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Bantams Use Two-Run Seventh to Edge Golden Bears, 7-6

Brian Valeriano recorded a two-run single in the fifth inning of Western New England's 7-6 loss to Trinity on Wednesday in South Carolina. (Photo by Jim Balderston)
Brian Valeriano recorded a two-run single in the fifth inning of Western New England's 7-6 loss to Trinity on Wednesday in South Carolina. (Photo by Jim Balderston)

Trinity scores all seven runs with two outs

LEXINGTON, S.C. (March 20, 2019) – The Trinity College baseball team used a two-run seventh inning to edge Western New England University, 7-6, on Wednesday afternoon at Lexington County Stadium.  

Top Performers
Western New England senior shortstop Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) accounted for two of the Golden Bears' six hits, going 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk, a double and one run scored.

Senior catcher Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) recorded a two-run single, while senior Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) and juniors Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) and Zac Nussbaum (Bridgewater, Mass.) drove in one run each.

Trinity junior outfielder Matt Koperniak (Adams, Mass.) went 4-for-5 with a double out of the leadoff spot, and freshman third baseman Mike Guanci Jr. (Wakefield, Mass.) posted a 2-for-4 effort with two RBI.

Junior catcher Alex Rodriguez (South Windsor, Conn.) and sophomore infielder Robert Cronin (Wellesley Hills, Mass.) were also key contributors for the Bantams, as Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI, and Cronin was 2-for-4 with one RBI.

Game Review
Western New England plated the game's first run in the top of the second inning, as LaCroix led off with a double to left center field before coming in to score three batters later on a sacrifice fly by Johnson.

In the bottom of the fourth, Trinity pulled ahead with three runs as Guanci Jr. and Cronin both recorded two-out RBI singles, and Rodriguez scored on a Western New England throwing error.

Facing a deficit for the first time, the Golden Bears answered with four runs in the top of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. Junior outfielder Jamie Schofield (Darien, Conn.) singled with one out, before Loparco drew a walk and senior center fielder Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Nussbaum came up next and worked a walk, allowing Schofield to score from third, and LaCroix followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 3-3. Western New England wasn't done, however, as Valeriano drove in two more runs with a single down the left field line.

The back and forth continued in the bottom of the fifth, as the Bantams utilized more timely two-out hitting to pull even at 5-5.  

Trinity nearly regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth, as Cronin reached base on a one-out bunt single before being thrown out at home attempting to score on Koperniak's double down the right field line.

Western New England then pulled ahead with a run in the top of the seventh, as Lacaire reached on a bunt single, stole second, advanced to third on a Trinity error, and scored on a wild pitch.  

In the bottom half of the inning, the Bantams rallied one final time to take the lead for good. With two outs and runners on first and second, Guanci Jr. singled through the right side of the infield, plating senior Johnny Stamatis (Ridgefield, Conn.). Rodriguez came up next and drove in the go-ahead run with a single to left field, giving Trinity a 7-6 edge that would stand as the final score.

Western New England was able to put one runner on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but Trinity junior righthander Andrew DeRoche (North Reading, Mass.) struck out four batters over the final two frames to end the Golden Bears' comeback hopes.

• DeRoche picked up the win for the Bantams, while junior reliever Patrick Westerlind (Auburn, Mass.) took the loss for the Golden Bears.
• Trinity outhit Western New England 14-6, while both teams stranded seven runners on base.

Up Next
Western New England (4-4) wraps up its seven-game trip at the Spartan Southern Classic tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. against Oswego State. Trinity (6-2) travels to Washington & Lee on Friday.