WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Adam Chochrek's two-run homer highlighted a four-run seventh as Clark beat Coast Guard 8-4 in the first game of a critical three-game New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) series.
Coast Guard must now sweep Clark tomorrow to earn a spot in the NEWMAC tournament while Clark needs now to just split to make the tournament.
Clark improves to 17-18 overall and 7-8 in the NEWMAC while Coast Guard drops to 14-19 overall and 6-9 in the conference.
Following a one hour and 25 minute rain delay the Cougars exploded for four runs in the seventh on a two-run triple by senior Michael Eglow before Chochrek's blast to center put the Cougars up 7-2.
Coast Guard struck first in the second on two-run homer by junior Timbo Duncan for a 2-0 lead.
Junior Eric Vrissis was cruising allowing just two hits through the first four innings before Clark scored three unearned runs in the fifth.
A throwing error followed by singles by sophomores Teddy Downing and Kyle Bonicki loaded the bases with one out. Graduate student David Eschen was hit by a pitch to get Clark on the board and RBI fielder's choice by senior James Conway tied the game before an RBI double by Eglow gave Clark a 3-2 lead. Eglow was thrown out trying to stretch his hit to a triple just before another runner crossed home.
Coast Guard got a pair of runs in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by senior Kyle Wood and an RBI ground out by freshman Will Stephens to cut the deficit to 7-4.
WPI added an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI single by Conway to close the scoring.
The Bears threatened in the ninth, but left runners on second and third as senior Brett O'Keefe came on and retired the final two batters for his fifth save of the season.
Freshman Mike Tice (6-0) went 5 1/3 innings allowing six hits and a pair of earned runs while walking three and fanning one to get the win.
Vrissis (0-5) was the tough luck loser as he went six innings allowing six hits, three runs, all unearned, with two walks and a strikeout.
Bonicki, Eglow and Chochrek each had two hits in the win for Clark.
Senior Mark Behne had a pair of doubles while sophomore Alex Murdoch added a pair of hits for the Bears.
The teams complete the three-game series tomorrow with a doubleheader at Coast Guard beginning at noon.