Baseball Topples Nationally-Ranked RPI in Early Battle of Unbeatens

Nick Bean

WPI 7, Rensselaer 6 (10 inn.)

Box Score

Auburndale, FL --- Sophomore third baseman Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) tripled to right-center to lead off the 10th inning and later scored the winning run, as the unbeaten Engineers (6-0) defeated nationally-ranked Rensselaer 7-6 at the Russmatt Central Florida Baseball Invitational on Thursday afternoon. RPI, ranked #9 in the latest Top 25 poll, fell to 5-1 on the season with the loss.

With the winning run for WPI 90 feet away and one out in the inning, an intentional walk was issued to designated hitter Mike Swanton (Foxboro, MA) before Jameson Kokolis (Manchester, NH) reached on an error that allowed Bean to score from third.

The teams traded leads in the first three innings before WPI gained some breathing room in the fourth and fifth. A Kokolis RBI single gave the Crimson and Gray a 2-1 lead in the fourth before the Engineers broke through for three more in the fifth. The first four batters reached in the frame, as Joe Walsh (Weymouth, MA) singled and Mark Dignum (Albany, NY) was hit by a pitch, then shortstop Paul Galligan (Weymouth, MA) singled before Matt Moreau (Manchester, NH) was hit. Back-to-back sac flies later in the inning off the bats of Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) and Bean gave WPI a 5-1 edge.

RPI got the three runs immediately back in the next half inning, cutting the lead back to one. Catcher Patrick Reardon (Troy, NY) led off with a walk, followed one out later by an Art Levenson (San Diego, CA) single. The key blow in the inning followed, as sophomore outfielder Markus Delello (Sidney, NY) tripled in both runners to pull Rensselaer to within 5-3. An RBI groundout from third baseman Scott Robinson (Schenectady, NY) made it 5-4.

WPI added another tally in its half of the sixth, with Swanton reaching on an error before a Cody McGregor (Westfield, MA) double gave the Engineers a key insurance run. McGregor's RBI prevented RPI from taking the lead in its next at-bat. Senior Tom Jebb (Ticonderoga, NY) led off the top half of the seventh with a single and freshman Jonny Rio (Maplewood, NJ) blasted the tying home run for a 6-6 score, sending the game into extras.

Galligan paced the Engineers with two hits, as WPI featured a balanced attack with eight players marking the hit column. Galligan currently leads the Crimson and Gray on the Florida trip, batting at a .429 clip. Dignum scored twice, adding to his team-leading total of seven runs scored in the first six games. Billy Nikolski (Burnt Hills, NY) and Camden Mamigonian (Dover, NH) each contributed 3-for-5 afternoons to lead Rensselaer, with Rio and Delello adding two RBI apiece. 

Worcester-native Shane Sampson benefited from the late rally to earn his first collegiate win. Sampson (1-0) was solid in four innings of work in relief of starter Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA), allowing only two runs on five hits with six strikeouts. Watkins also pitched well, striking out four in six innings of work. Mike Cieszko (Stevenson Ranch, CA) suffered the loss for Rensselaer, who got 5 1/3 innings of relief from its bullpen without allowing an earned run. Senior John Dreimiller (Ticonderoga, NY) got the start for RPI, allowing three earned over four innings while striking out seven.

WPI Baseball will travel to Leesburg, FL on Friday for a doubleheader against in-state rival Wentworth. Game one will get underway at 12:30pm. Rensselaer will try to rebound Friday at 6pm against Mount St. Mary in Kissimmee, FL.