Baseball's Eight-Run Second Sets Tone for Doubleheader Sweep

Shane Sampson

Game 1: WPI 11, Clark 6
Game 2: WPI 7, Clark 4

Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score

Worcester, MA --- The Engineers exploded for an eight-run second inning in game one, sparking them to an 11-6 victory and a NEWMAC doubleheader sweep at city-rival Clark on Saturday afternoon. WPI, who is currently getting votes in the latest Top 25 poll, also won game two 7-4. With the wins, WPI continued its unbeaten start to the 2010 season by improving to 10-0 on the year and 2-0 in conference play.

The wins mark the second time in three years that WPI has opened its conference season by posting a twinbill sweep of the Cougars. After scoring 41 runs in its two previous games, the Clark offense could only muster ten runs in two contests on Saturday. WPI improved to 9-2 in its last 11 meetings with Clark with the victories.

In the opener, shortstop Paul Galligan (Weymouth, MA) and DH Mike Swanton (Foxboro, MA) each had two-RBI extra-base hits in the pivotal second inning that powered the Engineers to the win. The eight-run outburst was WPI's highest scoring inning of the season so far, and the most runs in an inning since WPI plated nine runs in one frame at Coast Guard on April 14 of last year. Senior outfielders Matt Moreau (Manchester, NH) and Cody McGregor (Westfield, MA) also delivered run-producing base hits in the second.

Down eight runs, Clark responded immedately. The Cougars plated two runs in the home half of the second before erupting for four more in the third, cutting the Engineer lead to 8-6. The two runs in the second came on the second career home run from Peter Lewis (Gardiner, ME). In the third, Ron Bathrick (North Haven, CT) reached on an error and worked his way home via a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice from Mitch DeLorenzo (Berlin, CT). Later in the inning, Phil DiMarco (Bellingham, MA) collected an RBI triple and Kevin Kopec (Katonah, NY) had a run-scoring base hit as the Cougars pulled to within two.

The teams traded scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth before WPI added some much-needed insurance in the sixth.

Third baseman Nick Bean (Middleboro, MA) led off the sixth with a triple, the key knock in the inning in which WPI would add three more runs. Bean was sent home on an infield single from McGregor for a 9-6 WPI advantage. The Engineers would load the bases later in the inning and score two more on a Joe Walsh (Weymouth, MA) walk and a Mark Dignum (Albany, NY) hit-by-pitch, pushing the lead to 11-6 that would hold up for the rest of the game.

Worcester's own Shane Sampson came on in relief in the third inning and dealt 4 1/3 scoreless frames to allow WPI to maintain its lead. The freshman didn't allow a hit, at one point retiring eight Cougars in a row, en route to his second win (2-0). Thomas Whiting (Farmington Hills, MI) came on in the seventh and retired the last two Clark batters to seal the win in a non-save situation.

Galligan, McGregor and Bean each had two hits to lead a balanced attack that featured everyone in the lineup scoring at least one run. Bean and Jameson Kokolis (Manchester, NH) each crossed the plate twice to pace the Engineers.

In the nightcap, WPI spotted Clark a 4-1 lead before fighting back for a 7-4 win. The Cougars plated four in the bottom of the first after Kokolis had given the Engineers a 1-0 lead with an RBI single to left in the top half.

Down three early, WPI would get the equalizer fairly quickly with two runs in the second and another in the third. Dignum provided a sac fly and Mitch McClune (Pembroke, MA) an RBI-double in the second to pull WPI to within a run. Swanton ignited the game-tying rally in the third, leading off with a double and stealing third before Galligan delivered him with a single to right that tied the score. The Engineers would manufacture the go-ahead run in the fourth in similar fashion. Walsh worked a leadoff walk and stole second before Bean produced a two-out double to give WPI a 5-4 lead.

The Engineers tacked on another run in the sixth to gain a bit of breathing room. They added another in the ninth on Kokolis' second home run of the season, a solo blast to left-center that provided a three-run cushion, 7-4.

WPI starter Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA) settled down considerably after the four-run first. Watkins (1-0) delivered four scoreless innings as the lineup staged its comeback. The Engineers also received another strong contribution from the bullpen in game two, as Brian Schopka (Tinton Falls, NJ) came on to deal three more scoreless frames at the Cougars. Whiting pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the season.

WPI Baseball will enjoy a day off on Sunday before being back in action on Monday for a home contest against Becker. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30pm. Clark will look to get back into the win column on Tuesday with a home date with UMass-Boston that will get underway at 2:30pm.

Story by Ray Cotrufo - WPI Sports Information
Portions of release courtesy Clark Athletics