Johnson, Loparco and Rios record two hits each for Western New England
GORHAM, Maine (April 30, 2017) – The Western New England University baseball team stranded 11 runners on base in a 4-1 setback to No. 21/25 nationally ranked University of Southern Maine on Sunday afternoon in non-conference action at Ed Flaherty Field.
• Freshman Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) and sophomore Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) had two hits each out of the top two spots in the Western New England batting order, while Johnson also walked and drove in the Golden Bears' lone run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
• Sophomore Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.) reached base four times, as he went 2-for-2 with two walks, and classmate Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) doubled and scored a run.
• Southern Maine was led by freshman Dylan Hapworth (Winslow, Maine), who went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, two RBI and one run scored. Senior Matt Bender (Walpole, Mass.) walked, singled twice and scored two runs, while senior Paul McDonough (Wells, Maine) and junior Sam Stauble (Harrison, Maine) recorded one hit and one RBI each.
• Senior left-hander Tyler Leavitt (North Andover, Mass.) got the start on the mound for the Huskies and earned the win (3-0) after giving up one run on five hits and four walks over 6.1 innings.
• After Western New England stranded two men on base in the top of the first, Southern Maine opened the scoring in the bottom half of the inning when Hapworth singled through the left side of the infield, plating Bender.
• The Golden Bears tied the game in the top of the fifth, as Valeriano doubled down the right field line with one out before stealing third and coming in to score on a sacrifice fly by Johnson.
• The Huskies quickly responded with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth, however, to claim a 4-1 advantage. Bender singled to right center with one out, and Stauble followed with an RBI triple into the gap in right center. Hapworth came up next and doubled down the left field line, scoring Stauble, before McDonough capped the big frame with an RBI single to right field.
• Western New England stranded two runners on base in both the sixth and seventh innings. The Golden Bears went down in order in the eighth, and Southern Maine sophomore Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine) came on to get the final three outs in the ninth, earning his eighth save of the season.
• Senior Matt Thomas (Plainville, Conn.) got the start for the Golden Bears and dropped to 2-2 with the loss after surrendering four runs on eight hits over five innings. The Western New England bullpen allowed just one hit over three shutout innings.
• Johnson has recorded ten hits over his last six games.
• Southern Maine and Western New England entered Sunday's contest ranked No. 3 and No. 14, respectively, in the first NCAA New England Regional ranking, which was released on Thursday.
Western New England (21-15) caps a stretch of six games in five days tomorrow at Babson, while Southern Maine (25-8) hosts Bowdoin on Tuesday.