Winter Haven, FL --- Senior Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA) and sophomore Ryan Tropeano (Pembroke, MA) each collected three hits in game two as the WPI baseball team split a pair of games with Ohio Northern Saturday morning at the RussMatt Invitational. The squad fell 2-1 in the opener and took the second 9-3.
The Engineers, who return to New England with a 6-4 ledger, are scheduled to face Brandeis Wednesday in Waltham.
Tropeano went 3-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI and three runs scored as Comei batted 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored in the nightcap. The duo also stole three bases apiece. Junior Matt Howard (Worcester, MA) added three RBI. Sophomore Austin Lindner (W. Windsor, NJ) doubled and graduate student Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA) was credited with a sacrifice fly. Sophomore Doug Rives (Bethany, CT) allowed one run on four hits and struck out three in his second victory of the week. Senior Mike Duclos (Greenfield, MA) set the side down in order in the sixth as classmate Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, CT) finished the game for the Crimson and Gray.
Ohio Northern scored a run in the bottom of the first. The Engineers later exploded for five in the third. Tropeano singled in a run and Comei brought home two on back-to-back at-bats. Capuano lined his sac fly to center and sophomore Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI) scampered home on a wild pitch.
The Engineers made it 7-1 in the fourth courtesy of RBI singles by Comei and Howard. Later in the game, Howard pushed two more across with a 2-RBI knock in the sixth. Ohio Northern scored a pair in the bottom of the seventh for the 9-3 final.
Game one saw senior Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn, MA) pitch another complete game. He yielded two runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out a pair. Howard had a 2-for-3 game with the lone Engineer RBI. Freshman David Larson (Port Tobacco, MD) was credited with a sacrifice. Tropeano swiped a pair of bases and junior Evan Lacroix (Methuen, MA) secured one. Comei, Larson and freshman Jake Spada (Middleton, MA) teamed up for a double play.
The contest was scoreless through four innings. Ohio Northern plated one in the top of the fifth. WPI answered in the bottom of the sixth in the form of an RBI seeing-eye-single by Howard. The Polar Bears broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh with a two-out run-producing single. The Engineers then had a pair of runners in scoring position when the final out was recorded.