Kawiecki strikes out eight, Lacaire & Cassella record three hits each
AUBURNDALE, Fla. (March 24, 2018) – The Western New England University baseball team extended its winning streak to five games with a 5-3 victory over St. Olaf (Minn.) College on Saturday morning at the Lake Myrtle Complex.
• Junior outfielders Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) and Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) led the Golden Bears offensively, as both went 3-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored.
• Sophomore second baseman Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) posted a 1-for-4 effort with two RBI and one run scored.
• Senior right-hander Jake Kawiecki (Burlington, Conn.) got the start on the mound and turned in his best performance of the season, as he matched his career-high with eight strikeouts while allowing just one earned run over five innings to improve to 2-0. Sophomore left-hander Jeff Zebrowski (South Hadley, Mass.) picked up his first career save after getting the final eight outs.
• St. Olaf freshman TJ Rogers (Minnetonka, Minn.) totaled two hits out of the leadoff spot, while senior Jake Mathison (Northfield, Minn.), junior Thomas Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) and freshman Matthew Muller (Minnetonka, Minn.) recorded one RBI each.
After a scoreless first inning, St. Olaf took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Peterson.
Western New England pulled ahead for good with three runs in the top of the third, however. Junior Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) was hit by a pitch with one out, and Cassella followed with an RBI double to left field to tie the contest.
Johnson came up next and produced an RBI single, scoring Cassella, and two batters later junior Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) capped the three-run frame with a sacrifice fly.
Lacaire increased Western New England's advantage to 4-1 with a solo home run to left field in the top of the fourth, but the Oles answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut their deficit to one.
Sophomore right-hander Wes Walton (Hamburg, N.J.) came on in relief of Kawiecki in the sixth and retired the side in order, before the Golden Bear offense tacked on one final run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Johnson.
Zebrowski replaced Walton with one out in the seventh and cruised the rest of the way, allowing just one baserunner en route to his first collegiate save.
• The Golden Bears have won five consecutive games for the first time since March 5-14 of last season.
• Cassella is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak with four multi-hit efforts during that span.
• Kawiecki's other eight-strikeout performance came in a 5-1 loss to UMass Boston on March 30, 2017.
Western New England (8-3) wraps up its eight-game trip at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational tomorrow morning, when the Golden Bears take on Benedictine (Ill.) at 9 a.m. at the Lake Myrtle Complex.