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Golden Bears Open Up Early Lead, Cruise to 11-2 Win Over Gordon in CCC Tournament Opener

Western New England opened the 2017 CCC Tournament with an 11-2 win over Gordon on Thursday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)
Western New England opened the 2017 CCC Tournament with an 11-2 win over Gordon on Thursday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)

Western New England will travel to Beverly to face Endicott on Saturday at noon

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 4, 2017) – The third-seeded Western New England University baseball team opened the double elimination round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament with an 11-2 victory over sixth-seeded Gordon College on Thursday afternoon at Trelease Park.

With the win, Western New England (22-16) will take on top-seeded Endicott on Saturday at noon in Beverly. Gordon (11-21) awaits the loser of that contest in what will serve as an elimination game at 3 p.m.

Top Performers
• Sophomore outfielder Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) led the Golden Bears at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a walk, three RBI and two runs scored. Junior infielder Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.) also went 2-for-4 with a walk and one RBI, while sophomores Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) and Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) drove in two runs each.
• Sophomore left-hander Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.) got the start for Western New England and improved to 7-2 after striking out five batters and allowing two runs on five hits and five walks over six innings of work.

• Gordon sophomore Christian Hodge (Waltham, Mass.) reached base three times with a walk, a single, and a double, while sophomore Chris Leavitt (East Bridgewater, Mass.) and freshman Morgan Hyde (Thomson, Ga.) drove in one run each for the Fighting Scots.

Game Review
• Western New England opened the scoring with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.) reached on a fielder's choice and proceeded to steal both second and third base before coming in to score the game's first run on an RBI single to right center field by Lacaire. Freshman Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) recorded a sacrifice fly later in the inning to make it 2-0 in favor of Western New England. 
• The Golden Bears tacked on three more runs in the third to open up a 5-0 lead. After a pair of hits and a walk loaded the bases, Lacaire drew another free pass to plate a run. A wild pitch allowed another run to score, before Cassella drove in Western New England's fifth run with an infield single.
• An RBI double by LaCroix and an RBI single by Lacaire in the fourth allowed the Golden Bears to extend their advantage to 7-0.
• Hamel, who gave up just three hits over the first four innings, ran into some trouble in the fifth as Gordon was able to break through for a pair of runs. After getting two quick outs, the next two batters reached base and Hyde followed with an RBI single to center field. Two batters later, Leavitt drew a walk with the bases loaded, scoring another run.
• Western New England put the game out of reach with four runs in the bottom of the seventh despite recording just one hit in the frame.
• Sophomore Jeremy Morris (Montrose, N.Y.) and junior Cody Kozin (Storrs, Conn.) pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively, to seal the win for the Golden Bears.

• LaCroix and senior Daniel Morin (Salem, N.H.) both extended their hitting streaks to eight games.
• Western New England batters were issued 11 walks in the contest.
• The Golden Bears have scored 10+ runs ten times this season.