SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The WPI baseball team took the field on Sunday afternoon for the first time in over a year, and opened their season with a 5-2 victory over Springfield College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play.
The teams would settle for a split of the day's doubleheader, as Springfield won the second game 11-3.
Game 1: WPI 5, Springfield 2
The Engineers broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning with three runs on three hits, including a two-run single by shortstop Martin McCormack (Quincy, MA), who was 3-3 in the game with a walk and a run scored to go with the pair of RBIs.
Andrew Brooks (Millis, MA) had two hits and scored twice from the leadoff spot for the Engineers, who overcame a 1-0 deficit to earn the win for freshman Noah Pins (Holden, MA) in his first collegiate appearance. Pins pitched three-innings of one-run relief with three strikeouts.
Springfield catcher Nick Fazio (Kings Park, NY) opened the scoring with a one-out home run to left field in the top of the second inning. Fazio ended the game with three hits and two RBI. He knocked in the Pride's only other run with a single to right field in the sixth.
DJ Brooks (Kings Park, NY) tied the score with a single to score McCormack in the bottom of the second.
One inning later, the Engineers put two on with one out before sophomore Kyle Johns (Milltown, NJ) singled in Brooks. Johns and senior Jordan DeDonato (Danvers, MA) came home on the next at bat, when McCormack collected his base knock to left field.
WPI starter Everett Wonson (Wenham, MA) struck out two in three innings of one-run ball, while Andrew Gray (Millersville, MD) and Matt Penkala (Warren, RI) combined to keep the Pride scoreless over the last three frames. Penkala closed the door to earn his first save of the year.
Noah Bleakley (Granby, MA) took the loss for the Pride, allowing three earned runs over four innings of work. Bleakley struck out five and allowed just one free pass.
Brendan Kirck (Hamden, CT) tossed three and a third innings of relief for Springfield, allowing just one run and striking out two.
Game 2: Springfield 11, WPI 3
Springfield scored six times in their half of the third inning and got three hits from Bleakley, who played first base in the nightcap.
The teams each had eight hits, but only Bleakley and DeDonato, who went 2-3 for WPI, recorded more than one base knock.
Joe Traversa (Pittsfield, MA) got the ball rolling for Springfield with a double in the first inning, eventually scoring on a wild pitch, but WPI levelled the score in the second when Joe Salvon (Longmeadow, MA) singled and came home as part of a double steal with Nick Rath (Medford, MA).
The Pride wasted no time in taking the lead back, and never trailed after right fielder Conor Santoianni (Stormville, NY) led off the third with a solo home run. From there, Springfield used a pair of walks and an error to put two men on and pushed across a run when Bleakley singled to center field.
Cadin Maynard (Waterford, CT) and Fazio added RBI singles and Penkala brought Maynard home with a sacrifice fly to right.
Penkala picked up another RBI in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk, and Andrew McCarty (Meriden, CT) scored Maynard for the second time on the day with a single.
WPI scored a pair in the seventh, but Springfield took advantage of three consecutive walks to add two more runs in the ninth.
Twelve pitchers took the hill between the two teams in the second game. WPI starter Alexander Mondro (Westford, MA) suffered the loss, allowing five earned runs in two innings.
Jacob Shpur (East Canaan, CT), who got the win for the Pride, was fantastic in relief, throwing two scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Blake Roberge (Warwick, RI) also had an immaculate outing, striking out three in a perfect two innings of work.
The Engineers head to Babson next weekend for a twin-bill starting at 12:00 PM. Springfield will next play at home on Saturday, April 3rd with a doubleheader against Wheaton.