Worcester, Mass. - April 19, 2014 - Trailing WPI baseball in the NEWMAC standings coming into the weekend, Springfield completed a sweep of a three-game weekend series against the Engineers on Saturday at Worcester State, winning both games of a doubleheader, 5-3 and 4-2, led by hot-hitting senior catcher Sean Smith (Broken Arrow, Okla).
Smith slapped a two-run single to left field during the Pride’s decisive four-run seventh inning in the first game, and then went 3 for 4 with two runs scored in the nightcap.
With Springfield’s sweep, the Pride wins the NEWMAC West Division and will host MIT next weekend in a best-of-three semifinal series. WPI travel to Babson on Thursday at 3:30pm in the #4-#5 seed play-in game with the winner squaring off against Wheaton in a best-of-three semifinal series next weekend in Norton.
WPI (16-11, 10-7 NEWMAC) has one game left, away versus Nichols at 3:30pm Wednesday, before moving on to the NEWMAC Championship Tournament.
Springfield (16-14, 9-8) also has non-league games to take care of, playing road games against RIC on Monday and at Westfield State on Tuesday.
The Pride’s Oliver Collette (Spencer, Mass.) went seven innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs while striking out five to pick up his first win of the season in the opener. Peter Baranski (Hamden, Conn.) came in for the two-inning save.
In the second game, starter Mike DeMille (East Milton, Mass.) went five scoreless innings to open the game, but it was Dan Green (Oakland, N.J.) who picked up the win, benefiting from two runs in the top of the ninth inning by Springfield. Baranski came in for the bottom half of the inning to pick up his second save of the day and fifth of the season.
Both WPI pitchers went the distance, as Taylor Landry (Kennebunk, Maine) went nine innings in the first game and Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn, Mass.) did the same in the second. Vaitkunas gave up just three earned runs, while Landry struck out seven.
The opener remained scoreless into the bottom of the sixth inning when David Trujillo (Sutton, Mass.) led off with a single, later tagging up to score on a sacrifice fly by Sean Greene (Hingham, Mass.) that put WPI ahead 1-0.
However, Springfield stormed back with four runs in the seventh to seize control of the game. Dan Bergami (Schenectady, N.Y.) and Shane O’Leary (Kings Park, N.Y.) produced RBI singles to get things started, before Smith roped a two-run single through the left side for the Pride. WPI got two runs back in the bottom half of the inning on a DJ Ouellette (Watertown, Conn.) homer.
The Pride completed the scoring with an RBI double by Steve Starr (Lebanon, Conn.) in the ninth inning.
Springfield scored lone runs in the third and fourth inning of the nightcap to go ahead. In the third, O'Leary led off with a double and came around to score on a Starr groundout. The Pride tacked on a run in the fourth as Smith crossed the plate on a Corey Wilcox (Montville, Conn.) sac fly.
However, DeMille’s unblemished five innings were scrapped after WPI tied it up, 2-2, in the sixth. The Crimson and Gray scored their first run on a squeeze bunt by Trujillo that scored Zach Blanchard (Warwick, RI) (2 for 4). The next run came quick as senior Will Feraco (Auburn, MA) followed with a solo homer to right on the next at bat.
That was all the offense WPI would produce though, as O'Leary hit a two-run single in the ninth to seal the series sweep.