Western New England will play winner of Hawks/Fighting Scots matchup on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
BRISTOL, R.I. (May 5, 2018) – The third-seeded Western New England University baseball team broke out offensively as the Golden Bears rolled to wins over sixth-seeded Gordon College and second-seeded Roger Williams University on the first day of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament at Paolino Field on Saturday. Western New England defeated the Fighting Scots 10-2 in the opener, before running away with an 18-8 triumph over the Hawks.
Western New England 10, Gordon 2
• Junior Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) and senior Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.) led the Western New England attack in the opener, as Cassella went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and three runs scored, and Rosenblatt posted a 2-for-3 effort with three RBI.
• Senior right-hander Jake Kawiecki (Burlington, Conn.) earned the win (6-0) after striking out eight batters and surrendering two runs on five hits over eight innings.
• Gordon juniors Chris Leavitt (East Bridgewater, Mass.) and Daniel Quint (Wells, Maine) had two hits each, while Quint drove in both of the Fighting Scots' runs.
Western New England got off to a strong start with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Golden Bears recorded just two hits in the frame, but capitalized on three walks. After juniors Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) and Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) were issued free passes, Cassella drove in the game's first run with an RBI single. Two batters later, Rosenblatt brought two more runs home with a single to center.
Gordon cut its deficit to one (3-2) on a two-run homer by Quint in the third, but the Golden Bears restored their three-run advantage (5-2) with a pair of runs the following inning.
Western New England broke the game open with four more runs in the fifth to open up a 9-2 cushion. Lacaire and Cassella both recorded RBI doubles in the frame, while Loparco scored on a wild pitch and Rosenblatt added a sacrifice fly. The Golden Bears capped the scoring with one final run in the seventh, which came courtesy of an RBI double by junior Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.).
Western New England 18, Roger Williams 8
• Junior Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.) helped fuel Western New England's offensive outburst in the second game of the day, as he went 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and four runs scored.
• Junior Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) posted a 2-for-3 showing with two walks, three RBI and two runs scored, while Loparco, LaCroix and sophomore Jamie Schofield (Darien, Conn.) drove in three runs each.
• Junior left-hander Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.) struck out eight batters and allowed just one unearned run on five hits over five innings to improve to 5-0 this season.
• Roger Williams sophomore Justin Stone (Blackstone, Mass.) was among five Hawks to post a multi-hit effort, as he went 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI.
• Sophomore Danny Roth (West Hartford, Conn.) walked, doubled twice, drove in a run and scored two runs.
The Golden Bears set the tone for the contest with seven runs on six hits and one error in the top of the first inning. Schofield led off and struck out swinging, but reached base on a Roger Williams throwing error. Two batters later, he came in to score on an RBI single by Lacaire. Western New England didn't slow down from there, as LaCroix recorded an RBI double and Rios added an RBI single before Valeriano and Schofield drove in two runs each.
After both teams scored once in the third inning, the Golden Bears erupted for five more runs in the fourth. LaCroix hit a two-run homer, and Schofield worked a walk with the bases loaded later in the frame. Loparco's two-run single capped the scoring in the inning as Western New England opened up a 13-1 advantage.
The visitors continued to roll offensively with five more runs in the fifth, as they extended their lead to 18-1 before the Hawks got one run back in the sixth, four in the seventh and two in the ninth to cut the final margin to ten.
Western New England (28-13) needs just one more win to advance to next weekend's best-of-three championship series. Roger Williams and Gordon play in an elimination game at 11 a.m., with the winner set to take on the Golden Bears at 2:30 p.m.