BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The visiting Westfield State University baseball team swept a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) doubleheader over Bridgewater State University on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Park.
The Owls, who rallied late to win both games, improve to 14-4 on the season and 4-0 in the MASCAC, while the Bears fall to 7-11 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
In the opener, Westfield rallied for a run in the sixth and four in the seventh to erase a 4-1 deficit. Sophomore Anthony Crowley (Bellingham, Mass.) blasted a two-run home run to left field to give the Owls a 5-4 edge in the seventh as the visitors took advantage of two BSU errors in the frame. Junior John Lippincott (Barkhamsted, Conn.) belted a solo homer in the sixth to begin the comeback.
Crowley went 3-4 with a double, the two-run homer and three runs batted in. Junior Ray Bell (North Grafton, Mass.) picked up the win in relief of senior starter Nate Barnes (Westfield, Mass.). Bell (1-0) tossed a scoreless sixth inning. Junior Tyler Tongue (Hampden, Mass.) worked a perfect seventh inning to record his first save of the season.
The Bears scored four times over the first five innings with three of the runs coming in the fifth. Junior Billy Mitchell (Walpole, Mass.) singled home senior Anthony Licciardello (Haverhill, Mass.) to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the second. After Westfield tied it up in the top of the fifth on Crowley's RBI double, Bridgewater answered with RBI singles from junior Tyler Morini (Plymouth, Mass.), junior Reed Pike (Bellingham, Mass.) and Licciardello to take the 4-1 advantage.
Sophomore Justin Jacobsen (Fairhaven, Mass.) worked the first six innings for the Bears, but did not figure in the decision. Jacobsen allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Junior David Manning (North Attleboro, Mass.) took the loss in relief.
Junior Matt Cassese (Taunton, Mass.) reached safely in all three plate appearances. Cassese singled twice, was hit by a pitch and stole a base. Licciardello finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a run and an RBI.
In the nightcap, the Owls trailed 2-1 heading into the top of the sixth inning before erupting for five runs in the frame.
A throwing error accounted for the first run of the inning, while back-to-back bases loaded walks to junior Alex Lafayette (Ludlow, Mass.) and sophomore Jared Ferrari (Waltham, Mass.) gave the Owls a 4-2 lead. Sophomore Alex Benevides (Fall River, Mass.) and senior Arismendy Larancuent (Westfield, Mass.) followed with consecutive sacrifice flies to cap of the scoring in the inning.
Junior starter Nate Marshall (Winsted, Conn.) picked up the complete game win for the Owls in game two. Marshall (3-0) allowed three runs on nine hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts.
Lippincott finished 2-for-3 with a double, a run and an RBI. He was the only Owl to garner more than one hit on the afternoon.
Junior Alex Carey (East Bridgewater, Mass.) connected for his first home run in a BSU uniform to tie the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning. Pike followed with base hit and came around to score on junior Drew Gentile's (Lynn, Mass.) RBI double to give the Bears the 2-1 lead.
Senior Ryan Feeney (East Bridgewater, Mass.), whose season-long hitting streak of 16 games was snapped in game one, went 2-for-3 with a walk to highlight the Bears' nine-hit attack. Feeney's RBI double in the bottom of the seventh cut the deficit to 6-3. Bridgewater had the tying run come to the plate in the inning, but Marshall induced a fielder's choice ground out to end the game.
Junior Ryan Kelleher (Danvers, Mass.) also finished with multiple hits for the Bears. Kelleher went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored.
BSU senior right hander Thomas Protentis (Lakeville, Mass.) was saddled with the loss. Protentis allowed just one run over the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Junior Mike Nader (Hollywood, Fla.) worked two innings of relief. Nader retired all six batters he faced.
The Bears are off until Friday afternoon when they travel to Worcester State University for a two o'clock MASCAC twinbill with the Lancers. The Owls head to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Monday afternoon for a single game with the Bears starting at 3:30.