MANSFIELD, Conn. – Meeting for the
first time in history, the University of Massachusetts Boston and
Western New England College squared off as a pair of 1-0 squads in
the NCAA Division III regional here today. UMB rallied from a 4-0
deficit to capture a 6-4 victory behind a three-run outpouring in
the bottom of the 7th. As a result, UMB, now 2-0 in the tournament,
takes on Tufts University in a winner’s bracket game Friday
at 4:30 p.m. WNEC faces elimination in a 1:15p.m matchup with St.
Joseph’s College (Me.).
Trailing 4-2 heading into the 7th, UMB took the lead for the first time in the contest when senior designated hitter Jeff Outzen (San Mateo, Calif.) sent a screaming liner past starting WNEC hurler freshman Kevin Jefferis (Cheshire, Conn.) and into center field to knock in the tying and go-ahead runs. Scoring the runs were junior catcher Tim Fontaine (Worcester, Mass.) and junior second baseman Ryan Walsh (Newton, Mass.). Two batters earlier, an outfield error allowed sophomore center fielder Mark McCormack (Shelton, Conn.) to cross the plate. Fontaine had singled on the play before the ball eluded the Golden Bear left fielder to make it a 4-3 game.
UMB added an insurance run in the 8th on another McCormack safety, this time plating sophomore right fielder Ty Buccetti for an unearned run as Buccetti reached via error. McCormack finished the game with two hits, two RBI and a run scored. Walsh and junior first baseman Connor Reinfurt (Manchester, N.H.) also had a pair of hits for the Beacons as Walsh advanced his hitting streak to 18 games and 29 of the last 30.
WNEC sent eight men to the plate in the top of the 3rd to take a 4-0 lead, combining three hits with two walks and a hit batter. The big blow was a two-run double down the left-field line from senior first baseman Joe Griglun (Southington, Conn.) that scored senior center fielder Steve Kearney (Glastonbury, Conn.), who was hit by a pitch, and junior designated hitter Ryan Dudzinski (Bristol, Conn.), who walked. Senior shortstop Justin Walz (Groton, Conn.) walked with the bases loaded just before Griglun unloaded to make it 1-0. The inning was capped by junior third baseman Tony Trubia’s (Tolland, Conn.) RBI single to center, scoring Walz for the 4-0 bulge. Trubia had two of the Golden Bears’ five hits in the game.
UMB cut the margin in half in the bottom of the 3rd, scoring twice without the benefit of a hit. Both runs were unearned as two WNEC errors contributed to the runs. Still, McCormack was credited with an RBI on a grounder that was misplayed with runners at second and third. Both freshman shortstop Matt Consiglio (Southbury, Conn.) and junior right fielder Jose Roman Santos (Tenares, Dominican Republic) scored on the play. Santos had reached on an error and Consiglio walked.
UMB had loaded the bases in the 6th behind singles from Walsh and Reinfurt along with a walk to sophomore third baseman Matt Mattei (Spencer, Mass.), but WNEC pitcher Jefferis retired Santos with a fastball for a called third strike to strand the three UMB runners.
While senior Danny Gomez (East Boston, Mass.) started the game on the mound for the Beacons, freshman Daniel Heefner (Tracy, Calif.) picked up the win in relief with four innings of one-hit, shutout work to up his record to 4-1. It was the seventh straight win for UMB and 30th of the year to extend its school record. Jefferis suffered his first loss of the year for WNEC, dropping to 7-1.