingham, MA, Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA) and Zach Blanchard (Warwick, RI) all had two hits, while DJ Ouellette (Watertown, CT) rocked a first-inning grand slam to right center to put the game in the Engineers' control early on.
WPI (21-15) led through from the bottom of the first through the fifth inning.
The Engineers' season may not be over yet, as they await news of a possible bid in the ECAC Tournament, with word coming down next Monday.
The hosts showed incredible patience to open the game, drawing five straight walks, including one on an 11-pitch at bat by Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, NY) to set the tone.
Ouellette made it 6-2 on his home run, and then Matt Cote (Burrillville, RI) walked and later taking home on a passed to complete the first inning scoring.
Wheaton (24-11) chipped away at the lead with two runs each in the second and third innings.
The Lyons' Joshua LaJoie (Somers, CT) hit a two-run double down the left field line to make it 7-4. LaJoie was a difference-maker all weekend, going 4 for 5 on Sunday and 10 for 14 in the series. Justin Silvestro (Waltham, MA) then homered for the Lyons to start the third inning, while Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, RI) doubled and later scored to pull it back to 7-6.
Cote pushed it to 8-6 WPI in the bottom half of the third, leading off with a single through the left side, advancing to second on a throwing error. He later scored off another error.
Comei set the table for the final Engineers' run in the seventh inning. The sophomore led off with double to right, coming in to score on a one-out ground out by Alex Venditti (Newton, MA).
Kyle Kasprzyk (East Falmouth, MA), the Lyons third pitcher of the first inning, restored order for the Lyons, going 4 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run. Michael Baryski (Walpole, MA) picked up the win, registering two innings while Jared Clement (Wrentham, MA) and Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, NH) combined to hold WPI scoreless over the final two innings.
CJ Doskocil (Sterling, MA), Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn, MA) and Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT) combined for the Engineers on the mound, each going at least two innings. Bettigole threw five innings of solid relief after tossing four innings of hitless ball Saturday in game one.
Wheaton moves on to face MIT in the NEWMAC Tournament championship series, which the Cambridge Engineers will host next weekend on May 2 and 3. Prior to that the Lyons will face Eastern Connecticut and Amherst in non-conference tilts.