Wesleyan Holds off Western New England, 3-2

Kevin Johnson reached base twice with a walk and a single, and he also stole two bases and scored a run in Western New England's 3-2 loss to Wesleyan on Thursday. (Photo by Jim Balderston)
Kevin Johnson reached base twice with a walk and a single, and he also stole two bases and scored a run in Western New England's 3-2 loss to Wesleyan on Thursday. (Photo by Jim Balderston)

Valeriano records two hits for Golden Bears

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 11, 2019) – The Wesleyan University baseball team held off Western New England University to earn a 3-2 win over the Golden Bears on Thursday afternoon in non-conference action at Trelease Park.

Top Performers
Senior catcher Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) accounted for two of Western New England's six hits, while junior second baseman Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) walked, singled, stole two bases and scored a run.

Wesleyan junior Tanner Fulkerson (Longmont, Colo.) and freshman Adam Geibel (Evanston, Ill.) recorded two hits each for the Cardinals, while senior lefthander Mike McCaffrey (Warwick, R.I.) earned the win on the mound, striking out four batters and allowing one unearned run over six innings.

Game Review
Western New England struck first in the bottom of the third inning, as Johnson led off with a single to left center field and stole second to get into scoring position. He then broke for third and the throw from the Wesleyan catcher sailed into the outfield, allowing Johnson to cross the plate with the game's first run.

Wesleyan answered with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to pull ahead 2-1. Senior outfielder Danny Rose (Ipswich, Mass.) doubled with one out, and junior Jake Alonzo (Haddam, Conn.) followed with an infield single, before senior Nick Valicenti (Braintree, Mass.) walked to load the bases. Fulkerson came up next and recorded an RBI groundout, and junior Nolan Webb (Rockport, Mass.) added an RBI single to put the Cardinals in front.

Wesleyan then tacked on another run in the top of the fifth to extend its lead to 3-1. Senior Andrew Keith (Millersville, Md.) worked a leadoff walk, before coming around to score three batters later when junior Andrew Kauf (Boonton Township, N.J.) grounded into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded.

Western New England stranded two runners on base in the seventh, but the Golden Bears cut into their deficit with a run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by senior Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.). With runners on second and third and two outs, Wesleyan brought on Alonzo to pitch to senior Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.), who struck out to end the threat.

Sophomore Joe Webber (Marshfield, Mass.) walked with one out in the ninth and stole second to get into scoring position, but Alonzo retired Johnson and Valeriano to end the contest and pick up the save.

Notes
• Wesleyan outhit Western New England, 8-6.
• Sophomore Kevin Besko (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) got the start on the mound for the Golden Bears and gave up two runs over four innings.

Up Next
Western New England (14-8) will be right back in action tomorrow with a CCC contest at Nichols, while Wesleyan (10-11) travels to Bates on Saturday for a NESCAC doubleheader.