Westfield State Holds Off Baseball's Late Rally In 8-6 Win

BROCKTON, Mass.—Westfield State University (8-8) raced out to a 7-0 lead and managed to hold off a frantic UMass Boston (6-7) rally with an 8-6 win Monday evening at Campanelli Stadium.

The Owls jumped out to a lead after just four batters and held a multiple-run game the entire way, to move to 4-1 against Little East Conference opponents this season. Ray Arra's squad capitalized on five UMass Boston errors to score four unearned runs in their third straight victory.

Tyler Kirwan (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Jamill Moquette (Boston, Mass.) led the Beacons with two hits apiece, while Todd Ezold (Westfield, Mass.) recorded a team-high two RBI. Junior Jose Pena (Boston, Mass.) added a run and an RBI, while Charles LaPaglia (Marshfield, Mass.) registered two runs scored.

On the mound, relievers Nick Radcliffe (Randolph, Mass.), Steve Roche (Worcester, Mass.) and Matt Dziok (Southampton, Mass.) kept the Beacons within striking distance, allowing three runs (one earned) over the final four innings.

Kevin Zyrkowski picked up the win for the Owls, throwing five scoreless innings of two-hit ball before giving way to the Westfield State bullpen. Freshman Pete Liimatainen picked up his first career save by allowing an unearned run in one inning of work.

Six different Owls came across to score in the contest, led by Andrew Medeiros and Dan Rokitowski who each scored twice and recorded a single RBI. Medeiro also added one of Westfield State's three triples and the team's six overall extra-base hits.

Westfield State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning behind a pair of singles and three UMB errors. Connor Sheridan led off the game with a single and moved over to third base on a stolen base and a throwing error by the catcher. After an RBI groundout for the second out of the inning, Medeiros reached on a two-base error and came in to score on a Rokitowski RBI single.

Medeiro would spark the Owls three-run fourth inning as well, blasting a triple to right-center to score Kevin Greene to make it 3-0 and coming in to score on an RBI groundout. Jeremy Tanguay finished off the flurry with a triple of his own, to score Rokitowski who had reached on a walk.

The Owls pushed the lead to 7-0 in the sixth inning against the Beacons bullpen, behind a big two-out, RBI double from Kyle Colesanti and another fielding error that resulted in two unearned runs.

UMass Boston's offense finally broke through in the seventh, thanks in part to a pair of Owls errors. LaPaglia reached to start the inning on an error and moved over to second on a Kurtis White (Nahant, Mass.) walk. After Curt Everett retired the next two UMB batters on strikeouts, Pena singled up the middle to score LaPaglia and cut the deficit to 7-1. Kirwan followed with a single to load the bases and Nick Brothers (Fort Myers, Fla.) made it 7-2, when he reached on an error by the third baseman. UMass Boston made it a four-run game on a Moquette RBI single with an infield single to shortstop, but the Beacons left the bases-loaded when Matt Consiglio (Southbury, Conn.) grounded out to end the inning.

The Beacons kept the momentum going in the eighth inning, behind a huge two-run double from Ezold. LaPaglia got things going for the Beacons with a double to left and was joined on the base paths by Gerard Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) with one out. With a 1-0 count and two runners on, Ezold bashed his team-leading fourth double of the year down the left-field line to put the Beacons within two with one out. But Everett settled down to retire each of the next two batters to keep the game at 7-5.

Westfield State tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth when they finally got something going against Roche. After two scoreless innings, the Beacons sophomore reliever allowed a leadoff single and was pulled with one out and a runner on second.

Reigning MASCAC Player of the Week Pat McWilliams pushed the lead to 8-5 when he greeted Dziok with an RBI double down the right field, but was thrown out trying to leg out a triple. The out proved pivotal for the Beacons, as Dziok allowed a triple to the next Owls batter, before settling down and striking Rokitowski with two on and two outs.

UMass Boston cut the lead back to two in the bottom of the ninth, but that's as close as they would come. Moquette led off with his first double of the season, moved over to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball, but Liimatainen closed the doors on the Beacons with a game-ending strikeout.

The Beacons will return to action Wednesday when they travel to take on #20 Western New England College at 3:30 p.m. Westfield State will finish off their two-game road-trip with another matchup against a Little East Conference team, taking on Western Connecticut State University Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.