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Golden Bears Cruise to CCC-Opening Sweep of Eastern Nazarene

Sophomore Zac Nussbaum hit a grand slam in game two of Western New England's CCC-opening sweep over Eastern Nazarene on Thursday. (Photo by Jeff Rosenblatt)
Sophomore Zac Nussbaum hit a grand slam in game two of Western New England's CCC-opening sweep over Eastern Nazarene on Thursday. (Photo by Jeff Rosenblatt)

Western New England scores 33 runs while limiting Lions to five hits over two games

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 5, 2018) –
The Western New England University baseball team opened Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play with a pair of strong all-around performances in a doubleheader sweep of Eastern Nazarene College on Thursday afternoon at Trelease Park. 

Western New England 20, Eastern Nazarene 3

Top Performers
• Junior outfielder Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) and senior infielder Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.) fueled Western New England's offense in the opener with three hits each. Lacaire went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and four runs scored, while Rosenblatt also posted a 3-for-4 effort with a walk, two runs scored and four RBI.
• Juniors Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) and Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) recorded two hits and two RBI each.
• Senior right-hander Jake Kawiecki (Burlington, Conn.) improved to 4-1 with the win after allowing one earned run on two hits over four innings.

• Juniors Connor Simpson (Haverhill, Mass.) and Zachary Carmody (Babylon, N.Y.) and sophomore Joshua Bombard (Rutland, Mass.) had one hit each for Eastern Nazarene.  

Game Review
Kawiecki ran into trouble in the first inning, as he surrendered two hits and issued three walks. The senior was able to escape a bases loaded jam with minimal damage, however, as the Lions scored just one run in the frame. 

Western New England took the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning with four runs on two hits, two walks and a hit by pitch. After the first two batters reached base, Lacaire hit a two-run double to left field. Rosenblatt came up later in the frame and delivered a two-out, two-run single through the left side of the infield.

The Lions got one run back in the top of the second, before the Golden Bears broke the game open with four runs in the bottom half of the inning. After Eastern Nazarene senior pitcher Brent Houle (Westfield, Mass.) hit three batters to load the bases, Casella recorded a sacrifice fly. A passed ball, followed by a throwing error and an RBI double by sophomore Zac Nussbaum (Bridgewater, Mass.) later in the frame allowed the Golden Bears to tack on three more runs.

Western New England's offense didn't slow down from there. Two-run singles by junior Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) and LaCroix highlighted a nine-run fourth inning, and the Golden Bears capped the scoring with three additional runs in the sixth.

Western New England 13, Eastern Nazarene 1

Top Performers
• Loparco, Rosenblatt and sophomore Jamie Schofield (Darien, Conn.) finished with two hits and one RBI apiece, while scoring a combined seven runs in Western New England's game two triumph.
• Freshman right-hander Kevin Hummer (Shrewsbury, Mass.) surrendered just one run on two hits over five innings en route to his second victory (2-1) of the season.

• Bombard and sophomore Devin Haberstumpf (Forest Hills, N.Y.) accounted for Eastern Nazarene's only two hits.

Game Review
After claiming a 1-0 lead on an RBI groundout by Rosenblatt in the bottom of the first, Western New England put four more runs on the board in the second to open up a 5-0 advantage. Schofield recorded an RBI triple in the frame, while Cassella added a two-run single.

The Golden Bears continued to pour it on in the third, as Nussbaum hit a grand slam and Lacaire produced a two-run single to make it 11-0.

Eastern Nazarene broke through for a run in the top of the fifth, but Western New England tallied two more runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI triple by Loparco and a sacrifice fly by Lacaire.

Up Next
Both teams will be back in action on Saturday, as Western New England (13-4, 2-0 CCC) travels to Salve Regina and Eastern Nazarene (13-8, 0-4 CCC) returns home to host Roger Williams.