Pitching, Defense Power Baseball to Successful 2010 Season Opener

Sean Minor

Game #1 - WPI 3, Salve Regina 1
Game #2 - WPI 4, Salve Regina 0

Game #1 Box Score
Game #2 Box Score

Auburndale, FL ---  WPI Baseball kicked off the 2010 season with a doubleheader sweep of Salve Regina in the Russmatt Baseball Central Florida Invitational on Sunday. The Engineers, coming off the most successful campaign in school history with a record of 30-13 and a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament, rode two solid pitching performances and great defense to a 3-1 win in the opener and a 4-0 win in game two to start the year 2-0.

In game one, fans on hand were treated to an early-season pitching duel, with both starters going the distance allowing only 10 hits combined. WPI broke through in the bottom of the third inning, plating a pair of runs to jump out in front. Second baseman Mark Dignum (Albany, NY) led off the frame being hit by a pitch, making his way to third on a one-out double from Matt Moreau (Manchester, NH). Dignum scored the first run for WPI in 2010, as Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) lined a single to right for an RBI and a 1-0 lead. Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) drove in Moreau on a fielder's choice for a 2-0 Engineers' advantage.

The Crimson and Gray posted an insurance run the following inning. Following a one-out double from Jameson Kokolis (Manchester, NH), a two-out two-bagger from Dignum plated Kokolis and staked starter Sean Minor (Los Angeles, CA) to a 3-0 lead.

Minor (1-0) was very effective in his first outing of the year, tossing a complete game and allowing only a run on four hits. The sophomore hurler walked two and struck out five in his 2010 debut. Salve Regina got on the board in its final at-bat, scratching out a run off Minor. Riley Diaz (Miami, FL) doubled down the right field line to lead off the seventh, followed by pinch runner Alex Murphy (Warwick, RI) later moving to third and scoring on a wild pitch.

Diaz had two of Salve's four hits in the opener. Charles Materazzo (Montville, NJ) pitched well but suffered the tough-luck loss. Materazzo (0-1) pitched six innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out five.

The Engineers continued to feature excellent pitching, defense and timely hitting in the nightcap. WPI jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as senior shortstop Paul Galligan (Weymouth, MA) led off with a walk, stole second and came around to score on a McClune double. WPI tacked on another run in the fourth via a brief two-out rally. DH Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA) walked and moved to second on a wild pitch before Kokolis drove him in with a single up the middle to go up 2-0.

WPI pushed across a pair of insurance runs in the fifth, piecing together a Dignum walk, a single from Galligan and back-to-back RBI singles from Moreau and Bean for a 4-0 lead.

Starter Ryan Marques (Gloucester, MA) was equally as impressive as Minor in his first action of the season. Marques (1-0) delivered six shutout innings, walking two, striking out six and scattering six hits en route to the victory. Thomas Whiting (Farmington Hills, MI) came on to pitch a 1-2-3 seventh to close out WPI's second win.

Brandon Bursie (Smithfield, RI) suffered the loss for Salve, falling to 0-1 on the season. Nicholas Politelli (Warwick, RI) paced the Salve attack with two of the team's six hits.

WPI will be back at it on Monday, when it takes on regional rival St. Joseph's (ME) in a doubleheader in nearby Winter Haven, FL. First pitch is scheduled for 12pm.