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Western New England Sweeps Suffolk in Non-Conference Action

Junior outfielder Erik Lacaire went 2-for-4 with one RBI, four runs scored and four stolen bases in the second game of Western New England's doubleheader sweep against Suffolk on Saturday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)
Junior outfielder Erik Lacaire went 2-for-4 with one RBI, four runs scored and four stolen bases in the second game of Western New England's doubleheader sweep against Suffolk on Saturday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)

Wetmore, Kawiecki & Hamel shut down Rams offense  

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (March 31, 2018) –
The Western New England University baseball team won both games of a non-conference doubleheader against Suffolk University on Saturday afternoon at Trelease Park. The Golden Bears defeated the Rams 4-1 in the opener, before rolling to a 15-0 shutout victory in the second contest.

Western New England 4, Suffolk 1

Top Performers
• Junior shortstop Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) and junior outfielder Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) led the Western New England offense in the first game, as Loparco went 2-for-3 with two RBI and LaCroix also posted a 2-for-3 effort with a double and one RBI.
• Making his fifth start of the season, junior right-hander Paul Wetmore (Hamden, Conn.) went the distance, striking out eight batters and allowing just one run on four hits over seven innings of work.

• Suffolk senior outfielder Seth Coiley (Arlington, Mass.) went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and one run scored.
• Junior left-hander Kevin Sinatra (East Boston, Mass.) got the start for the Rams and allowed three earned runs over six innings.

Game Review
Suffolk struck first in the top of the second inning, as Coiley led off with a double to left center before advancing to third on a passed ball and coming in to score on a sacrifice fly by freshman Rich Giandrea (Audobon, N.J.).

Western New England took the lead for good in the bottom of the third with the help of a pair of Suffolk errors and a timely hit from Loparco.

After the first two batters reached on errors, junior catcher Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sinatra was able to get an out on the next play, but Loparco followed with a two-run single through the left side of the infield to put the Golden Bears up 2-1.

Western New England added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth, as junior outfielder Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) singled, stole second, and scored on a Suffolk error, before junior Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) and LaCroix recorded consecutive doubles.

Wetmore retired the side in order in the seventh to seal the win for the Golden Bears.

Western New England 15, Suffolk 0

Top Performers
• Lacaire and sophomore outfielder Jamie Schofield (Darien, Conn.) were key contributors in Western New England's game two offensive outburst. Lacaire went 2-for-4 with one RBI, four runs scored and four stolen bases, while Schofield posted a 2-for-5 effort with a triple, one RBI and one run scored out of the leadoff spot in the batting order.
• Senior right-hander Jake Kawiecki (Burlington, Conn.) improved to 3-0 this season after striking out four batters over four shutout innings, and junior left-hander Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.) picked up his fourth save with three punchouts over three shutout frames.

• Freshman outfielder Will Hopkins (Old Rochester, Mass.) accounted for two of Suffolk's five hits, as he went 2-for-3 at the plate.

Game Review
Western New England got its offense going in the first inning, as the Golden Bears scored three runs on an RBI single by Lacaire and a two-run single off the bat of senior Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.). 

Western New England opened up an 8-0 advantage with five more runs in the third inning. Lacaire reached on an error to lead off, before stealing second base. After Cassella singled to left field, advancing Lacaire to third, the duo successfully executed a double steal, allowing Lacaire to score. Junior Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.) came through with a two-run single two batters later, and Valeriano added an RBI double later in the inning before Schofield capped the big frame with an RBI triple to right center field.

A LaCroix sacrifice fly in the fourth made it 9-0, and the Golden Bears plated six more runs in the fifth to extend the final margin to 15.

Notes
• Western New England's game one win marked the 100th of head coach Dan Gomez's career. Now in his fifth season as head coach at WNE, Gomez owns a career record of 101-72-1 (.583) through the conclusion of Saturday's action.
• With hits in both ends of Saturday's doubleheader, Cassella extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
• The Golden Bears swiped a season-high ten bases in the game two victory.

Up Next
Western New England (11-4) will be on the road for its next two games, beginning with a non-conference contest at Westfield State on Monday at 3:30 p.m. Suffolk (4-12) returns home to host Endicott on Wednesday.