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Beacons Earn 1st NCAA Tournament Victory

MANSFIELD, Conn. – The University of Massachusetts Boston, playing in its first-ever NCAA tournament, scored runs in four consecutive innings beginning with the 4th to pull away from second-seeded Wheaton College (MA) en route to a comfortable 12-3 win in the only upset of the day during the opening round of the NCAA Division III tournament regional here today. The Beacons, seeded seventh as a surprise national qualifier with their Little East playoff title, scored eight runs between the 4th and 7th innings to move out to a 10-3 lead. UMass now faces Western New England College in a winner’s bracket game Thursday at 7:45 p.m. while Wheaton takes on Westfield State College in an elimination game Thursday at 1:15 p.m.

Junior first baseman Connor Reinfurt (Manchester, N.H.) was the big weapon for the Beacons as he went 4-for-5 in the contest with a pair of doubles and a two-run homer, his seventh of the year. He knocked in two runs and scored twice.

Though Wheaton struck first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the 1st, UMass, which knocked off Wheaton, 18-6, in a regular season road game back in March, got the runs right back in the top of the 2nd A double to the right-field corner by Reinfurt opened the 2nd for UMass and he scored on an infield groundout after moving to third on senior designated hitter Jeff Outzen’s (San Mateo, Calif.) single up the middle. An infield single by junior right fielder Jose Roman Santos (Tenares, Dominican Republic) and subsequent throwing error on the play plated Outzen to make it a 2-2 game.

The Lyons got their initial runs on an infield hit by sophomore center fielder Hal Landers (Salem, N.H.), a walk to freshman designated hitter Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass.), a well-executed sacrifice bunt by senior left fielder Paul Malaguti (Andover, Mass.) and a two-RBI double by sophomore third baseman Dan Haugh (Andover, Mass.) over his counterpart’s glove.

The Beacons pulled ahead for the first time, 3-2, in the 4th, thanks to a leadoff single by sophomore third baseman Mike Mattei (Spencer, Mass.), sacrifice bunt from Santos, a fielding error that allowed Mattei to move over the third base and a sacrifice fly off the bat of senior left fielder Drew Tambling (Sterling, Mass.), bringing Mattei in with the unearned run.

UMass kept it going with another run in the 5th, that coming from Outzen with an RBI single, his second hit of the contest. The Beacons erupted for four runs in the 6th to push the differential to 8-2. Three straight doubles from Trambling, sophomore center fielder Mark McCormack and junior second baseman Ryan Walsh (Newton, Mass.) made it 5-2 with runners at second and third. A sacrifice fly from junior catcher Tom Fontaine brought in the 6th Beacon run before Reinfurt unloaded a towering home run to left, making it a six-run edge.

A solo home run from Haugh to lead off Wheaton’s half of the 6th, his fifth of the campaign, made it 8-3, but UMass was not done for day. Two runs in the 7th and another two in the 9th made it a 12-3 final. Fontaine’s single up the middle plated both runs in the 7th and he repeated the effort with a single to right in the 9th, giving him a 3-for-5 day with a career-high five RBI.

Sophomore southpaw pitcher James Dalton had a brilliant outing, holding Wheaton to four hits and three runs with seven strikeouts, upping his record to 8-1 with six complete games in 10 starts. He tied the Beacon record for wins in a season. Wheaton ace sophomore Nolan Corr lasted just 4.1 innings as he took the loss, allowing nine hits and four runs (three earned). He stands 8-2 on the season.