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Baseball Walks Off in Game Two to Force NEWMAC Split With WPI

Baseball Walks Off in Game Two to Force NEWMAC Split With WPI

Springfield, Mass. - April 27, 2019 - The Springfield College baseball program finshed off the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) West regular-season series against WPI on Archie Allen Field on Saturday afternoon, and the Pride dropped game one, 2-1, in 18 innings, before the Pride was able to come from behind and beat the Engineers, 6-5, in 11 innings in game two.

Springfield College now sits at 20-16 overall with a 8-9 mark in the league, while WPI moves to 22-14 on the year with an idential 8-9 mark against league opponents. With idential conference records, both the Pride and WPI earn a share of the NEWMAC West Division Title.

Because WPI defeated Springfield College two out of the three games the two sides played, the Pride will be the No. 5 seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Championship Tournament, and will travel to fourth-seeded MIT on Thursday, May 2.

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WPI 2, Springfield College 1 -- Game One

Senior Brian Johnson (East Haddam, Conn.) made his 25th-career start on the mound for the Pride, allowing just five hits over a career-high 11.0 innings of work with five strike outs. Cole Donovan (Holderness, N.H.) would take the ball from the starter in the 12th and turn in 5.0 innings of work before being relieved by Kenny Walton (New Providence, Pa.) , who threw 1.1 innings, before Fletcher Comment (Westbrook, Conn.) pitched the final 0.2 frames.

The game started as a pitchers duel as there were just three total hits allowed through the first three full innings of play on Saturday. In the top of the fourth inning, Johnson would breeze through the 3-4-5 hitters for WPI, striking out a pair and bringing the Pride to the plate to try to break open the scoring for the game. On a two-strike pitch, Noah Bleakley (Granby, Mass.) poked a triple to right-center gap to put a runner just 90 feet from home. Jack Simonetty (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) drove in the game's first run when he singled through the right side in the next at bat to give Springfield a 1-0 lead in the fourth.

In the top of the sixth, a single from Martin McCormack (Quincy, Mass.) got the rally started for the Engineers, and after an untimely balk moved McCormack to third, Johnson picked off a runner at first but McCormack came home to even the score at one apiece.

The score would remain 1-1 all the way until the top of the 18th inning, when WPI's Steven Gallagher (Coventry, R.I.) singled to left, before advancing to second on a wild pitch. After another single to left loaded up the bases, Comment hit Benjamin Chaffee (Franklin, Mass.), allowing Gallagher to come home for what would be the game-winning run. 

Sophomore Eduardo Martinez (Southwick, Mass.) started the bottom of the frame with a single up the middle, and Jason Bean (Middleboro, Mass) moved hime to second, but a strikeout would seal the deal for the Engineers, which would escape with a one-run win.

Springfield College 6, WPI 5 -- Game Two

With the game even at five apiece in the bottom of the 11th, Martinez reached on a fielder's choice that allowed Bleakley to score from third, lifting the Pride to a game-two victory over WPI, as the maroon and white salvaged a sweep on Saturday.

Junior pitcher Shawn Babineau (Ashland, Mass.) got the start in the second game of the doubleheader for the Pride, and the lefty threw a career-high 10.0 innings in the extra inning contest, striking out three batters. Ben Arnold (Deerfield, Mass.), who would pick up his first-career win, came on to pitch 1.0 frames, allowing just one hit.

Bleakley was 3-for-5 in the win with one RBI and one run scored, while Brandon Russo (Lisbon, Conn.) had two RBI at the top of the lineup for Springfield College. Mark Joao (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) also went 2-for-5 with two runs scored in the win.

WPI struck twice in the top of the first inning, before the Pride cut its deficit in half when Matt Fraioli (Stamford, Conn.) drew a walk with the bases loaded, scoring Joao from third to make it 2-1. The Engineers would open a 4-1 lead over the Pride with a two-run single from TJ DellaCroce (Waxhaw, N.C.) in the top of the sixth, but the maroon and white would respond with two of its own in the bottom of the frame to keep it a one-run game.

In the bottom of the seventh, Joao led off with a line drive into the gap in right center for a double, before Bleakley ripped a ball through the left side to bring Joao home and tie the game 4-4 at the end of the seventh. 

In the tenth inning, WPI launched a triple over the head of the center fielder to put the lead run 90 feet away with one out. A double to left field would plate the deciding run and make it a 5-4 game in the top of the 10th. The Pride landed a run in the bottom of the inning when pinch runner Sage Bray (Fitchburg, Mass.) was able to round third and score on an infield single from Russo to tie it at 5-5.

Bleakley then started off the 11th with a single to left, and was moved over to third by a Jack Simonetty (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) single. Martinez would then step up to the plate and hit a game-winning ground ball to the shortstop that would plate Bleakley for the win.