Golden Bears take game one, 6-1, before Gulls rebound for 9-5 win in game two
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 14, 2018) – In a showdown between two nationally ranked rivals, No. 28 Western New England University and No. 20 Endicott College split a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Trelease Park. The Golden Bears defeated the Gulls 6-1 in the opener, before Endicott rebounded to take game two, 9-5.
Western New England 6, Endicott 1
• Junior outfielder Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) went 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a two-run single, while juniors Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) and Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) and freshman Sebby Grignano (Meriden, Conn.) drove in one run each for the Golden Bears.
• Junior left-hander Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.) struck out five batters and allowed just one run while scattering six hits over seven innings to improve to 2-0 this season.
• Endicott junior Dan Cacciola (Saugus, Mass.) accounted for two of the Gulls' six hits, while sophomore Brendan McDonald (Quincy, Mass.) drove in the team's lone run.
Endicott claimed a 1-0 edge in the first inning as senior Michael DeDonato (Chelmsford, Mass.) singled up the middle with one out, before stealing second and scoring on McDonald's RBI single to left field.
The Gulls' lead didn't last long, however, as Western New England put together a three-run rally with two outs in the third inning. Sophomore Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) kept the inning alive with a walk, and Loparco singled before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Both players came in to score when Lacaire hit a shallow pop fly into left center field, and the ball dropped in as Endicott's outfielders lost it in the sun.
Western New England then tacked on four insurance runs in the fourth to open up a 6-1 advantage. Junior Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) led off and was hit by a pitch, before stealing second and scoring on an RBI single by LaCroix.
Grignano and Loparco both drew bases loaded walks later in the frame, and Western New England's final run scored on a passed ball.
Endicott 9, Western New England 5
• Lacaire was again a key offensive contributor for the Golden Bears, as he went 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and two runs scored.
• Johnson also posted a two-hit effort with one RBI, while LaCroix drove in two runs.
• Endicott was led by freshman Christian Jordan (Holden, Mass.) and DeDonato. Jordan went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and three runs scored, while DeDonato turned in a 2-for-4 showing with two RBI and one run.
Western New England established an early lead with three runs on two hits in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Jamie Schofield (Darien, Conn.) led off with a single to left center, and Loparco followed with a walk before Lacaire plated the game's first run with a single through the right side of the infield. Western New England then successfully executed a double steal with Lacaire taking second base and Loparco stealing home, while LaCroix came up later in the frame and produced a sacrifice fly.
Endicott cut into its deficit with one run in the second, before pulling ahead (5-3) with four runs in the third. The Gulls took advantage of three Western New England errors in the frame, while DeDonato delivered an RBI single and freshman Kyle Brennan (Wallingford, Conn.) added a sacrifice fly.
After a LaCroix sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third made it a one-run game (5-4), Jordan increased Endicott's advantage to 7-4 with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth.
Western New England got one run back in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single by Johnson, but the Gulls tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth to extend the final margin to four.
Western New England (19-5, 5-1 CCC) is scheduled to travel to Bristol, R.I. on Sunday for a CCC doubleheader at Roger Williams, while Endicott (17-6, 5-3 CCC) heads to Saint Joseph's (Maine) on Tuesday for a non-conference matchup.