BROCKTON, Mass. – Senior Tyler Weninger (Chandler, Ariz.) doubled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to help the Wentworth Institute of Technology baseball team salvage a split against Eastern Nazarene. The Leopards' fourth walk-off win of the season was a 9-8 triumph over the Lions after the visitors had prevailed, 8-7, in eight innings in the opener.
GAME ONE: Eastern Nazarene 8, Wentworth 7 (8)
Wentworth took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning as junior Anthony de la Cruz (Lynn, Mass.) plated classmate Andrew Elliott (Rockland, Mass.) with a sacrifice fly. Elliott had led off the inning getting hit by a pitch, went to second on a groundout, and moved to third on a junior Ross Golebiewski (Lyme, Conn.) single.
Eastern Nazarene evened the score in the top of the third as junior Zachary Carmody (Babylon, N.Y.) drew a two-out walk and scored when senior Zach Zaino (Falmouth, Mass.) reach on an error which allowed him to move to third. However, he was stranded there when sophomore Owen Swanson (New Milford, Conn.) made a spectacular diving catch to end the inning. The Leopards reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning as freshman Aidan French (Chicago, Ill.) led off with a single and went to second on a Weninger groundout. French moved to third on a single by senior Tim Elrick (Plymouth, Mass.) and scored when Elliott grounded out.
The fourth inning saw the Lions tie the score in the top of the fourth inning, thanks to a pair of Wentworth errors. With two outs, sophomore Joshua Bombard (Rutland, Mass.) struck out, however, reached on a two-base error. Junior Matthew Urena (Flushing, N.Y.) followed by reaching on an error and going to second, allowing Bombard to score. Wentworth took a 4-2 lead in the home half of the inning as senior Bryon Kucharski (East Haven, Conn.) hit a one-out single and scored from first when de la Cruz's sacrifice bunt attempt was thrown away. De la Cruz came in to score on a sacrifice by Swanson.
A two-run top of the fifth saw the visitors tie the contest at 4-all, thanks to a two-run double from sophomore Dylan Louviaux (Mohnton, Pa.), however, the Black & Gold went ahead 5-4 in the bottom of the inning as Weninger led off getting hit by a pitch and went to second on an Elrick single. Elliott followed with a single to load the bases and, with one out, Weninger scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Golebiewski.
Louviaux delivered the game-tying run as he hit a one-out double to score Zaino. The Lions threatened to take the lead, however, an unassisted double play by freshman Cole Fritz (Peoria, Ariz.) at second base ended the threat. Wentworth had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh as Elrick hit a one-out double and went to third when freshman pinch hitter Kyle Litwin (Jacksonville, Fla.) grounded out. However, Elrick was stranded on third when a pop up ended the inning.
Eastern Nazarene went ahead, 8-7, in the top of the eighth inning as Urena led off with a single and went to second on a one-out walk by junior Connor Simpson (Haverhill, Mass.). Carmody grounded out to move each runner up 90 feet and a Zaino single brought both runners in. After Zaino stole second, he scored on a sophomore Steven Pesce (Harrison, N.Y.) single.
Golebiewski led off the bottom of the eighth getting hit by a pitch, and, with one out, Fritz reached on an error. Swanson followed by reaching on a fielder's choice, however, an error allowed Fritz to take third and Golebiewski to score while Swanson made it to second. French singled in Fritz and moved Swanson to third, and, after an out was recorded, French stole second. However, a groundout ended the Leopard comeback attempt.
Junior Xavier Faria (Assonet, Mass.) picked up the win (4-1) as he allowed a pair of unearned runs on two hits and struck out one in four innings of work. Pesce was 3-for-5 While Zaino (2-for-5, two RBI), and Louviaux (2-for-5, three RBI) also had multiple-hit games.
Freshman Ricky Alexy (Newton, Mass.) took the loss (1-1) as he allowed three runs on three hits in an inning of work. Sophomore Ryan Obin (Plymouth, Mass.) allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits and struck out a pair in seven innings. Elrick was 3-for-5 while French and Kucharski were each 2-for-5. Swanson and de la Cruz drove in two runs apiece.
GAME TWO: Wentworth 9, Eastern Nazarene 8
Wentworth jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Swanson reached on an infield single, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a French double. After Weninger moved French to third with a groundout and Elliott walked, junior Jake Smith (Orange, Conn.) brought French home with a sacrifice fly. The Lions cut the lead in half in the top of the second as Pesce hit a one-out double and went to third with two outs on a wild pitch, eventually coming in to score when an errant throw occurred when Louviaux stole second.
The Leopards upped their lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning when Smith led off reaching on an error and went to second on a Golebiewski single. A bunt single from Kucharski loaded the bases and freshman Craig Rich (Billerica, Mass.) walked to bring in Smith. However, back-to-back strikeouts and a fly out ended the inning for the hosts.
Eastern Nazarene scored four times in the top of the fifth inning to take a 5-3 lead Urena scored on a Simpson single, junior Anthony Esposito (Mount Royal, N.J.) drove in Simpson and sophomore Devin Haberstumpf (Forest Hills, N.Y.) with a two-run single, and Pesce doubled in Esposito. Wentworth narrowed the gap to 5-4 in the home half of the inning as Weninger led off reaching on an error and went to second on a wild pitch before Elliott walked. Smith walked to load the bases and Golebiewski singled in Weninger.
The Lions added to their lead in the top of the sixth as Urena doubled to lead off the inning and, with one out, came home on a Simpson double. Esposito hit a long fly out to right, allowing Simpson to move to third and Carmody reached on a passed ball after he had struck out, which scored Simpson to make it 7-4. The home half of the inning saw Swanson hit a lead-off single and move to second when French walked. With one swing of the bat, Weninger tied the game as he drilled his second home run of the season. With two outs, Golebiewski walked, stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch, putting the winning run on third. However, a strike out ended the inning.
Louviaux hit a one-out single in the top of the seventh and scored when Urena followed with a single and an error on the play advanced each runner. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases, however, sophomore Caleb Eaton (East Hampstead, N.H.) induced a pop out to end the inning and send the Leopards to the home half of the seventh trailing by just one. Litwin pinch hit to open the inning and walked. He was lifted for sophomore pinch runner Dan Mitchell (Avon, Mass.) who went to second on a Fritz sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout, French singled to score Mitchell then stole second. On a 1-0 count, Weninger lifted a ball to right field – nearly to the same spot he had homered an inning earlier – scoring French with the game-winning run.
Eaton improved to 2-0 on the season as he allowed one run on two hits and struck out one in 1.2 innings of relief of freshman Nat McDonald (Durham, Conn.), who allowed seven runs (five earned) on 11 hits and struck out three in 5.1 innings. Weninger was 2-for-5 with four RBI while Swanson, French, and Golebiewski each had two hits.
Urena was 3-for-4 in the loss with Simpson and Pesce each recording two hits. Junior Brandon Imonti (Tewksbury, Mass.) was tagged with the loss (1-10 as he allowed two runs on two hits and struck out two in 1.2 innings of work.
Wentworth (11-16, 6-8) wraps up regular-season play tomorrow at Curry. Eastern Nazarene sees its season end at 17-19 (2-14).
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