LaCroix becomes Western New England's all-time home run leader with 8th inning solo shot
DUDLEY, Mass. (April 12, 2019) – The Western New England University baseball team pulled away with five runs over the final three innings to earn a 6-0 victory over Nichols College in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action on Friday afternoon.
Sophomore righthander Kevin Hummer (Shrewsbury, Mass.) shut down the Nichols offense with his first career complete game performance, as he scattered seven hits and struck out four batters over nine innings of work.
The top of Western New England's batting order did the majority of the damage offensively, led by senior catcher Brian Valeriano's (Stratford, Conn.) 3-for-5 effort at the plate with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot.
Senior shortstop Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) went 2-for-4 with one run, while senior centerfielder Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) finished 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI.
Nichols was led by juniors Kyle Bouchard (Fall River, Mass.) and Christian Naccari (Ossining, N.Y.) who both went 2-for-4.
After three scoreless frames, the Golden Bears put one run on the board in the top of the fourth. Loparco singled through the left side of the infield with one out, stole second, and came in to score on an RBI double off the bat of Lacaire.
The Bison loaded the bases in the bottom half of the fourth, but they were unable to capitalize as Hummer induced an inning-ending pop out.
Still clinging to a 1-0 lead in the seventh, Western New England gave itself some breathing room with three runs on two hits and two errors. With runners on second and third and no outs, junior Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) recorded a sacrifice fly to give the Golden Bears a 2-0 lead. Valeriano followed with an RBI single through the left side, and Lacaire added an RBI single to center later in the inning.
In the top of the eighth, Western New England increased its lead to 5-0 when senior Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) sent a solo homer over the left center field fence, giving him sole possession of the program's career home run record (17).
Another solo shot in the ninth, this one coming courtesy of Valeriano, capped the scoring in the contest as Western New England completed the season sweep of the Bison.
• LaCroix's home run is his sixth of the season, moving him into a tie for fifth place on the program's single-season list.
• The Golden Bears are now 19-1 in 20 all-time meetings with the Bison.
Both teams will be back in action tomorrow, as Western New England (15-8, 7-1 CCC) returns home to host Roger Williams on Senior Day, and Nichols (14-12, 3-5 CCC) travels to Wentworth.