Auburndale, FL --- Senior Dominic Fusco (North Haven, CT) struck out the final three Leopards in each game as the WPI baseball team held off Wentworth Institute of Technology in a pair of one-run victories, 10-9 and 6-5, Wednesday at the RussMatt Invitational. The Engineers improve to 5-1 on the year as the Leopards slip to 2-4.
Five of the six batters went down swinging and Fusco picked up his second and third save of the season. His first was in the Monday's eye-opener versus Waynesburg, where he also struck out the side.
The first game of the day saw freshman Matt Penkala (Warren, RI) fan three in his first collegiate start and win to go with three more by classmate Andrew Dupuis (Raymond, NH) in relief. Sophomore Griffin St. Onge (Litchfield, NH) also took to the hill for WPI. Graduate Student Matt Howard (Worcester, MA) and senior Ryan Tropeano (Pembroke, MA) each batted 2-for-3 as senior Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI) led the way with a trio of RBI. Howard chipped in with two as Tropeano, junior Tyrone Patterson (Upper Marlboro, MD), junior David Larson (Port Tobacco, MD), senior Benjamin Chaffee (Franklin, MA) and senior Austin Lindner (Princeton Jct., NJ) each added one.
Larson and Chaffee each drew a bases loaded walk and Lindner followed with a sacrifice fly for the 3-0 advantage after an inning. Patterson lifted a sacrifice fly and Howard delivered an RBI single to left to make it 5-0 in favor of the Engineers through two.
Wentworth got on the board with a two-run two-out single in the top of the third. The Crimson and Gray then put up five in the bottom of the frame – all with two outs. Tropeano began with a run-producing single to right. Two batters later, Gallagher cleared the bases with a double. Howard finished off the scoring with another run-producing hit.
The Leopards then chipped away with an RBI single in the fourth and bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the fifth before enjoying a five-run frame of their own in the sixth.
Gallagher went 3-for-4 and was credited with the win, and sophomore Jordan DeDonato (Danvers, MA) was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI in the second game. Larson and Gallagher also chipped in with an RBI. Senior Sam Bacchiocchi (East Freetown, MA) struck out a pair in the start while freshman Dylan Connors (Westboro, MA), Gallagher and Fusco each took an inning.
Larson began the second game with an RBI hit to left in the top of the first. Wentworth responded with a three-run outburst in the bottom of the stanza. Gallagher cut the deficit to one with an RBI single in the third before Tropeano scampered home on a wild pitch in the fifth. DeDonato then sent a 2-run single to left for the 5-3 lead heading into the home half of the fifth where the Leopards countered with a 2-run knock down the left field line. Gallagher represented the unearned game-winning run on a ball put into play by DeDonato with two outs in the top of the seventh.
After another off day, WPI takes on Martin Luther (MN) at 9:15 and 11:45 on Friday.