Three-Run Rallies Bookend Baseball Sweep at Springfield

Mike Swanton

Game 1: WPI 3, Springfield 1
Game 2: WPI 8, Springfield 5 (10 Innings)

Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score

Springfield, MA --- WPI used three-run rallies in the first inning of the opener and the tenth inning of the nightcap to sweep host Springfield 3-1 and 8-5 in a key NEWMAC baseball doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.  The Engineers, who are ranked fifth in New England and receiving votes in the latest Top 25, move to 14-3 overall and 5-2 in NEWMAC play. Springfield falls to 8-10 overall, 2-3 in conference action

Game 1
The Engineers were able to get on the board early as they scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Mark Dignum reached base on an error to start the game. Mitch McClune followed with a single. Matt Moreau reached on a fielder’s choice. It looked as though SC pitcher Steve Forbes was settling down and would get out of this jam after getting the clean-up batter to strike out. But designated hitter Mike Swanton had other ideas, lining a single to right field. Two runs scored on the play, the second due to an error by the right fielder. WPI's Nick Bean then struck out swinging for third out -- but catcher Karl Quist made a throw wide of the first basemen allowing Swanton to come home from third and Bean to advance all the way to third. That turned out to be WPI's total output, but tht is all the nginers would need. After one half inning, it was 3-0, Engineers.

The Pride was able to put one across in the bottom of the first. Pete Calandra got things going with a one-out single to left field. Designated-hitter John Schmaltz followed with a single of his own. After retiring the next batter, WPI pitcher Thomas Whiting gave up a two-out base hit to Quist, allowing Calandra to score from second on a close play at the plate.

Both pitchers settled down and pitched six scoreless innings after that.  For Whiting, it was a victory in his first career start.  The senior is WPI's leader in saves.

Game 2
WPI struck first in the second game of the double header, scoring one in the top of the second inning. Bean was able to draw a two out walk to start the rally for the Engineers. He moved to second on a wild pitch with McClune at the plate. Following the wild pitch, McClune took the 2-2 offering from pitcher Jon Wurster and lined a single into right field, plating Bean. That gave WPI a 1-0 lead.

The Engineers added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning with two Springfield errors contributing mightily. Catcher Joe Walsh reached base with one out in the frame on an error by the third baseman. Bryan Watkins followed with a double to left center field, putting runners on second and third with one out. Chris Collard then came in to pitch for the Pride and got the ground ball he was looking for out of Dignum. But the throw was too tough for the first baseman to handle. Walsh crossed the plate on the error, making it 2-0 WPI. Moreau followed Dignum with a towering fly ball deep to centerfield, allowing Watkins to easily tag from third, making it 3-0, WPI.

The Pride had a chance to close the gap in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with nobody out, but was unable to score. Pitcher Alex Julian settled down after that and was able to successfully retire the next three batters with no damage done.

The game started to go in the wrong direction for the Pride in the seventh inning. Centerfielder Cody McGregor led off the inning for WPI with a single and advanced to second on the throwing error by Springfield shortstop. Walsh followed with a booming double to right-center, scoring McGregor from second base. Watkins and Dignum followed with singles, Dignum’s single brought in Walsh from third and made the score 5-0 in favor of the Engineers.

Springfield batted around in their half of the seventh to even the score at 5-all. Mike Robilotto lined a single to left field to start the inning off and Kyle DiFranco followed with his second consecutive walk. This forced WPI to make a pitching change and on came freshman Brian Schopka. Corletta took Schopka’s second pitch deep to left-centerfield for a double, plating both Robilotto and DiFranco for the Pride’s first and second runs in this contest. After Joe Kropa walked, Calandra crushed the first pitch he saw over the centerfielder’s head for a double, scoring Corletta from second. With the tie in reach for the Pride, WPI then brought in freshman Shane Sampson in a tight spot. Sampson got the first batter he faced to ground out, but allowed the tying run to cross the plate when Quist slapped a single through the hole between second and first. That knotted the game at five all.

The Pride left the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth to keep the score tied. Robilotto, DiFranco and Corletta each reached safely for the third consecutive at bat, which loaded the bases for the Pride with nobody out. But Sampson was able to retire Kropa with a strike out and forced Calandra to hit a groundball to third, where Watkins threw home to get the force out on Robilotto. The bases remained loaded for Springfield with two outs. After a long, tough at bat, Schmaltz grounded out to the second baseman to end the inning.

The Engineers took back the lead in the first extra frame. Moreau led off the inning reaching on a fielding error and advanced to second with the help of Jameson Kokolis’s sacrifice bunt. Swanton lined a single up the middle, scoring Moreau from second, and advanced to second on the throw home. WPI tacked on two more runs in the frame and then held on to win it, 8-5.

On Monday, the Pride will host MCLA in non-conference play at 3:30pm at Berry-Allen Field.  WPI also plays Monday, hosting crosstown rival Worcester State at 3:30pm.

Release courtesy Springfield Sports Information