Golden Bears drop opener, 5-3, before rolling to 14-5 triumph in game two
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 9, 2017) – Sophomore outfielder Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) drove in a career-high seven runs in the second game of a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) doubleheader against the Wentworth Institute of Technology to help Western New England University salvage a split on Sunday afternoon at Trelease Park. Wentworth rallied late in the opener to claim a 5-3 victory, before LaCroix's career effort at the plate sparked the Golden Bears to a 14-5 win in game two.
Wentworth 5, Western New England 3
• Sophomore Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) led the Golden Bears offensively in game one, going 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored, while senior Daniel Morin (Salem, N.H.) added two hits and junior Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.) went 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI double.
• Senior Matt Thomas (Plainville, Conn.) got the start but did not factor into the decision after allowing two runs on four hits over 4.1 innings on the mound.
• Senior Jordan Burst (Jackson, N.J.) paced a balanced Wentworth offense with two hits and one RBI, while senior Christian Ferri (Bloomfield, N.J.) drove in the game-winning run in the top of the sixth.
• Junior Tyler Weninger (Chandler, Ariz.) earned the win for the Leopards after logging 6.2 innings on the mound and allowing three runs on seven hits and six walks.
• Wentworth claimed an early 2-0 lead with RBI singles by senior Jimmy Temte (Northborough, Mass.) and freshman Owen Swanson (New Milford, Conn.) in the top of the first. Western New England got one run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single to left field by Lacaire, but the Golden Bears left the bases loaded.
• Western New England then pulled ahead in the third with two runs on two hits and two errors. After the first two batters of the inning reached base, Rosenblatt drove a double into the gap in left center field, scoring Lacaire. Sophomore Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.) crossed the plate on the next play as sophomore Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) reached on a Wentworth throwing error, giving Western New England a 3-2 edge.
• Thomas, who settled down after a tough first inning, surrendered just one hit over the next three frames and was pulled after retiring the first batter in the top of the fifth.
• Wentworth put together a three-run rally in the sixth against Western New England junior Andrew Mulvey (Bristol, R.I.). Junior Tim Elrick (Buzzards Bay, Mass.) got it started with a single through the left side of the infield, before moving up to second on a sacrifice. He would come in to score the game-tying run on a single up the middle by sophomore Jake Smith (Orange, Conn.). Two batters later, Ferri drove in the go-ahead run with a double down the left field line just past Rosenblatt's dive. The Leopards added an insurance run and led 5-3 through six innings.
• After Weninger struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, Rosenblatt and pinch-hitter John Sirois (Haverhill, Mass.) drew consecutive walks, bringing the potential game-winning run to the plate. Sophomore Leo Coehlo (Marlborough, Mass.) came on for Wentworth and recorded the final out of the contest to earn the save.
Western New England 14, Wentworth 5
• LaCroix fueled Western New England's offensive outburst in game two, as the sophomore went 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles, one home run and seven RBI.
• Morin capped a strong offensive day by going 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and three RBI, while Rios and sophomore Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) drove in two runs each.
• Making his second start of the season, sophomore left-hander Sean Halligan (North Branford, Conn.) picked up the win (2-1) after allowing two earned runs on four hits over five innings.
• Weninger, Temte, Swanson and Elrick finished with one RBI each for Wentworth.
• LaCroix got the Golden Bears on the board in the first inning with a double into the gap in left center field that scored Morin and freshman Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.). Rios came through with a two-out, two-run single later in the inning as Western New England claimed an early 4-0 lead.
• The Golden Bears added two more runs in the second on LaCroix's two-run double to right field, before making it 9-0 in the third when Morin recorded a two-run single and Loparco followed with an RBI single.
• Wentworth broke through for three runs in the fourth, but Western New England kept rolling offensively in the fifth, putting four more runs on the board, with three coming on LaCroix's three-run shot over the right field fence.
• Weninger and Temte hit back-to-back homers in the top of the sixth, and Loparco drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom half of the inning to cap the scoring in the contest.
• LaCroix's seven-RBI performance vaults him ahead of Rosenblatt for first on the team with 22.
• The Golden Bears have scored 10+ runs four times this week and five times overall this spring.
• Morin went a combined 5-for-8 with three RBI and two runs scored over the two games.
Western New England (13-8, 4-4 CCC) will be on the road at Curry for a doubleheader on Wednesday, while Wentworth (13-6, 3-3 CCC) is off until Friday, when the Leopards travel to Endicott.