Baseball Powers Past Springfield in NEWMAC West Finale

Baseball Powers Past Springfield in NEWMAC West Finale

WORCESTER -- Freshman Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI) smacked a homer in both games and juniors Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn, MA) and Aidan Freeburg (Billerica, MA) each turned in outstanding starts as WPI swept a NEWMAC doubleheader from visiting Springfield 19-2 and 17-3 Saturday evening at Clark's Granger Field.

WPI, who had won Friday's series opener in Springfield, is now 25-10 overall and 10-5 in conference contests while the Pride dip to 11-21-1 on the season and complete NEWMAC play with a 4-13 mark.   

Seniors played a big role for WPI offensively in game one.  Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, NY) led off the bottom of the first with a double, moved to third on a Sean Greene (Hingham, MA) single and scored when Alex Venditti (Newton, MA) launched a sacrifice fly to left.  Springfield starter Brian Johnson (East Haddam, CT) then matched Vaitkunas with zeros until WPI posted four runs in the fourth on a DJ Ouellette (Watertown, CT) sac fly, a run-producing single from John Caliri (Hanson, MA) and a two-run single by D'Ambrosio.  Ouellette dented the scoring column in the fifth when he chased home Venditti with a single through the left side.

WPI broke the game open with multi-run frames in the sixth and seventh highlighted by an RBI double by John Mulready (Rockland, MA), a pair of runs from Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA) and a three-run homer by Gallagher.

Despite all the offense, Vaitkunas (5-2) was the story in game one as the righty took a no-hitter into the eighth inning until Billy Peterson (West Wareham, MA) broke it up with two outs in the eighth inning.  The righty went the distance, allowing just three hits and one walk while registering seven strikeouts.  Springfield tallied a pair of runs in the top of the ninth when JP Peters (Guilford, CT) belted a triple to left center that plated Colin King (Berlin, CT) and Corey Wilcox (Uncasville, CT).

Johnson was saddled with the loss for SC, despite tallying four strikeouts.

The Boynton Hillers broke the second game open in the second inning with nine runs.  After Ouellette scored on a passed ball, rookie catcher Austin Lindner (W. Windsor, NJ) crushed a two-run homer for his first career round-tripper.  Then after Evan Lacroix (Methuen, MA) collected an RBI triple and Mulready registered a run-producing single, Gallagher capped his standout day with a grand slam to left field.

WPI added three more in the third behind an RBI knock by Lacroix, a Mulready sacrifice fly and a Capuano RBI single. After a quiet fourth, the Crimson and Gray plated two in the fifth thanks to a pair of productive outs, a sacrifice fly by Kyle Tyler (Eastford, CT) and a ground out by Lindner. Barker's RBI ground out made it a 15-0 ballgame through six.

Springfield broke through with back-to-back ground outs by Peter Detrik (Fairfield, CT) and Joey Gamache (Lebanon, CT). WPI, however, matched the Pride with two in the home half courtesy of a 2-RBI double to right center by Matt Howard (Worcester, MA). Evan Moore (Portsmouth, RI) had the final say for Springfield when he touched home on a fielder's choice put into play by Peters.

Freeburg (5-1) yielded three hits and two walks while striking out seven in six scoreless innings. Sophomore Kyle Naples (Kensington, CT) shouldered the decision while freshman Tristian Suedmeier (Essex, CT) pitched a scoreless frame for Springfield. The Pride staff accumulated 12 strikeouts compared to eight by the hosts.

Both teams wrap up the regular season with 3:30pm non-conference games early in the week. Springfield hits the road for MCLA Monday while WPI heads to Johnson & Wales Tuesday. The second-seeded Engineers will once again host third-seeded Wheaton Saturday in the best-of-three NEWMAC Baseball Championship semifinal series. Saturday features a doubleheader which is set for a noon start at Clark. Should a third game be necessary the teams will meet again at 1pm Sunday.  

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