WORCESTER -- Visiting WPI won a pair of tight NEWMAC baseball meetings with crosstown rival Clark, sweeping the doubleheader today and the three-game series that started on Friday afternoon.
The Engineers grabbed game one of today's twinbill, 2-1, and then snatched the nightcap, 7-5, to improve to 17-6 overall. More importantly, the Crimson and Gray are now an impressive 5-1 in NEWMAC West Division action – two games ahead of second-place Coast Guard.
For the Cougars, meanwhile, they slip to 12-14 overall and are in third place in the West Division at 2-4.
Clark's Kyle Bonicki (Waterbury, CT) had a spectacular day in defeat, going a perfect 7-for-7 at the plate in the two games.
Game 1: WPI 2, Clark University 1
Clark had the tying and winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth when Engineer reliever Drew Gelinas (Saco, ME) was able to strikeout Michael Eglow (Delmar, NY) to end the game.
After a scoreless first four innings, the Cougars took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Teddy Downing (Cambridge, MA) reached on an infield single and then raced home when Bonicki doubled down the left field line.
WPI evened the score off of Clark hurler Mike Tice (Tyngsboro, MA) when Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, NY) and Alex Venditti (Newton, MA) singled, and then with two outs, Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA) singled to center, scoring D'Ambrosio.
Both teams had chances to move ahead separate innings but neither could do so. Clark's chances came in the sixth when Eglow smacked a one-out double and then in the seventh when Adam Chochrek (Foxboro, MA) doubled and went to third with one out. On both occasions, however, Engineer starter Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn, MA) was able to get out of trouble unscathed.
WPI's chance was in the sixth when Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI) walked and then went to second on an Evan Lacroix (Methuen, MA) single – a hit that chased Tice from the game. Reliever Joe Gouveia (Nashua, NH) got the first two outs on a sacrifice and a strikeout before Venditti stepped to the plate. The league's homerun leader was intentionally walked and then Gouveia was able to get John Mulready (Rockland, MA) to fly out to end the inning.
The Engineers actually went ahead in the eighth without recording a hit. First Capuano walked and moved the second on a wild pitch from new Clark pitcher Brett O'Keefe (Brighton, MA). After a passed ball moved Capuano to third, a squeeze play off of the bat of Kyle Opiekun (Cumberland, RI) brought him home.
Vaitkunas (4-2) was strong on the mound for WPI, tossing eight innings, scattering nine hits while allowing just one earned run
Tice was just as effective for the Cougars as he went six plus innings, allowing eight hits while striking out seven. Gouveia, who allowed two walks in his inning of work takes the loss.
D'Ambrosio had three hits for the Engineers, while Bonicki went 4-for-4.
Game 2: WPI 7, Clark 5
Clark jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first as Downing and Bonicki led off the inning with hits and then scored on RBI ground outs by David Eschen (New York, NY) and James Conway (Newburyport, MA).
WPI answered back in the top of the third off of Cougar starter Patrick Robinson (Watertown, CT) after what looked to be the third out. A passed ball on a strikeout with two outs already in the inning extended the frame and with two runners on base Capuano tripled to center, knotting the score at 2-2.
Things stayed that until the fifth when the visitors banged out five consecutive hits beginning with singles from D'Ambrosio and Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA). Those were followed by back-to-back doubles from Venditti and Mulready and a two-run single by Capuano. When the dust from that uprising had settled, the Engineers were ahead 6-2.
Clark inched closer when they plated three runs in the sixth with two outs. Singles by Chochrek and Tyler Hutchinson (Greene, ME) put runners on first and second for Downing who drove in a run with a double to right. After Hutchinson scampered home a wild pitch, Downing scored on a Bonicki single to left.
WPI tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Comei walked to lead off the inning and scored later on a passed ball.
The Cougars had a chance to get even closer in the eighth off of reliever Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT) when Hutchinson tripled to center with two outs but he was left stranded.
Another opportunity presented itself for the Scarlet and White when Bonicki led off the ninth with a double but Bettigole was again up for the challenge and got a groundout, a strikeout and a game-ending flyout to collect the save and seal the win.
Aidan Freeburg (Billerica, MA) earned the win for WPI, tossing six innings and yielding seven hits and five earned runs. Robinson, meanwhile, takes the loss for the Cougars after posting five innings of work and giving up six runs – only four of which were earned.
Gallagher and Venditti each had two hits for the visitors, while Capuano had two as well to go along with four RBI.
Bonicki went 3-for-3 in the nightcap, making his a perfect 7-for-7 on the day, while Hutchinson had two hits.
Both teams have mapeup NEWMAC crossover doubleheaders on Sunday. WPI ventures to Babson while Clark hosts MIT.
Release Courtesy Clark Sports Information
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