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Western New England Drops 19-15 Slugfest to Ramapo in NCAA Regional Opener

Western New England and Ramapo combined for 34 runs and 36 hits in Thursday's NCAA Tournament contest at UMass Boston. (Photo by Jeff Rosenblatt)
Western New England and Ramapo combined for 34 runs and 36 hits in Thursday's NCAA Tournament contest at UMass Boston. (Photo by Jeff Rosenblatt)

Golden Bears will face Penn State Berks in an elimination contest on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. in Harwich

BOSTON, Mass. (May 17, 2018) –
The fourth-seeded Western New England University baseball team fell to fifth-seeded Ramapo College 19-15 in a back and forth slugfest on Thursday afternoon in the NCAA Tournament New England Regional opener at Monan Park on the campus of UMass Boston. 

Thursday's contest was originally scheduled to be played at 9:30 a.m. at Whitehouse Field in Harwich, but was relocated to Boston due to rainy conditions on Cape Cod.

Following the loss, Western New England (31-14) will face eighth-seeded Penn State Berks in an elimination game on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. in Harwich. Ramapo (33-13) takes on top-seeded UMass Boston at 4:30 p.m.

Top Performers
Junior shortstop Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) led the Golden Bears at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a walk, two doubles, two RBI and two runs. Junior catcher Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI, while senior Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.), junior Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) and sophomore Jamie Schofield (Darien, Conn.) drove in two runs each.

Ramapo was powered by the trio of seniors Ryan MacNaughton (River Vale, N.J.) and Bobby Shannon (Flanders, N.J.), and junior Vincenzo Sita (Bayonne, N.J.). All three players doubled, homered and drove in three runs while combining for nine hits and eight runs scored.

Game Review
Western New England got off to a strong start with five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Junior outfielder Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) and Rosenblatt both recorded RBI base hits in the frame, while Valeriano worked a walk with the bases loaded and two other runs scored on Ramapo errors.

The Roadrunners answered with seven runs on seven hits in the top of the second, however, to pull ahead 7-5. MacNaughton launched a two-run homer over the 27-foot tall fence in left field to get Ramapo on the board, and junior Austin Unglaub (Sparta, N.J.) plated another run with an RBI single three batters later. Shannon capped the big frame with a three-run shot to left later in the inning.  

After Ramapo's lead grew to 10-5 with one run in the third and two in the fourth, the Golden Bears got back into the contest with a four-run bottom of the fourth. Loparco got it started with a leadoff walk, and junior Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) followed with a double down the left field line before Cassella brought home a run with a single to left. Rosenblatt made it a three-run contest (10-7) with an RBI single two batters later, and Western New England closed the gap to one (10-9) on Valeriano's two-run double off the wall in left field.

That would be as close as the Golden Bears got, however. Ramapo gave itself some breathing room with a three-run sixth to push the lead back to four (13-9), and the Roadrunners opened up an eight-run advantage (18-10) with a five-run eighth.

Western New England battled back into the game in the bottom of the eighth, as the Golden Bears staged a five-run rally that included a two-run double by Loparco into the gap in left center. The comeback fell short, however, as Ramapo escaped a bases loaded, no outs situation before the Roadrunners tacked on one final run in the top of the ninth.