NEW LONDON, Conn.-Coast Guard used a pair of strong starting pitching performances as they were able to gain a split with national power Wheaton in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference double-header today. The loss for Wheaton (16-6, 10-1 NEWMAC) - ranked tenth in the latest D3baseball.com poll- in the first game put the halt on a seven game win-streak. The Coast Guard (14-10, 6-5 NEWMAC) victory was its first over Wheaton since the 2011 season.
Game One: Coast Guard 7, #10 Wheaton 3
In the first of two games on the day, senior Riley Beecher threw six solid innings holding Wheaton to three runs on eight hits as he picked up his fourth win (against just one loss) of the season as Coast Guard picked up a 7-3 victory.
Wheaton got on the board first by virtue of a two-out RBI single by sophomore Apolinar De la Cruz plated senior Sean Ryan.
Coast Guard would take the lead in the bottom of the second with four runs. The inning started with three consecutive singles by seniors Mike Massaro, Ed Sella, and sophomore Tim Betts to lead the bases. Consecutive fielder's choices by senior Joe Petry and freshman Mark Behne drove in Massaro and Betts to give the Bears a lead they would not relinquish. Wheaton looked like they would escape further damage after getting ahead of senior Matt Hanks with two outs, but Hanks delivered with a line drive double to right-center to plate Behne and senior Eric Gerken.
Wheaton would inch closer in the fourth. After getting runners on first and third with nobody out, senior Matt Lavanchy came in after sophomore Zach Bombard hit into a ground ball double play to make it 4-2.
The Bears would immediately get that run back in the bottom half of the fourth and add another. Gerken lined an RBI-single to center to score Betts. Petry would eventually come around to score later in the inning on a wild pitch to Hanks with two gone.
In the top of the fifth, senior Eric Jensen delivered a run-scoring single of his own to plate Ryan and cut into the lead again.
Not to be outdone, the Bears got one run back in the bottom half. Senior Tyler Babkiewich led off the inning with a double to center and advanced to third on a ground out by Massaro. The next batter up, senior Ed Sella, would provide a much-welcomed insurance run by recording a sac fly to left, to plate Babkiewich.
With a four-run lead, senior Tyler Vieira came in and worked a scoreless seventh to preserve the win for the Bears.
Game Two: #10 Wheaton 2, Coast Guard 0
Senior Derek Petty got the nod in game two, working eight gutty innings while allowing just two runs on eight hits and two walks, while recording a pair of strikeouts. Unfortunately, for the second time in as many days, the Wheaton pitching staff held the Bears scoreless, surrendering just three hits on the afternoon to deal Petty (4-2) a tough-luck, 2-0 loss.
The game remained scoreless into the third inning where sophomore Tyler Contillo hit a floating liner just out of the reach of a diving Petry at short that scored Lavanchy, who had reached on a hustle single to first base.
Three innings later, in the top of the sixth, the Lyons would add an insurance run by virtue of a sac fly by De la Cruz to score Contillo.
Wheaton starter Mike Gibbons (1-1) went seven masterful innings, yielding just three hits while striking out six on the afternoon. He gave way to his bullpen in the eighth and was able to watch them work a pair of perfect innings to secure the victory. Freshman Eric Dumas worked the eighth and struck out one, while junior Ryan Grant got the call to work a 1-2-3 ninth that culminated in a strikeout of senior Nolan Gallagher to end the game, giving Grant his sixth save of the season.
The Bears return to action on Monday, April 8th at Westfield State with game-time scheduled for 3:30 pm.
Post Game Comments by Head Coach C.C. Grant