Northboro, MA – WPI baseball fought off a late rally by Clark University, getting a clutch RBI single from sophomore Jordan DeDonato(Danvers, MA) to claim a 5-4 victory the opening game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Cougars.
Similarly, the Engineers couldn't come all the way back from a big deficit in the nightcap, falling, 13-6, in the second game of the day at New England Baseball Complex. Clark also beat WPI, 4-1, on Friday to take 2 out of 3 on the weekend.
The Engineers fell to 17-9 overall and 3-4 in NEWMAC play, while the Cougars moved to 10-14 and 2-6 in conference.
Clark tied Saturday's opener with a four-run rally in the eighth, but DeDonato (2 for 4, 2 RBI) sent WPI back in front with an RBI base hit to right in the bottom half of the inning, driving in pinch runner Frank D'Alessio (Morganville, NJ).
Senior right-hander Dominic Fusco (North Haven, CT) picked up the victory on the mount, pitching a perfect final 1-2/3 innings in relief of starter David Larson (Port Tobacco, MD), stranding three Clark base runners in the eighth inning.
Larson struck out nine but also walked six over 7-1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs. The junior also had a big opening game at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a solo homer in the fourth inning and scoring twice.
Nick Guarino (New Haven, CT) also tossed 7-1/3 innings for the Cougars.
Larson hit a solo bomb to left field in the next inning and then with two outs in the fourth, Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI) worked his way around the bases. Gallagher singled, stole second, went to third on an error and then came home to make it 3-0 in favor of WPI on a base hit by Austin Lindner(Princeton Jct., NJ).
The Engineers tacked on another run in the sixth inning as Larson led off with a single and then later DeDonato drove him in with a base hit to left field.
After a walk and an error to start off the eighth inning, Collin Porter (Brookfield, CT) put the visitors on board with a bunt single. Andrew Thibault (Nashua, NH) advanced all the way from second to score and cut it to 4-1.
Three batters later, Callum Sawden (Old Lyme, CT) sent a two-run double to right center, driving in Porter and Zach Kelley (Hadley, MA).
Kyle Shaw (Litchfield, NH) walked with the bases loaded to tie it up at 4-4.
Fusco came on to get the Engineers out of the jam and then DeDonato put them back in front, setting the final score in the bottom half of the eighth.
The Cougars got their revenge in the second game, scoring 10 runs in the fourth inning to go ahead for good in an eventual 13-6 victory.
Both teams used six pitchers apiece, but it was Clark sophomore Sean Savage (Berkeley Heights, NJ) who came away with his third win of the season. Savage came on in the bottom of the fifth to toss 1-1/3 hitless innings.
Kelley started the Cougars' big fourth inning with a leadoff double, followed by Sawden drawing a walk. Chris Radovic (Fairfield, CT) then brought everyone home with a three-run jack to center field to make it 3-0.
Derek Lefebvre (Groton, MA), who went 3 for 4 in the nightcap, made it back-to-back home runs, sending a solo shot over the left field wall.
After a walk and two singles, Nick Jordan (Seaford, NY) drove in two more runs for Clark with a bases-loaded, ground-rule double to center.
Shaw (2 for 5) scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-0 with no outs in the inning.
Dylan Horn (Sterling, CT) tagged up to score on a sacrifice fly by Sawden, and then Lefebvre capped the inning with a two-run single to left field.
Gallagher (2 for 4, 2 RBI) got a run back in the bottom of the fourth with a knock to center that brought Tyrone Patterson (Upper Marlboro, MD) in from second.
Martin McCormack (Quincy, MA) scored when Larson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and Tropeano and Patterson scored as Matt Howard (Worcester, MA) reached on an error to cut Clark's lead to 10-4.
The Cougars responded in the sixth inning, getting those three runs back. Radovic (2 for 4, 3 RBI) scored on a fielder's choice by Jordan, and then Horn followed two batters later with a two-run single to center to make it 13-4.
Gallagher again drove in Patterson with an RBI single in the seventh inning and then Tropeano scored on a throwing error in the ninth to set the final score.
The Engineers are back in action at Wheaton at 3:30pm on Tuesday before another home-and-home series next weekend against Coast Guard. Clark will resume back at home against Emerson on Tuesday afternoon.