Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – The most successful season in Elms College Baseball history came to a close as the sixth-seeded Blazers fell to host two-seed WPI, 10-2, in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) DIII New England Championship semifinals at the New England Baseball Complex Friday afternoon. Elms wraps the 2016 campaign with a 32-13 record, while the Engineers improved to 27-13 and advanced to the championship game.
WPI jumped on the Blazers in the bottom of the first as three straight walks loaded the bases. Engineers senior Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, N.Y.) scored on an Elms fielding error, followed by an RBI groundout from freshman Steven Gallagher (Coventry, R.I.) and a sacrifice fly from senior Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, Mass.) to hand WPI a 3-0 lead. The Engineers extended their lead in following inning as senior Alex Venditti (Newton, Mass.) lifted a grand slam off the top of the left field foul pole, pushing the WPI advantage to 7-0.
Trailing 8-0, the Blazers chipped into the Engineers lead as senior R.J. Lyrenmann (Glendale, Ariz.) laced an RBI double into the left field corner in the top of the fifth. Elms sophomore Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) plated junior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) with a sacrifice fly in the sixth to trim the WPI lead to 8-2.
The Engineers tacked on their final runs in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run single from sophomore Evan Lacroix (Methuen, Mass.) as WPI captured the 10-2 victory.
Wadja and senior Nolan Medeiros (Taunton, Mass.) came in to score from Elms, while Lyrenmann and Brunetti provided RBIs. Elms senior Andrew Sadowski (7-4; Northampton, Mass.) allowed eight runs, seven earned, on six hits with two strikeouts, while senior Brian Langdon (Beacon Falls, Conn.) and Medeiros logged scoreless innings of relief.
Venditti powered the Engineers with a 3-for-3 day, driving in four runs while scoring three times. Lacroix and D'Ambrosio were both 2-for-3. WPI sophomore Steven D'Agostino (7-1; Shrewsbury, Mass.) earned the win in seven innings of work, allowing two earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts.