March 27, 2007

Baseball falls to No. 10 Wheaton, 2-1, on squeeze play in ninth inning

NORTON, Mass. (taken from a Wheaton College press release) - Senior Brandon Leonard (Brockton, MA) laid down a one-out bunt on a well-executed suicide squeeze play in the bottom of the ninth to lead the 10th-ranked Wheaton College baseball team to a 2-1 non-conference victory over Brandeis University Tuesday afternoon at Sidell Stadium.

Opening their home slate in a game that was originally scheduled to be played in Waltham, the Lyons, who are ranked 10th nationally and first in New England in the most recent American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) poll, raised their record to 7-5. The Judges evened their season mark at 5-5.

Leonard, who put down his second game-winning bunt in the last four games, scored sophomore Nick Pecora (Highland Park, NJ), who reached on a one-out single to left. Pecora advanced to third on a single to center from senior Travis Anthoine (Portland, ME), who led the Lyons with three hits from his leadoff spot. Pecora went 2-for-4 as Wheaton finished with 10 hits.

Each starter pitched into the late innings, as Lyon junior Josh Moore (Manchester, NH) struck out six and walked two while allowing just one earned run on six hits in eight innings of work. Classmate Keith Pescosolido (Newton, MA) picked up his second victory of the season after having a 1-2-3 ninth with a line drive to right and consecutive strikeouts.

Brandeis junior Craig Letendre (Acushnet, MA) scattered six hits on one run while fanning four and walking one in 6.1 innings. Sophomore James Collins (South Boston, MA) was saddled with the loss after allowing the winning run on four hits with one strikeout in the final two innings.

The hosts got on the board in the second, as senior Adam Laplante (Harwich, MA) came around on a double to left center from classmate Jeff Martin (Marblehead, MA). The Judges got that run back in the fifth, as sophomore Mike Alfego's (Shrewsbury, MA) double plated freshman James Likis (Cambridge, MA), who drew a walk to open the frame.

Brandeis had a golden opportunity to take a lead in the seventh after loading the bases with nobody out, but Moore induced a pop fly to short, made a force out at the plate on a comebacker to the mound and thwarted the threat by striking out his final batter. The Lyons left two stranded in the home half of the inning, as Collins closed the door by fanning a batter and forcing a fly ball to center.

The two teams combined to leave 20 base runners, as Brandeis finished with six hits on the day. Freshman Artie Posch (Hopedale, MA) was the Judges' lone multiple hitter, going 2-for-4, while Alfego and senior Ben Dashefsky (Massapequa, NY) each had a double in the loss.