Springfield, MA --- David Cherry (Southbury, CT) pitched seven no-hit innings as fourth-seeded Western New England advanced to the ECAC Division III New England Baseball Championship semifinals with an 11-4 victory over fifth-seeded WPI on Wednesday afternoon at Trelease Park.
Both teams were the second seed in their respective conference tournaments.
Western New England (19-18) advances to face top-seeded Framingham State Saturday at 2:30pm in Newport, RI. WPI, who was playing for the first time in 10 days, sees its season end with a 21-16 record.
After a scoreless first inning, Sean Kelly (Shrewsbury, MA) lifted a triple past the right fielder to chase home Zach Blanchard (Warwick, RI), who reached on a leadoff hit by pitch, for the initial run of the game. He was promptly plated with a hit to center field off the bat of Matt Cote (Burrillville, RI). With a pair of runners in scoring position and two outs, Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, NY) dropped a 2-RBI single in center field to give the Engineers the 4-0 lead.
The Golden Bears grabbed a run back beginning with a Steve Buckley (Monroe, CT) double to open the home half of the frame. He moved to third on a fly ball to right and scored when Eduardo Colmenares (Caracas, Venezuela) legged out an infield hit. Daniel Morin (Salem, NH) delivered Western New England's second run of the game with a two-out RBI single to left in the bottom of the third. With runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Golden Bears swiped home to pull within a run.
Beginning with the third out in the top of the second, Cherry and the WNE defense set down 12 batters in a row. DJ Ouellette (Watertown, CT) snapped the streak with a two-out walk in the top of the sixth. Taylor Landry (Kennebunk, ME) and the Engineers, meanwhile, enjoyed a 1-2-3 first and fourth inning.
The Golden Bears tied the game behind a run-producing hit by Chris Casey (Milford, MA) in the bottom of the sixth. The Crimson and Gray escaped the frame with a 6-4-3 double play.
The hosts pulled ahead when Buckley connected on a ball hit deep to dead center field for an RBI double in the seventh. Matt Calzone (Middlebury, CT) added to the WNE lead with a sacrifice fly to right field. Two more scored on a T.J. Wyrebek (Bristol, CT) 2-RBI double to left center. The Golden Bears scored three more in the eighth for the 11-4 final.
Landry allowed four runs – three earned – on nine hits with five strikeouts in the six-inning no decision. Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT) was tagged with the loss as he and Andrew Portera (Alpharetta, GA) pitched the balance of the contest. As a team, the Engneers turned a pair of inning-ending double plays.
Cherry allowed the four runs on four hits – all in the second inning – and tied his career-high of nine strikeouts in the victory. Jacques Boilard (Brimfield, MA) closed out the game for Western New England.
Buckley finished 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI and three runs scored and Colmenares batted 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs. Matt Anziano (Belchertown, MA) also had a 2-for-4 day with a pair of runs scored.