Bears Settle for Split at WPI

Luke Sniatkowski
Luke Sniatkowski

WORCESTER, Mass. –  Coast Guard sophomore Luke Sniatkowski struck out a career-high eight and picked up the first complete game victory of his career, a 10-3 win, in the opener, but WPI rallied from a 5-0 deficit and won 7-3 to salvage a split with a game two victory in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) doubleheader played at Assumption College.

With the split, WPI wins the three-game weekend series and improves to 16-11 overall and 7-6 in the NEWMAC while the Bears, who snapped a four-game losing streak in the opener are now 11-7 overall and 4-5 in conference play.

In the opener Sean Greene led off the bottom of the first with a blast to right center. Zach Blanchard plated Vinny D'Ambrosio with a sacrifice fly later in the inning for a 2-0 lead.

Coast Guard swung the lead in its favor with a three-run top of the fourth. Zach Serna began the uprising with an RBI single to left field. Brendan McNeil then scored on a wild pitch to even the game at 2-2. Serna represented the go-ahead run as he scored on a wild pitch.

WPI tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the third courtesy of Blanchard's RBI single to left center.

Blake Thompson opened the fourth with a single up the middle and scored on an infield miscue for what proved to be the game-winning run. Matt Hanks singled to center field to push the Bears lead to 5-3.

Coast Guard delivered two more in the sixth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Mark Behne and Kyle Jackson. Tim Duncan singled in a run and McNeil followed with a run-producing double. Later in the stanza, Behne helped produce the final tally of the game with an infield RBI knock.

Greene batted 3-for-3 with a pair of walks, an RBI and a run scored as Blanchard was 2-for-2 with a walk, sacrifice fly and a pair of RBI. D'Ambrosio and DJ Ouellette also had a pair of hits for the WPI

Steven D'Agostino (1-3) struck out three in the setback while Dan Bettigole fanned seven in five innings of relief work for the Engineers.

Duncan (RBI, 2 runs), Thompson (2 RBI) and Behne (2 RBI, 2 runs) all tallied a pair of hits for Coast Guard in game one.

Sniatkowski improved to 3-0 with the complete-game victory.

Defensively, the teams combined to turn five double plays, including three in the first three innings.

Coast Guard sailed out to a 4-0 lead after half an inning in the second game. Behne scored on a passed ball before Thompson delivered two runs with a single to center field. Ed Lazowski pushed Thompson home with a knock to left. Duncan led off the third with a homer to right, his team leading fourth of the season, to extend the Bears lead to 5-0.

Beginning in the the top of the fourth, the Engineer defense set down 13 batters in a row.

The WPI offense began to mount a comeback with two outs in the bottom of the sixth while taking advantage of a Coast Guard error scoring four unearned runs.

John Caliri  and Steve Petry combined to drive in three runs on consecutive hits to the outfield. Caliri later crossed home plate on a passed ball to cut the Engineers deficit to one.

WPI pulled ahead with three more in the seventh as Alex Venditti drove an RBI single through the right side and Ouellette plated a pair with a double to right center.

Coast Guard had runners on the corners with one out in the ninth. Vaitkunas faked to third and ended up picking off the runner at first. The final out was a screaming liner back to the pitcher.

WPI's Petry and Coast Guard's Thompson each had a pair of hits in the nightcap.

Aidan Freeburg struck out three in the first two innings before being relieved by Vaitkunas who improved to 2-0 with seven scoreless innings of relief while striking out four.

Andrew Lucak allowed four unearned runs and fanned six in the first six frames. Justin Rebholz took the loss (3-2) and Cody Bain retired final three batters for the Bears while recording two strikeouts.

Both teams face MIT in their next outing as the Engineers head to Cambridge for a single game on Tuesday at 3:30pm and the Bears host a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at noon.