10 Conference Championships

11 NCAA Tournament Appearances

2011 College World Series

Golden Bears Defeat Salve Regina in CCC Championship Series Opener; Game Two Suspended in 12th Inning

Ben LaCroix drove in three runs as Western New England defeated Salve Regina 11-3 in the CCC Championship series opener on Friday. (Photo by Jim Balderston)
Ben LaCroix drove in three runs as Western New England defeated Salve Regina 11-3 in the CCC Championship series opener on Friday. (Photo by Jim Balderston)

Play will resume on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

NEWPORT, R.I. (May 11, 2018) –
The third-seeded Western New England University baseball team defeated top-seeded Salve Regina University 11-3 in the opening game of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament best-of-three championship series on Friday afternoon at Reynolds Field. 

The Golden Bears then overcame a five-run deficit in game two, but the contest was suspended in the 12th inning with the score tied 6-6. Play is scheduled to resume on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., with the third and final game to follow game two (if necessary).

WNE 11, Salve Regina 3

Top Performers
• Juniors Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) and Joe Cassella (Wallingford, Conn.) led the Golden Bears at the plate in the first game, as they both doubled and drove in three runs each. Sophomore Jamie Schofield (Darien, Conn.) went 2-for-2 with two walks, two RBI and three runs scored, while senior Jared Rosenblatt (Avon, Conn.) and junior Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) chipped in with one RBI each.
• Junior left-hander Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.) got the start on the mound and improved to 6-0 this season after striking out five batters and allowing two runs over 6.2 innings.

• Salve Regina junior Zack Smith (New Canaan, Conn.) posted a 2-for-5 effort with two RBI, while senior Alex Perry (North Attleboro, Mass.) walked, doubled, tripled and scored a run.
• Sophomore left-hander Patrick Maybach (Saunderstown, R.I.) struck out 11 batters and surrendered four runs (all unearned) on two hits over seven innings of work.

Game Review
Western New England took an early lead as LaCroix came through with a two-out, two-run single in the first inning, but the Seahawks plated single runs in the second and third to tie the contest.

The Golden Bears pulled back ahead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Cassella, before restoring their two-run advantage (4-2) in the seventh when Schofield led off with a walk before eventually coming around to score on a Salve Regina error.

Western New England broke the game open with seven runs on six hits in the eighth. Sophomore Zach Nussbaum (Bridgewater, Mass.) got it started with a one-out single to left field, and junior Aaron Rios (Stratford, Conn.) walked before Valeriano hit an RBI double to center field.

Schofield came up next and ripped a two-run single down the left field line, while Cassella followed three batters later with a two-run double to right center. LaCroix and Rosenblatt added RBI base hits as the Golden Bears extended their advantage to 11-2.

Salve Regina got one run back in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by Smith to cut the final margin to eight.

WNE 6, Salve Regina 6 (Game Suspended in 12th Inning)

Top Performers
• Nussbaum has three doubles through 12 innings of play, while Rios is 2-for-4 with a run scored.
• Loparco, Cassella and junior Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) have all walked, singled and drove in a run for the Golden Bears.

• Junior Colton Eremian (Boca Raton, Fla.) is leading the Seahawks with a 3-for-5 effort through 12 frames. Eremian walked, homered, and drove in three runs.
• Smith and senior Christian Vargas (Melbourne, Fla.) have two hits each for Salve Regina.

Game Review
Salve Regina opened the scoring in the top of the second, when freshman Michae DeFusco (East Greenwich, R.I.) worked a two-out walk and came around to score on an RBI single to center field by freshman Dustin Siqueira (Trumbull, Conn.). 

The Seahawks tacked on another run in the third, before opening up a 5-0 advantage with a three-run fifth. Perry doubled with one out in the frame, and Smith followed with a single before sophomore Dylan Ketch (Clinton, Conn.) drove in a run with a fielder's choice. Eremian came up next and hit a two-run homer to left center to give Salve Regina a comfortable lead.

After being limited to one hit over the first five innings, the Golden Bears finally broke through for three runs on four hits in the sixth. With the bases loaded, Loparco got the Golden Bears on the board with a sacrifice fly, before Lacaire and Cassella both added RBI singles.

Western New England pulled ahead (6-5) with three more runs in the eighth. Loparco walked and Lacaire reached on a fielder's choice, and both players scored on a throwing error that allowed Cassella to reach base. LaCroix drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, but Salve Regina tied the score in the ninth on an RBI single by Smith.

Both teams were unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities late. After Western New England left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Salve Regina stranded two runners in scoring position in the top of the tenth. The Golden Bears had the winning run 90 feet away again in the bottom of the inning, but they were unable to push it across. Following the conclusion of the 11th inning, the game was called due to darkness.