Libuda's Strong Pitching Performance Paces Worcester State's Split With Wheaton

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Auburndale, FL --- Senior Ben Libuda (Auburn, MA) fanned seven and went the distance as he helped pace Worcester State in a split with Wheaton this afternoon in non-conference baseball action at the Lake Myrtle complex.

The Lancers defeated the Lyons, 4-2, in their Florida trip opener behind Libuda's performance before falling in the nightcap, 2-0.

Libuda (1-1) scattered five hits for his seventh career complete game while he permitted two earned runs to go with four walks on 108 pitches.

Wheaton (5-4), who recieved votes in the ABCA and Top 25 preseason poll, took over the early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when sophomore Thomas Landry (Hingham, MA) ripped a two-out, two-run single through the left side with the bases juiced to bring home classmate Joshua LaJoie (Somers, CT) and junior Matt Levanchy (Walpole, MA).

After a wild pitch put junior Mike Beneduce (N. Kingston, RI) and Landry into scoring position, Libuda induced a ground out to third which kept the score right where it was.

The southpaw then settled in for the Lancers and kept the Lyons at bay over the next three frames of work. Worcester State also got to Brady Furdon (Natick, MA) for three runs in the top of the fifth.

Junior Dennis Duplessis (Marlboro, MA) and sophomore Brian Bonacquisti (Pittsfield, MA) both scampered home on a key miscue by the shortstop before sophomore Jake Ryan (Whitinsville, MA) plated the final run of the inning to drive in senior Zach George (Attleboro, MA).

In the top of the sixth, Duplessis tacked on another score with a bloop run scoring single to score senior Cody Osburn (Sacarmento, CA).

Libuda rung up two batters in both the fifth and seventh frames and he used a 6-4-3 double play in the sixth to erase a one-out, bases loaded threat by Wheaton. The Lancer defense turned three double plays in the opener overall. 

Furton was dealt the setback on the mound for Wheaton. He surrendered three unearned runs on a trio of hits as he punched out four and walked one.

There were no multi-hitters in the contest for either side while hits were even (5-5).

In the second contest, the Lyons scored both of their runs in the fourth inning by stringing together three consecutive base-knocks.

After junior Justin Silvestro (Waltham, MA) doubled to lead off, he scampered home on an RBI triple by senior Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, RI) down the right field line. Senior Tyler Contillo (Uncasville, CT) then added an insurance run on a run producing double to the deep part of center field for the 2-0 edge.

With runners on second and third later in the frame, senior Kris Doyle (Worcester, MA/Holy Name) ended the threat with a foul fly and a strikeout looking to preserve the score.

The Lancers best chance came in the bottom of the sixth with runners on the corners and one man down. The Blue and Gold tried to execute a double steal, but the man at home was cut down, preserving the shutout. Freshman Cody Kozin (Storrs, CT) finished the inning by spinning a ground out which ended hopes of a late comeback.

Freshman Jimmy Gowen (Brielle, NJ) earned his first collegiate victory in relief by tossing five-plus innings of scoreless baseball. Gowen (1-0) scattered three hits, recorded two strikeouts and issued one free pass.

Senior Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, NH) struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to nail down his third save of the campaign.

Doyle (0-1) absorbed the loss in the complete-game effort. He allowed two earned runs, five hits, a trifecta of walks and three hit batters while he punched out six.

Silvestro went 3-for-3 for the Lyons as senior David Ruggiero (Peabody, MA) and junior Steve Wallace (Auburn, MA) both finished with two base-knocks each.

Worcester State continues their trip with a twinbill against Trinity (CT) on Sunday at Pat Thomas Stadium. Wheaton closes out their spring trip with a 1:30 PM contest back at the Lake Myrtle Complex.