Golden Bears record season-highs in hits (19) and runs (20)
BOSTON, Mass. (March 28, 2019) – The Western New England University baseball team turned in its best offensive performance of the season in a 20-8 victory over No. 23 nationally ranked UMass Boston on Thursday afternoon at Monan Park.
Six Golden Bears registered multi-hit efforts, including senior catcher Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.), who went 3-for-7 with a triple, a home run and three RBI out of the leadoff spot in the batting order.
Senior shortstop Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) was 3-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored, while senior outfielder Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) finished 2-for-5 with a walk, two doubles and a team-high four RBI.
Seniors Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.) and Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) and junior Zac Nussbaum (Bridgewater, Mass.) also played key roles in the offensive outburst. Rios recorded a team-high four hits and drove in three runs, while Lacaire went 3-for-5 with two walks and three runs scored, and Nussbaum doubled twice with two RBI.
UMass Boston junior outfielder Danny Brown (Hudson, N.H.) went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, while senior infielder Kyle Boudrias (Medford, Mass.) hit a grand slam.
The Western New England offense struck early with two runs in the top of the first inning, as Valeriano and Loparco both reached base before Lacaire and senior Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) recorded RBI groundouts.
The Golden Bears scored two more runs in the top of the third to double their advantage. Valeriano led off the frame with a solo homer, and Cassella added his second RBI groundout of the game later in the inning.
After UMass Boston got on the board with a Ryan McCormick (Cumberland, R.I.) RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, Western New England broke the game open with seven runs in the top of the fifth.
Loparco led off the fifth with a walk, and Lacaire singled before a Cassella sacrifice advanced both runners. LaCroix came up next and delivered a two-run double to center field, giving the Golden Bears a 6-1 lead. Two batters later, Nussbaum doubled to right field, plating LaCroix, and Rios then scored on a passed ball before Valeriano drove in two more runs with a triple to center field. Loparco came up for the second time in the inning and hit an RBI single to right field, capping the scoring in the frame.
Facing an 11-1 deficit, the Beacons were able to get back into the contest with four runs in the fifth and three in the sixth to close the gap to three (11-8). Boudrias drove in four runs on one swing with his fifth-inning grand slam, while UMass Boston's sixth inning was highlighted by a three-run shot off the bat of Brown.
The relentless Western New England offense wasn't done, however, as the Golden Bears regained a six-run cushion (14-8) with three runs in the top of the seventh. LaCroix did more damage with a two-run double, while Rios added an RBI single.
In the top of the ninth, the Golden Bears continued to rake with six more runs to extend the final margin to 12 (20-8).
• Western New England recorded a season-high 19 hits, the fourth time this season the Golden Bears have totaled 10+ hits.
• Western New England sophomore righthander Kevin Besko (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) earned the win with five innings of work.
• Loparco is now one RBI shy of 100 for his career after driving in two runs today.
Western New England (8-6) returns home on Saturday for a CCC doubleheader against Gordon College at noon, while UMass Boston (8-6) wraps up its eight-game homestand on Sunday with a non-conference twinbill against Salve Regina.