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Seventh Inning Heroics Help Baseball Salvage Sweep Against Salve Regina

Seventh Inning Heroics Help Baseball Salvage Sweep Against Salve Regina

BROCKTON, Mass. – Sophomore Owen Swanson's (New Milford, Conn.) squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh inning brought home junior Jake Smith (Orange, Conn.) and enabled the Wentworth Institute of Technology baseball team to earn a split with Salve Regina in a Commonwealth Coast Conference doubleheader as the Leopards prevailed, 6-5, in the nightcap. The Seahawks had taken the first game, 8-3.

GAME ONE:  Salve Regina 8, Wentworth 3
Salve Regina jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single from junior Zack Smith (New Canaan, Conn.) and a delayed steal of home by senior Alex Perry (North Attleboro, Mass.) when Smith was caught in a rundown. The Seahawks added four runs in the fourth inning as freshman Michael DeFusco (East Greenwich, R.I.) had a two-run single, freshman Anthony Cieszko (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) drove in a run with a single, and sophomore Dylan Ketch (Clinton, Conn.) scored on a wild pitch. An inning later Salve Regina made it 7-0 when Ketch scored after senior Sam Brito (Lincoln, R.I.) reached on an error.

Wentworth got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning as junior Anthony de la Cruz (Lynn, Mass.) drew a leadoff walk and went to second on an error, allowing Swanson to reach on a fielder's choice. Freshman Aidan French (Chicago, Ill.) brought in de la Cruz and sent Swanson to third and senior Tim Elrick (Plymouth, Mass.) drove both runners home with a single.

The Seahawks added a run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single from Cieszko.

Senior Jimmy Fitzgerald (Canton, Mass.) picked up the win (1-0) as he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and struck out 14 batters. Cieszko went 3-for-4 with two RBI while Perry had a pair of hits in the win.

Senior Robby Sheldon (Dover, N.H.) took the loss (0-2) as he allowed six runs (three earned) on four hits and struck out three in 3.2 innings of work.

GAME TWO:  Wentworth 6, Salve Regina 5
The Leopards took a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Swanson led off with a walk and went to second when French reached on an error. A bunt single from senior Tyler Weninger (Chandler, Ariz.) loaded the bases and Elrick scored Swanson with an RBI single. With one out, Smith reached on a fielder's choice which allowed French to score. An inning later, the hosts made it 3-0 as Weninger lifted a sacrifice fly which scored de la Cruz who had hit a one-out single, went to second on a Swanson hit, and moved to third when French was hit by a pitch.

Using a five-run top of the third inning, Salve Regina took a 5-3 lead with three of the runs coming on a bases-loaded double off the bat of Perry. Junior Colton Eremian (Boca Raton, Fla.) scored Perry on a sacrifice fly and senior Christian Vargas (Melbourne, Fla.) had an RBI single which scored Smith. The Leopards battled back to tie the game at 5-all with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. With two outs, senior Bryon Kucharski (East Haven, Conn.) walked and he went to second when freshman Craig Rich (Billerica, Mass.) was hit by a pitch. De la Cruz delivered a single which scored Kucharski and an error on the play allowed Rich to come in behind him.

The Seahawks threatened to take the lead in the top of the sixth inning as they loaded the bases with one out. However, freshman Brendan Winch (Bow, N.H.) got a foul out and a ground out to end the threat. Wentworth nearly took the lead in the home half of the inning as Weninger walked with two outs and stole second. Elrick was hit by a pitch, however, a flyout left both runners stranded.

After sophomore Caleb Eaton (East Hampstead, N.H.) left a Salve Regina runner stranded in the top of the seventh inning, Smith led off the home half of the inning by lacing a triple to center. Kucharski drew a walk and took second on defensive indifference. Rich was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a force play. A strikeout brought Swanson to the plate and he laid down a bunt which could not be fielded and allowed Smith to come across with the winning run.

Eaton picked up the win (1-0) as he allowed one hit and struck out one in an inning of work. He had also pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two in the opener. Winch pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, scattering four hits. Swanson, Smith, and de la Cruz each were 2-for-4 with one RBI.

Junior Brett Wilkes (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) was tagged with the loss (0-1), as he allowed one run on two hits and struck out one in a third of an inning. Perry was 2-for-4 with three RBI.

Wentworth, which snapped a five-game losing streak, stands at 6-10 overall and 2-4 in CCC play. The Leopards are at Lasell Tuesday night. Salve Regina (8-10, 1-3) is at Wesleyan on Tuesday.

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