Worcester, Mass. – April 4, 2009 – Ryan Tatreau’s third home run of the game in the top of the 10th inning helped propel visiting Springfield to a 13-12 victory in game two to help salvage a split of a NEWMAC baseball doubleheader on Saturday against host WPI. The Engineers used three homers in the opener to take game one 9-1. WPI, ranked #8 in New England, is now 15-9 overall and 4-3 in conference action. Springfield improved to 5-15 on the season and 2-3 in NEWMAC play.
With a gusty, cold wind blowing out to left and center field, it was a hitter’s paradise at the Class of 1893 field. After nabbing a 1-0 lead in the opener in the bottom of the first on a Scott McNee RBI single, the Engineers turned to the long ball during a five-run third. Mitch McClune got the scoring started by belting a two-run homer to left before Mike Swanton smashed a three-run home run that hit off of Harrington Auditorium behind right field.
That would be all the support WPI pitcher Sean Minor would need. The freshman right-hander and reigning NEWMAC Pitcher of the Week built upon his recent success on the mound, going the distance while scattering seven hits and walking just one to improve to 3-1 on the season.
The only run that the Pride would get off of Minor came in the fourth when Travis Turgeon plated Jamie Mackie with an run-producing infield single. The duo each collected two hits in the opener for Springfield. Mike Cole was saddled with the loss, dropping to 0-2 this spring.
WPI added insurance with a McNee solo homer in the fifth, then a Paul Galligan RBI single and a McNee sacrifice fly in the sixth. McNee led all players with three hits. Junior Cody McGregor joined teammates McNee and Ethan Brown as members of the career 100-hit club when he ripped a single in the fifth.
WPI continued its success at the dish in game two, racing out to a 9-0 lead after four innings of play. Mark Dignum started the game with a leadoff home run and Swanton later added a RBI single in a four-run first inning for the Engineers. WPI benefited from two more in the second and one in the third, as McClune notched an RBI single for the Engineers in the second and McGregor had a run-producing double in the third as the key hits for WPI in the rally. WPI scored two more in the fourth on a walk, hit batsman, infield single and two errors, and looked poised to sweep the doubleheader with a nine-run lead.
Springfield began to chip away at the lead in the fifth, plating a run on a Mike Robilloto infield hit that scored Drew Michael. A Luke Gabordi RBI double and a Mackie sacrifice fly in the sixth gave the Pride two more, cutting the lead to 9-3. After WPI added a run on a Nick Bean single in the sixth while Kyle Bartosik added another in the seventh, Tatreau added his first home run of the day in the bottom of the inning to make it 11-4 after seven.
The Pride got the big rally they needed in the eighth, batting around and scoring eight runs to take their first lead of the day 12-11. John Schmaltz led off the inning with a double and later produced a three-run homer, while Tatreau added a second three-run shot, his second of the game, as Springfield quickly erased the deficit.
McClune answered for a stunned WPI bunch, homering on the first pitch in the bottom of the ninth to tie up the game for the Engineers and send the game into extra innings. The jot was short-lived however, as Tatreau’s third home run in a row, deep down the right field line, gave Springfield the go-ahead and eventual winning run leading off the 10th. Turgeon picked up the win in five innings of relief work for Springfield, moving to 1-0. Thomas Whiting suffered the loss, evening his record at 1-1.
Springfield is on the road on Monday when the Pride will face MCLA in North Adams at 3:30pm.