Worcester, Mass. – Clark University scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth and the host Cougars took game one of a three-game series with WPI, 8-5, in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) baseball action on Friday afternoon.
The win for the Scarlet and White ties the school record for wins in a season (18) – a benchmark they set last season – in their first campaign under head coach J.P. Pyne.
Score: Clark University 8, WPI 5
Records: Clark University (18-6, 3-4 NEWMAC); WPI (14-7, 3-2 NEWMAC)
Location: Granger Diamond, Worcester, Mass.
How It Happened:
The game, which was played through spurts of heavy rain, was knotted at 5-5 after the Engineers got a leadoff double from Nick Comei (Haverhill, Mass.) in the seventh and then an RBI single from Matt Howard (Worcester, Mass.).
WPI actually struck first to begin the game when they loaded the bases with no outs in the second on Clark starter Patrick Robinson (Watertown, Conn.). Connor Kurtz (Lunenburg, Mass.) drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly and then the Engineers tacked on another on an infield hit by Ryan Tropeano (Pembroke, Mass.).
The Cougars got one back when WPI starter Steven D'Agostino (Worcester, Mass.) ran into trouble of his own in the bottom of the frame, walking the bases loaded. Nick Jordan (Seaford, N.Y.) cashed in a sacrifice fly but that would be all the Scarlet and White would get in the inning.
In the third, Clark pushed a pair of unearned runs across on an infield hit from Zach Kelley (Hadley, Mass.) and then Jordan added another sacrifice fly, giving the Cougars a 4-2 advantage.
That lead grew to 5-2 when Kyle Bonicki (Waterbury, Conn.) tripled to right field to begin the fourth and then crossed home on Kelley single to right.
WPI inched closer when Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, Mass.) blasted a solo homerun to kick off the sixth and Kurtz delivered an RBI single later on in the inning that chased Robinson after 5.2 innings of work.
Now with the score even at 5-5 after Howard's aforementioned single, Clark got the game winning runs in the eighth. First Teddy Downing (Cambridge, Mass.) walked and he then raced home with the go ahead run on an Adam Chochrek (Foxboro, Mass.) double to left.
After pinch runner Rudy Sarro (New Fairfield, Conn.) advanced to third on a wild pitch from reliever Dan Bettigole (South Windsor, Conn.), Tyler Hutchinson (Greene, Maine) walked. Derek Lefebvre (Groton, Mass.) drove in another run with a single to center and even after Hutchinson was erased at home on a double steal attempt, Clark pushed their eighth run home on a Chris Dibble (Manchester, Conn.) single to center.
Downing, who picked up his league-leading fourth save in the win, came on in the ninth and retired the first two batters he faced – Comei and Steven Gallagher (Coventry, R.I.) – via the strikeout and then Bonicki ended the game with a diving over the shoulder catch in shallow left center field.
Inside The Boxscore:
Cam Smith (Gorham, Maine) pitched strong in relief for Clark, going 2.1 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run to collect his first collegiate victory. For WPI, meanwhile, Keith Scales (Upper Marlboro, Md.) was effective out the bullpen for the Engineers, going five innings, but takes the loss.
Capuano, Evan Lacroix (Methuen, Mass.) and Kurtz all had two hits for the Engineers.
Kelley, meanwhile, had his third three-hit game this season for the Cougars, who also got two hits from Downing, Lefebvre and Dibble.
The two teams will play the final two games of their three game set on Saturday at the New England Baseball Complex in Northboro. First pitch of the twinbill is slated for 12:00 p.m.