De La Cruz goes 4-for-5 with one run and two RBI in the loss
NORTON, Mass. – Despite a four-run ninth inning, the Wheaton College baseball team dropped a 9-7 decision to Endicott College in non-conference action on Tuesday evening at Sidell Stadium.
Gulls' sophomore right-hander JJ Branch (Milford, Mass./Milford) improved to 5-1 on the season going 5 1/3 innings, yielding four hits, three runs (two earned) and one walk alongside a pair of strikeouts. Classmate Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass./Coyle Cassidy) went 3 1/3 innings out of the pen allowing six hits, four runs (all earned), one walk and two strikeouts, while freshman Eric Nagle (Manchester, Conn./Manchester) picked up the save recording one out in the ninth.
Wheaton junior Mike Gibbons (Simsbury, Conn./Avon Old Farms) took the loss on five innings pitched, six hits, four runs (all earned), one walk and two punchouts.
Endicott senior Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass./Martha's Vineyard Regional) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with an RBI triple to center field, his 31st of the season.
After the Lyons evened the score in the bottom of the second on a throwing error, the Gulls jumped out to a 4-1 advantage as sophomore Josh Drew (Intervale, N.H./Kennett) notched a two-run single to left field and freshman Cam Farnham (Andover, Mass./Andover) lifted a sac fly to left.
Wheaton made it a one-run ball game in the sixth with a pair of runs on back-to-back extra base hits by sophomore Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) and junior Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical). Sophomore Jimmy Smith (Worcester, Mass./Saint John's) got the offense going with a single through the left side of the infield and later scored on a triple from Lavanchy which landed at the base off the wall in the right-center gap with one out in the frame.
De La Cruz immediately followed with a double into the left-center gap to cut the deficit to one run at 4-3 but Nova entered the contest and induced a ground out to first and a fly out to center to end the rally.
Endicott went on to score five runs in the seventh on three hits, three errors and two runners left on base highlighted by a two-run single up the middle off the bat of sophomore Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn./Pomperaug).
In the ninth, the Lyons looked to make a comeback but fell just short despite scoring four runs on four hits, zero errors and two runners left on base. Justin Peluso (North Reading, Mass./Saint John's Prep) had a fielder's choice RBI, Lavanchy ripped a two-run double to right field and De La Cruz registered a run-producing base hit to right field to make it a 9-7 contest. Nova, who entered the game to face De La Cruz, walked the next batter he faced before inducing a 4-3 ground out with the go-ahead run at the plate to end the game.
Wheaton (24-11-1, 13-4 NEWMAC) travels to Salve Regina University tomorrow for a non-conference game at 4 p.m. Endicott (22-10) hosts Salem State University tomorrow for a non-conference tilt at 3:30 p.m.