Early Runs, Late Pitching Sends Baseball to NEWMAC Road Win at Emerson

Steve Gallagher

Brockton, MA --- Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA) and Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA) combined for eight runs batted in and relief pitchers Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT), Mike Duclos (Greenfield, MA) got the final 10 outs as WPI held onto to defeat host Emerson 13-12 in a NEWMAC baseball game played Thursday afternoon at Campanelli Stadium. 

The Engineers are now 17-8 overall and 6-3 in conference play.  Emerson slips to 8-12 on the season and 1-8 in NEWMAC action. 

WPI came out of the gates strong, tallying three runs in the top of the first.  Ryan Tropeano (Pembroke, MA) got it started with a single and came home on a Comei RBI triple.  Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI) followed with a run-scoring single and Capuano closed the opening rally with a sacrifice fly.  The visitors tacked on another run in the second after Connor Kurtz (Lunenburg, MA) led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Comei sac fly to left. 

The Crimson and Gray pushed their advantage to 6-0 in the top of the fourth when Capuano drove in Matt Howard (Worcester, MA) with an RBI and then scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Evan Lacroix (Methuen, MA).  An inning later Capuano knocked in Gallagher with a one-out single to make it 7-0. 

It appeared that WPI put the game away in the fifth when the guests posted five more runs.  Comei blasted a three-run homer, Lacroix collected his second sacrifice fly of the day and Kyle Opiekun (Cumberland, RI) singled as the lead grew to 12-0.  Emerson they began an impressive rally that started with a three-run bottom of the frame that featured a Neil Perry (Middleboro, MA) RBI ground out and a Tim Quitadamo (Worcester, MA) two-run single. 

Gallagher launched a solo homer in the top of the sixth that appeared to restore some order for the Engineers, but the Lions responded with nine runs in the bottom of the frame to make it 13-12.  Kyle Becker (Jericho, NY) notched a pair of run-scoring hits during the rally and was responsible for three RBI while Cam Beattie (Gilbert, AZ) and Ethan Young (Amherst, MA) added RBI singles, Pablo Feldman (Mill Valley, CA) and Nolan Megna (Buffalo, NY) each drew a bases loaded walk and Joe Cuccio (Jefferson, NJ) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. 

The game suddenly turned into a battle of the bullpens with each team going scoreless over the final three frames. Bettigole got the final out of the sixth and tossed scoreless seventh and eighth frames while totaling five strikeouts while Duclos picked us his team-leading third save of the season by working the ninth. 

Steven D'Agostino (Worcester, MA) went the first 5 1/3 innings to earn his first victory of the season for the Boynton Hillers.  The junior whiffed six.  Clint Fontanella (Pelham, NH) shouldered the loss for the Lions, who got two strong innings of relief from Cal Laird (Willowbrook, IL). 

Howard, Gallagher and Tropeano all had three hits for WPI while Gallagher scored four time.  Perry, Beattie and Becker and Young were all repeat hitters for the Lions. 

Both teams kickoff three-game NEWMAC weekend series on Friday at 3:30pm.  WPI is at Coast Guard while Emerson hosts Wheaton.