Springfield, Mass. - March 21, 2010 - The Springfield College baseball team returned home after a week in Arizona to split a doubleheader with rival Wheaton College in both squads New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener on Sunday afternoon. Springfield took the first game by a score of 4-1 before the Lyons bested the Pride, 8-1, in the second game of the twin bill.
Springfield improves to 5-4, 1-1 in league action while the Lyons even their record to 4-4, 1-1.
In the opener, Mark Grant tossed a complete game four-hitter, allowing just one run in the first inning, as the Pride picked up its first win over Wheaton since April 25, 2004 when SC downed the Lyons 10-6 in the NEWMAC Tournament.
Mike Robilotto went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate in Springfield's victory, driving in one run, while Brian Harris went 2-for-3, including a key three-RBI double in the first inning.
The Lyons manufactured a run in the top of the first inning to grab an early 1-0 lead. Hal Landers led off the game with a double down the left field line and then advanced to third after Jeff Lieneck’s sac bunt. Landers then crossed the plate off a Paul Malaguti sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Springfield responded with three runs in the bottom half of the frame, all coming with two outs. Karl Quist started the rally with a single to short before Mike Micik drew a base on balls. Lou Nucci then loaded the bases as he hit a hard liner past the shortstop, and Harris emptied the bases as he laced a double down the left field line to give Springfield a 3-1 advantage.
The Pride tacked on another run in the third off a Robilotto RBI single up the middle, which drove home Micik from second.
Nick Kostaras shouldered the loss as he gave up four earned runs off nine hits while striking out five.
In the second game, Wheaton used a four-run ninth inning to blow open a three-run contest.
The Lyons opened up the scoring in the third inning when it used a pair of doubles to grab the early lead. With one out, Joe Lieneck cracked his second double of the game into the left center field gap, and Sean Munley kept the inning alive with a two-out walk. With a pair of runners on base, Dan Haugh crushed a double into the same gap in left center to plate two Wheaton runs.
The Pride chalked up a run in the bottom of the fourth with a nice two-out rally. After Robilotto walked to keep the inning alive, he then stole second to get into scoring position. Kyle DiFranco hammered an RBI double to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
Wheaton answered back in the top of the fifth as it manufactured a run after a leadoff single by Hal Landers. Landers advanced to second on a Springfield balk, and then moved over to third after a sacrifice bunt by Lieneck. Paul Malaguti then provided an RBI single up the the middle as Wheaton’s lead grew to 3-1.
The visitors tacked another run in the seventh as Munley’s RBI double to left plated Landers for Wheaton’s fourth run of the contest.
The Lyons blew open the game in the top of the ninth as it scored four runs to take a commanding 8-1 lead. Wheaton’s first four batters all reached base off three singles and a batter hit by a pitch. The Lyons used a two-RBI single by Haugh and a two-RBI double from Hadi Raad to cushion its lead to seven runs.
Haugh recorded four RBI in the win, while Lieneck ended the game with three hits, including a pair of doubles. Kevin Calabro earned the win as he lasted six innings, giving up just one earned run off six hits while registering five strikeouts.
Daniel Jones lasted just three innings as he recorded the loss for Springfield. Jones he was one of four different pitchers who took the mound for the Pride. Joe Kropa was the only member of the Pride to finish the game with a pair of hits.
Springfield will now prepare for a non-conference game on Monday afternoon when it hosts Albertus Magnus.