Worcester Splits With Centenary (NJ) To Close Out Florida Trip

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Winter Haven, FL --- Sophomore Adam Barry (Auburn, MA/Holy Name) went 8-for-9 with six RBIs to help pace Worcester State in a split with Centenary (NJ) on Saturday afternoon at the Chain of Lakes complex. The Lancers dropped the opener, 6-3, but rebounded in the nightcap in a 10-7 decision that went into the eighth inning.

Barry got the Blue and Gold started in the first contest by plating senior Zach George (Attleboro, MA), who led off game with a single down the right field line.

Worcester State (5-6) made the score 2-0 in the bottom of the second on a fielder's choice RBI by senior Nick Gikas (Danvers, MA).

The Cyclones (8-3) took advantage of a key miscue by the shortstop, batted around and put five runs on the board. Senior Ryan Caparoni (Kenvil, NJ) had the big base-knock in the frame with a bases-clearing triple for Centenary.

Barry crossed home plate to help WSU respond on a run producing ground out by John Boyd (Worcester, MA/Worcester Tech) in the bottom of the third, however, that was the only score the Lancers manufactured for the remainder of game one.

Worcester State put a runner on in each of the last four frames, yet couldn't knock in a tally to keep pace with Centenary.

In the fifth, Gikas was gunned down at home plate and in the seventh, a line-out at shortstop doubled Barry off first base, who started off the inning with his fourth single in as many at-bats.

The Cyclones also touched up sophomore Tyler Barrie (Oxford, MA) for a run in the top of the fifth for what proved to be the final score. Barrie got out of a bases loaded jam in the third and permitted his lone tally in 2 2/3 innings of effective relief.

Senior Michael Ivas (Princeton, MA) and sophomore Neil Begley (E. Longmeadow, MA) combined to toss a scoreless sixth and seventh for the Lancers.

Sophomore Zach Zona (Auburn, MA/St. Peter-Marian) was dealt the loss for WSU. Zona (0-2) allowed five runs (two earned) on three hits to go with five free passes and three strikeouts.

George also went 2-for-4 to help pace an attack that actually outhit Centenary, 11-7.

In the final contest of the spring break trip, the Lancers erased an early 5-3 deficit entering the top of the fourth by chipping away at the gap over the next three innings by taking over the 7-5 edge.

Barry ignited the rally with a two-run single in the fifth to tie up the score at 5-5 before WSU scored single tallies over the next two frames.

Following a George solo knock through the left side to score Gikas in the sixth, sophomore Brian Bonacquisti (Pittsfield, MA) laid down a perfectly executed squeeze bunt play to bring home senior David Ruggiero (Peabody, MA) from third in the top of the seventh.

After senior Jared Kuzio (Franklin, MA) surrendered five runs in the bottom of the third, he was effective stranding three batters on base over his next three innings of work to keep WSU in the game. Entering the last of the seventh throwing 101 pitches, he got the first two outs, but he departed with runners on the corners.

Facing his first batter of the game, senior Joe Perlak (Chicopee, MA) nearly sealed the deal on a borderline strike three call at the knees, however, the contest continued and he issued a walk to put a man on every base.

Centenary senior Dave Raifsnider (Pottstown, PA) took full advantage of the opportunity by ripping a two-run single to knot up things at 7-7. Perlak though escaped by getting the first batter in the top of the order on a fly-out.

Worcester State came right back, answering the call in the top of the eighth by putting three runs on the board for the 10-7 margin.

Barry continued his torrid streak by rapping out a two-RBI single to left field and then Ruggiero tacked on some insurance, hammering the first pitch he saw for another run producing at bat that nearly cleared the fence in left center.

Perlak (1-0) hurled a scoreless eighth to preserve the win for the Lancers.

The Lancers originally staked an early 3-0 advantage over the first three innings of play.

Following the fifth safety of the afternoon by Barry for an RBI to score sophomore Jake Ryan (Whitinsville, MA) to start off the game, Ryan plated George in his next plate appearance in the top of the third. Senior Jeff Bolio (Oxford, MA) capped off the uprising with a safety squeeze to score Ryan.

Ryan and George both had three hits and a trio of tallies at home plate while Ruggiero and Bonaquisti ended with two base-knocks apiece.  

Worcester State is slated to play Endicott at home on Tuesday with a 3:30 PM first-pitch.