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Western New England Rides Fast Start to 7-4 Win over Nichols in CCC Tournament

Western New England Rides Fast Start to 7-4 Win over Nichols in CCC Tournament
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 6, 2016) - The top-seeded Western New England University baseball team built a six-run lead through two innings of play on its way to a 7-4 victory over third-seeded Nichols College this afternoon on the second day of the 2016 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament at Trelease Park.
 
Western New England (30-9), which has now won seven consecutive games for the third time this season and reached the 30-win mark for the first time in head coach Dan Gomez's three-year tenure, will host second-seeded Endicott tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. in a matchup featuring the last two unbeaten teams in the tournament. Nichols falls to 24-16 with the loss and sees its run in the CCC playoffs come to a close.
 
Western New England's 15-hit performance this afternoon was fueled by a combined 12-for-19 (.632) effort from the top four players in the batting order. Senior outfielder Doug Milne (Nesconset, N.Y.) led the way, going 4-for-5 at the plate with one double, one triple, and two RBI. Classmates Kevin Marciano (Pepperell, Mass.) and Eduardo Colmenares (Caracas, Venezuela) recorded three hits each and scored a combined five runs, while senior Scott Hubener (Mendon, Mass.) went 2-for-5 out of the leadoff spot with one run scored.
 
Making his first career postseason start, CCC Rookie of the Year Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.) improved to 7-1 after striking out four batters and scattering ten hits over seven innings on the mound.
 
Junior Tim Ford (Stafford Springs, Conn.) was among four Bison to record multiple hits, as he went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Sophomore Cam Cook (Phoenixville, Pa.) also posted a 2-for-4 effort and drove in a run.
 
Junior Adam Rigney (Niantic, Conn.) took the loss for Nichols after surrendering seven runs (six earned) on nine hits over four innings. Sophomore StigErik McElhinney (Dracut, Mass.) did a nice job in relief, keeping the Golden Bears off the board during his four frames on the mound.
 
Western New England jumped on Rigney early, plating four runs on three hits and two errors in the bottom of the first. After the first three Golden Bears that came to the plate reached base, Milne drove in the game's first run with a single to right center field. Two more runs scored when a groundout by junior Daniel Morin (Salem, N.H.) was misplayed by Nichols sophomore shortstop Brendan Martin (Nashua, N.H.), and freshman Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) capped the four-run frame with an RBI fielder's choice.
 
The Golden Bears increased their lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the second, as Colmenares drove in Marciano with a single to center field before coming in to score later in the inning when Rigney balked with the bases loaded.
 
Nichols broke through with an unearned run in the third, but Western New England got it right back in the bottom of the fourth on Milne's RBI triple to left center.
 
Hamel ran into trouble in the sixth, allowing three runs on four hits, which included Ford's two-run double to left field. The freshman lefthander buckled down and avoided further damage, however, inducing an inning-ending fly out with the bases loaded.
 
Hamel worked around a two-out single to get through the seventh before turning it over to the bullpen, which finished the job. Junior Matt Thomas (Plainville, Conn.) worked a scoreless eighth, and senior Matt Fedor (Monroe, Conn.) sealed the win with a perfect ninth, nailing down his third save of the season.
 
In tomorrow's other early CCC Tournament contest, Curry will face Salve Regina in an elimination game on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. The winner of the Western New England-Endicott matchup advances directly to Sunday's championship round and moves to within one victory of capturing the CCC title, while the loser will take on the Curry-Salve winner in an elimination game at Trelease Park tentatively scheduled for 3:30 p.m.