BABSON PARK, Mass., April 29, 2006 - The sixth-seeded Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) baseball team continued its surprising run through the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament by downing No. 2 Springfield College, 9-6, in the semifinals this morning at Babson College's Govoni Baseball Field. With the victory, WPI improves to 14-20, while the Pride is now 16-17.
WPI advances to the winner's bracket of the double-elimination tournament and travels to top-seeded Wheaton College, which defeated No. 4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) earlier in the day. MIT and SC will meet in the first loser's bracket game at Babson College at 2:30 p.m.
The Engineers broke open a scoreless contest with four runs on four hits in the third, as freshman Ethan Brown smacked an RBI double before classmate Scott McNee drove in two more with a triple to left center. Sophomore Ryan Rainone drove home the fourth run on a single back through the box. The Pride plated one run in each the third and fourth innings, but WPI put three on the scoreboard in the fifth thanks to three hits and an SC error.
The Pride chipped away at its 7-2 deficit, scoring twice on sophomore Rex Cone's (Bristol, Conn.) two-out, two-run double in the fifth and once on an error in the sixth, but WPI responded with two more runs in the seventh. Senior Ryan Rand (Grey, Mass.) launched a two-run homer with two down to plate a pair of unearned tallies, as SC was unable to mount another threat down the stretch.
McNee led WPI by going 2-for-5 with three runs and three RBI, while Brown and junior Matt Fiore (Wakefield, Mass.) each had two hits and scored twice. Sophomore Brian Duncan (West Suffield, Conn.) allowed three earned runs on four hits over the first 4.2 innings while striking out six and walking five, and classmate Brendan Devereaux (Holden, Mass.) earned the win in relief by going the final 4.1 innings. Devereaux yielded one earned run on two hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
Junior Chris Stack (Albany, N.Y.) was the only Pride batter with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 out of the eight-hole. Sophomore Joe Carlos (Hampden, Mass.) was saddled with the defeat after allowing nine earned runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings. Carlos struck out six and walked three.