SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Jared Rosenblatt and Ben LaCroix combined to drive in seven runs and lead Western New England University to an 11-2 non-conference baseball win over Eastern Connecticut State University Thursday afternoon at Trelease Park.
Ranked No. 3 in New England and a winner of eight straight, Western New England (18-4) defeated Eastern (12-9) for the eighth time in the last 12 meetings after Eastern (12-9) had won 33 of the first 34 in the series. Playing only its fourth road game since returning from Florida, Eastern had won three straight heading into the game.
With a Little East Conference road doubleheader scheduled for Saturday at Plymouth State University, Eastern employed three freshmen and three sophomores pitchers Thursday, while six WNE hurlers limited the Warriors to six hits and a first-inning run when junior William Coleman (Northford) walked with the bases loaded and an eighth-inning run on senior D.J. Scavone's (Auburn, MA) run-scoring double.
The Golden Bears tied the game with a run in the first, moved head 4-1 with three runs in the third, then broke the game open by scoring four runs in the fourth – three coming home on LaCroix' bases-clearing double.
No. 3 hitter Erik Lacaire had four hits and scored three runs for WNE, with Joe Casella reaching four times with two hits and two walks and scoring three times. Sophomore righty Conor Scully – the second WNE pitcher who had pitched only one-third of an inning this year – pitched 3 1/3 scoreless inning for his first win in his first decision. He gave up only one hit, fanning three.
Freshman righty Nicholas Kraszewski (East Haven) lost his first decision after two wins, allowing four hits and four runs in the first two innings, walking four and striking out two.
Junior Alexander White (West Hartford) and Scavone each had two hits and junior Dale Keller (Oxford) walked twice, with White scoring both Eastern runs.
Plymouth (9-10, 2-2 LEC) will be playing its first home games of the season Saturday against Eastern, also 2-2 in the conference. The Panthers led 6-0 Thursday against Rivier before rain cancelled the contest, leaving them with a five-game losing streak heading into Saturday. Plymouth was ranked ninth in New England April 2 after winning four straight – including a sweep of then-No. 6 UMass Dartmouth -- but proceeded to lose five of its next six and dropped out this week. The Panthers, 19-10 (4-10 LEC) last year, haven taken three of the last four against Eastern, sweeping the Warriors at Plymouth in 2016 for the first time.
Junior righty Jordan Muchin (West Hartford) and senior righty Sam Kosterich (Stamford) may start against Plymouth. In an LEC home sweep of Keene State College this past Saturday, Muchin (2-2, 3.12 ERA) pitched seven innings in the opener and Kosterich (2-1, 3.81 ERA) recorded his first career shutout with a two-hitter and 11 strikeouts in the second game.