10 Conference Championships

11 NCAA Tournament Appearances

2011 College World Series

Long Ball Powers Golden Bears Past Trinity, 12-8

Erik Lacaire put the Golden Bears ahead for good with his fourth-inning grand slam in Monday's 12-8 win over Trinity. (Photo by Jim Balderston)
Erik Lacaire put the Golden Bears ahead for good with his fourth-inning grand slam in Monday's 12-8 win over Trinity. (Photo by Jim Balderston)

Lacaire, LaCroix, Valeriano & Webber go deep for WNE 

LEXINGTON, S.C. (March 18, 2019) – The Western New England University baseball team hit four home runs in a 12-8 victory over Trinity College on Monday evening at Lexington County Stadium.

Top Performers
Seniors Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.), Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) and Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.), and sophomore Joe Webber (Marshfield, Mass.) all went deep for the Golden Bears, while juniors Zac Nussbaum (Bridgewater, Mass.) and Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) posted two-hit efforts.

Freshman righthander Tyler Achatz (Longmeadow, Mass.) earned the win after pitching a scoreless inning of relief, and senior Sean Halligan (North Branford, Conn.) got the final six outs to pick up his second save of the season.

Trinity junior catcher Alex Rodriguez (South Windsor, Conn.) paced the Bantams offensively, going 2-for-5 at the plate with three RBI. Classmate Matt Koperniak (Adams, Mass.) also went 2-for-5, while senior Geoff Stillman (Scituate, Mass.) walked, doubled and scored a run.

Game Review
Trinity opened the scoring in the top of the second when freshman third baseman Mike Guanci Jr. (Wakefield, Mass.) singled down the left field line, bringing in senior Jonny Stamatis (Ridgefield, Conn.).

The Bantams opened up a 4-0 advantage with three runs in the top of the third, despite recording just one hit in the frame.

In the bottom half of the inning, Western New England broke through on an RBI single by Nussbaum.

The Golden Bears then erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fourth to pull ahead 7-4. Valeriano led off and was hit by a pitch, and Webber followed with a two-run homer to right field. Later in the frame, Lacaire came up with the bases loaded and sent a breaking ball over the left field fence for a grand slam.

Trailing for the first time, Trinity chipped away at its deficit with two runs in the top of the fifth, as Rodriguez delivered a two-run single to center field to get the Bantams back to within one (7-6).

The Golden Bears were able to restore their three-run advantage (9-6) with two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, however, as Johnson and sophomore Sebby Grignano (Meriden, Conn.) both recorded RBI singles.

In the top of the eighth, the Bantams again pulled to within one run (9-8) courtesy of RBI singles from sophomore Robbie Cronin (Wellesley Hills, Mass.) and senior Ben Reinisch (Troy, N.Y.).

That would be as close as Trinity got, as Western New England utilized back-to-back homers from LaCroix and Valeriano in the bottom of the eighth to extend the lead to four (12-8), which stood as the final margin.

Notes
• Western New England recorded season-highs in both runs (12) and hits (14), with all nine starters recording at least one hit. 
• The Golden Bears utilized eight different pitchers in the contest.

Up Next
Western New England (3-2) is back in action tomorrow with a doubleheader against SUNY Oswego, with first pitch slated for 11 a.m.