DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Senior Taylor Cacciola (West Greenwich, R.I.) laced a bases-loaded single to right field in the bottom of the ninth to salvage the twin-bill split for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Sunday afternoon. The Colonials held the Corsairs in the late innings for an 8-4 win in the first game before the Corsairs' 5-4 comeback in game two on Senior Day.
Scores: Western Conn. 8, UMass Dartmouth 4 | UMass Dartmouth 5, Western Conn. 4
Records: UMass Dartmouth (19-13, 7-2 LEC) | Western Conn. (13-15, 2-7 LEC)
How it Happened
Western Connecticut 8, UMass Dartmouth 4
WCSU's Joe Costa (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) drove in two scores on a single to cap a three-run seventh inning for the Colonials, and the pitching duo of Kyle Sanford (Torrington, Conn.) and Taylor Donofrio (Terryville, Conn.) kept the Corsairs off the board in the final two stanzas.
UMass Dartmouth senior Ezequiel Sanchez (Mantai, Puerto Rico) knocked in two of his team's RBIs, including his second home run of the season, on a 3-for-4 performance. Freshman Mike Knell (Dennis, Mass.) was the only other Corsair to notch multiple hits.
The Colonials gathered an early lead with three runs in the top of the third, with Joel Luna (Queens Village, N.Y.) dropping a single to right field for the only RBI. In the home half, UMass Dartmouth generated a quick response kicked off by Sanchez's solo shot, and junior Kenny Michael (Norwood, Mass.) rounded home on a muffed throw after reaching base on a walk.
Two more runs put the Corsairs ahead by a run in the third. Sophomore Erick Ramirez (Boston, Mass.) doubled to left center, and Knell sent him across the plate with a deep single in the next at-bat. Sanchez notched his second RBI in as many innings with a base knock to send in Knell from second.
For the remainder of the game, the WCSU pitchers held the Corsairs to just two more hits, and received five more runs from the offense. The Colonials retook the lead in the top of the sixth with RBIs from Luna and Joe Daigle (Southington, Conn.), before sealing the four-run margin on Costa's hit in the seventh.
Corsair pitcher Sean Callahan (Colchester, Vt.) went 5.1 innings in the start, striking out five and permitting two earned runs on six hits. In the victory, WCSU's George Bielizna (Danbury, Conn.) hurdled seven frames with seven Ks and three earned runs on seven hits.
UMass Dartmouth 5, Western Connecticut 4
After going 0-9 in his previous at-bats on the day, Cacciola sent his bases-loaded single with one out to deep right field, securing the walk-off for the Corsairs in the nightcap.
The hit broke the 4-4 tie and a capped a two-run final inning, as Josh O'Neill (Halifax, Mass.) and Jacen Hudson (Alvirne, N.H.) executed a perfect double-steal earlier in the frame and Hudson tied the contest on the high throw by the WCSU catcher. Ramirez doubled two batters later to set the stage for Cacciola.
UMass Dartmouth junior Zack Reid (Dighton, Mass.) collected the win on the mound after holding the Colonials hitless in the final two innings, fanning two. Reid's closing performance capped 5.1 shutout innings by Gianni Esposito (Peabody, Mass.) in relief.
Junior Zach Courier (Mansfield, Mass.) went 2-for-3 with two RBIs on the game, while Michael scored twice on a 2-for-3 game of his own. O'Neill additionally laced a pair of hits.
All four of Western Connecticut's runs came via the top of the second. With two outs and two runners on, Costa picked up his third RBI on the day by plating Kyle MacLean (Southington, Conn.), who reached on a leadoff single. The next batter, Clete LoRusso (New Milford, Conn.), singled up the middle to round Costa and Luna, and Daigle tacked on an RBI double before Esposito closed the frame.
An O'Neill RBI-groundout was enough for UMass Dartmouth to earn a solitary run in the bottom of the second, and Esposito kept WCSU off the scoreboard until the Corsairs were able to strike again in the sixth. Following a walk and a Michael double, Courier singled to drive in both runners.
The Colonials put runners on second and third in the seventh, but Esposito got the final out with a pop-up to his final out of the day and keep the Corsairs in contention.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth has now walked off in the second game of a doubleheader two years in a row on Senior Day. In both years, a senior has driven in the game-winning run as Connor Shaw sent across last season's winning score against Eastern Connecticut.
- With Cacciola's walk-off single, it gives the senior 150 career base-hits.
- On the season, the Corsairs rise to 8-1 in the nightcaps of doubleheaders.
- UMass Dartmouth improves its all-time record over Western Connecticut to 30-17 with Sunday's split.
- Sunday's game two win is the first for the Corsairs on the season when trailing after eight innings. They were previously 0-7.
UMass Dartmouth is back to league play tomorrow, hosting Rhode Island College for the season finale at 3:30 p.m. The game had previously been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Western Connecticut travels to Eastern Connecticut for the second game of its home-and-home series on Tuesday at 4 p.m.