March 17, 2011

Game One Box  Game Two Box

AUBURNDALE, Fla. - Sophomore designated hitter Andrew Medeiros hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the seventh inning and scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the ninth inning to lead Westfield State University to a 5-4 extra-inning victory in the second game of a doubleheader sweep of UMass Boston on Thursday, March 17. The Owls also won the opener by a 5-4 count to even their record at 4-4. UMass Boston owns a 1-7 record but the Beacons - who won the New England Region last season to advance to the NCAA Division III national championships - have played four nationally ranked teams in Florida.

Both teams threw their top pitchers in the early-season showdown. Beacon junior lefthander James Dalton of nearby Apoka, Fla. - a 2010 Division III All-American - turned in a strong complete-game performance but the Owls scrapped for five runs on just two hits in the top of the fourth. Dalton finished with nine strikeouts, including a dominating three Ks in the final inning, but he allowed three walks and had one of the two throwing errors in the Owls' big fourth inning.

The Owls loaded the bases on two walks and a double and took a 1-0 lead when Kevin Greene drew a bases loaded walk. Sean Geary made it 2-0 with an RBI sacrifice hit and he reached safely on a throwing error by Dalton to keep the bases full. Pete Hogan scored on a catcher throwing on a failed pickoff attempt for a 3-0 lead. Alex Cloutier then rapped a two-run double to complete the scoring.

UMass Boston scored a run in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Ryan Walsh. With runners at first and third and no outs the Owls got out of the jam when Walsh was caught stealing and they recorded one of their three doubles plays on a 9-2 putout on a sacrifice fly attempt.

The Beacons scored three runs in their final at bat. Starting pitcher Aaron Messier was yanked after a walk and hit batter to lead off the inning. Reliever Matt McDougall recorded a strikeout then Walsh - a Division III All-America second baseman in 2010 - cracked a three-run homer to left-centerfield.

After another McDougall strikeout swinging for out No. 2, the Beacons rapped two singles. But Collin McCarthy rounded the base too far on Nick Grassetti's single to deep centerfield and was gunned down - Greene to second baseman Pete Grillo - to end the game.

Westfield was outhit, 10-4. Messier allowed seven hits, three earned runs and three walks in six complete innings. He whiffed two.

In the second game, Westfield native Nick Noblit - a senior transfer from Franklin Pierce University - was dominating for the Owls. The hard-throwing righthander struck out 10 in his five-inning mound stint while allowing one walk and five hits.

But the dangerous Walsh drove a Noblit changeup over the left-centerfield fence for another three-run homer to give the Beacons a 3-0 third-inning lead.

Westfield scored a run in the bottom of the fourth on a Dale Crispin double followed by Jeff Ackerman's RBI single. The Beacons got the run back in the fifth on two singles, two stolen bases and a wild pitch.

The Owls scored a run in the bottom of the sixth when Crispin laced a two-out single and scored on a triple by Ackerman. In the seventh inning Hogan led off with a walk and Medeiros delivered his huge blow, the game-tying two-run homer to left-centerfield.

Westfield nearly won the game in the first extra frame. Crispin reached first on a fielder's choice and Ackerman walked. Grillo then lofted a basehit in the right-centerfield gap but Crispin was thrown out at home by the rightfielder. Hogan then lined a shot in the right-center gap but the rightfielder made a nice running catch to end the inning.

Medeiros started the ninth-inning rally by lofting a single into short leftfield. He advanced to second on Geary's sacrifice bunt and Greene walked intentionally walk. Matt Kelly reached safely on a fielder's choice to put runners at first and third with two outs. Medeiros then easily scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch.

Westfield outhit UMass Boston, 8-7, with Medeiros, Ackerman and Crispin each collecting two hits.

Freshman lefthander Ryan Gavin - the last of Westfield's six pitchers - earned the victory. Westfield's five relievers pitched effectively for the most part, not allowing a run over the final four frames.

The Beacons will return to action tomorrow against Washington College (MD) for a 9:30 a.m. contest to conclude their Florida trip schedule.

*Release content provided courtesy of Westfield State Sports Information.