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Western New England Wraps Up CCC Slate with Two Wins over Nichols

Junior Brian Valeriano recorded the game-winning, walkoff hit in the eighth inning of game two as Western New England completed its CCC schedule with a sweep of Nichols on Sunday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)
Junior Brian Valeriano recorded the game-winning, walkoff hit in the eighth inning of game two as Western New England completed its CCC schedule with a sweep of Nichols on Sunday. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)

Golden Bears finish 11-5 in CCC play

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 29, 2018) –
The Western New England University baseball team completed its Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) schedule with two wins over Nichols College on Sunday afternoon at Trelease Park. The Golden Bears rolled to a 14-3 victory in the opener, before walking off with a 7-6 triumph in game two. 

WNE 14, Nichols 3

Top Performers
• Junior outfielder Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) and sophomore outfielder Jamie Schofield (Darien, Conn.) led the Golden Bears at the plate. Lacaire went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs and three RBI, while Schofield posted a 2-for-4 showing with a walk, a double, three RBI and three runs.
• Senior right-hander Jake Kawiecki (Burlington, Conn.) improved to 5-0 this season after giving up three runs on five hits over six innings on the mound.

• Nichols senior Cam Cook (Phoenixville, Pa.) hit three singles and drove in two runs, while sophomore Kyle Bouchard (Fall River, Mass.) went 2-for-3 with a walk and one RBI.

Game Review
After Western New England put three runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning with the help of RBI singles from Lacaire and sophomore Zac Nussbaum (Bridgewater, Mass.), the Bison tied the contest with three runs of their own in the top of the second.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Cook drove in two runs with a single through the left side of the infield. Bouchard came up next and delivered an RBI single through the right side.

The Golden Bears pulled back ahead for good in the bottom half of the inning. Schofield walked with one out before coming in to score on an error, and junior Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) followed with an RBI double down the right field line. Western New England added another run to claim a 6-3 advantage.

After extending their lead to 7-3 in the third when junior Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) drew a walk with the bases loaded, the Golden Bears broke the game open with four runs in the fifth. Nichols made two errors in the frame, while Lacaire recorded a two-run double and junior Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) contributed an RBI single.

Schofield cleared the bases with a three-run double in the sixth to cap the scoring in the contest.

WNE 7, Nichols 6

Top Performers
• Senior Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.) and Nussbaum powered the offense in game two, as both players went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
• Valeriano went 2-for-2 at the plate with two walks, and he drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
• Junior left-hander Sean Halligan (North Branford, Conn.) earned the win for the Golden Bears after tossing 2.1 scoreless frames of relief.

• Nichols was led by senior outfielder Nick Roy (Middletown, Conn.) and Cook. Roy went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs out of the leadoff spot, while Cook added a 3-for-4 showing with one RBI and two runs scored.

Game Review
The Bison took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning as senior Chris Anderson (Naugatuck, Conn.) walked with the bases loaded and sophomore Christian Naccari (Ossining, N.Y.) recorded a sacrifice fly.

Nichols doubled its advantage with two more runs in the top of the second, before Rosenblatt's RBI single got the Golden Bears on the board in the bottom half of the inning.

Western New England pulled to within two (4-2) on Schofield's RBI single in the third, and the Golden Bears tied the contest the following inning on RBI hits by Rosenblatt and Nussbaum. 

Both teams scored once in the fifth, but the Bison manufactured a run in the sixth to take a late lead (6-5).

Needing a run in the seventh to stay alive, Schofield led off and was hit by a pitch. He advanced to second on a sacrifice, and came in to score the game-tying run on an RBI single to left field by Lacaire.

The Golden Bears capped the back and forth contest with a game-winning rally in the eighth. Nussbaum singled to center field with one out, and sophomore Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) followed with a walk. After both baserunners advanced on a wild pitch and freshman Jackson Lathrop (New Fairfield, Conn.) came on to pinch run for Nussbaum at third, Valeriano ripped the game-winning walk-off single down the left field line.

Up Next
Western New England (26-11, 11-5 CCC) hosts Babson in its regular season finale on Monday at 3:30 p.m., while Nichols (12-26, 6-10 CCC) travels to Westfield State on Tuesday.