Golden Bears & Seahawks will play on Monday for berth in CCC Championship Series
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 4, 2019) – The top-seeded Western New England University baseball team fell to fourth-seeded Salve Regina University, 3-2 on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament action at Trelease Park.
The Golden Bears (23-13) and Seahawks (24-15), who now both have one loss in the double-elimination round of the tournament, will meet on Monday afternoon with a spot in next weekend's CCC Championship Series on the line.
Senior catcher Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) was responsible for two of Western New England's four hits, as he went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and one RBI. Senior shortstop Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) walked, singled and drove in the Golden Bears' other run.
Senior righthander Paul Wetmore (Hamden, Conn.) tossed seven innings for the Golden Bears, striking out six batters and scattering eight hits with two earned runs over seven innings.
Wetmore's counterpart, Salve senior lefthander Will Ginsberg (Sharon, Mass.) went the distance for the Seahawks, surrendering two earned runs on four hits over nine frames.
Salve junior Dylan Ketch (Clinton, Conn.) went 4-for-4, while senior Zack Smith (New Canaan, Conn.) and sophomore Michael DeFusco (East Greenwich, R.I.) both posted 2-for-4 efforts with one RBI.
The pitchers were in control early, as neither offense scored a run over the first five innings. Ginsburg didn't allow a hit until the bottom of the fourth, and faced the minimum possible batters through five. Wetmore utilized double play balls to end the first and second innings, before retiring the side in order in the third and fifth.
Salve finally broke the scoreless deadlock with two runs on three hits in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Anthony Cieszko (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) led off with a single to center field and stole second base, while Ketch followed two batters later with a single that advanced Cieszko to third. Ketch then stole second to put two runners in scoring position, and the Seahawks capitalized as Smith drove in a run on a fielder's choice. Salve made it 2-0 on a single to left field by freshman Sean O'Malley (Darien, Conn.) which brought in Smith from second.
The Golden Bears responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Sophomore Joe Webber (Marshfield, Mass.) was hit by a pitch with one out, and a sacrifice by junior Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) moved him into scoring position. Valeriano came up next and delivered an RBI double down the left field line to get Western New England on the board, and Loparco followed with a game-tying RBI single up the middle.
After a scoreless seventh, the Seahawks regained the lead in the eighth on a two-out, RBI single up the middle by DeFusco.
The Golden Bears loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Ginsburg got senior Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.) to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep Salve's season alive.