Rives Strong Start Spoiled as Clark Claims NEWMAC West Baseball Doubleheader

Doug Rives

WORCESTER -- Clark senior Teddy Downing's (Cambridge, MA) sacrifice fly was the difference in game one and the Cougars held off WPI in game two in a NEWMAC Baseball West Division doubleheader Saturday. The opener was a 3-2 ballgame while the second was 18-14.

Clark (13-7, 5-2 NEWMAC) and WPI (10-13, 2-6), the designated home team, will return to Granger Field tomorrow at noon to complete the three-game series.

The hosts trailed 2-1 heading into the home half of the sixth. Sophomore Dylan Horn (Sterling, CT) evened the game with an RBI hit to right center before crossing the plate thanks to Downing's sac fly to center. Junior Ryan Tropeano (Pembroke, MA) was the lone Engineer to reach base the rest of the way.

Junior Austin Lindner (W. Windsor, NJ) sent a two-out single to left to plate classmate Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI) in the top of the second. Freshman Chris Radovic (Fairfield, CT) put Clark on the board with an RBI knock to center in the fifth. Tropeano then scampered home to put the Engineers back on top following a stolen base and a miscue on the top of the sixth.

WPI junior Doug Rives (Bethany, CT) was perfect through 11 batters. After a walk, he came back and struck out the next batter. Sophomore Andrew Thibault (Nashua, NH) reached on a miscue to set the stage for Radovic's two-out hit, which also ended the no-hit bid.

Clark junior Cal Slepkow (Rehoboth, MA), who enjoyed a 1-2-3 third, fourth and seventh, struck out six in eight innings. Downing earned the save. Sophomore Ryan Ruhlin (Portland, ME) doubled while Horn stole a pair of bases to go with one from Downing and another from Thibault.

Tropeano went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and four stolen bases and Gallagher chipped in with a double for WPI. Sophomores Nick Colucci (Lynnfield, MA) and Kyle Wood (Hauppauge, NY) teamed up to pitch the eighth.

The Cougars plated three in the first and again in the second for the 6-0 lead early in the nightcap. Junior Zach Kelley's (Hadley, MA) 2-RBI triple highlighted the opening frame as Downing sent a 2-RBI single to right in the latter. WPI pulled within a run with a five run top of the fourth. Senior Matt Howard (Worcester, MA) got things going with a run-producing hit to left center. Junior Benjamin Chaffee (Franklin, MA) drew a walk to load the bases to setup a bases-clearing triple by Lindner. Freshman Salvatore Lombardo (Flemington, NJ) followed with an RBI double of his own.

Clark responded with a seven-run outburst. Kelley and Thibault each drove in a runner with a double as four others singled in a run and Downing capped it off with a bases-loaded free pass. Howard connected on an RBI ground out and Chaffee added an RBI single in the fifth.

Once again the hosts answered, this time with three. Radovic chased a run home with a ground out before freshman Steven Mooney (Buffalo, NY) and Horn each singled to push the lead to 16-7. Freshman James Huber (Rochester, NY) accounted for the final two runs as he tripled in the first and scored on a passed ball in the sixth.

Gallagher homered in the seventh. The Engineers then put up six with two outs in the ninth. Howard and Lindner sandwiched a miscue put into play by Chaffee to cut the deficit to 18-11. Lombardo had the final say with a three-run shot.

Kelley, Huber and Mooney all had three hits while Horn, graduate student Kyle Bonicki (Waterbury, CT), Downing, Thibault and Radovic connected twice.

Howard, Lindner and junior Josh Herlands (Glastonbury, CT) posted three hits for WPI. Tropeano, Gallagher, Chaffee and Lombardo each clubbed a pair.

In all, a total of a dozen pitchers were utilized, seven for WPI and five for Clark.