Baseball Caps Off South Carolina Trip With Twinbill Sweep

Matt Koperniak '20
Matt Koperniak '20

Lexington, S.C. – The Trinity College baseball squad came up with a pair of comeback victories on Wednesday, defeating the WNE Golden Bears, 7-6, before downing the Oswego State Lakers, 11-7, to cap off a doubleheader sweep at the Lexington County Stadium in South Carolina. The Bantams improve to 6-2 on the year and conclude their trip to South Carolina for the Bantam Southern Classic. The team will take in an off day on Thursday to travel to Virginia where they will face Washington & Lee University on Friday afternoon in the team's final game below The Mason Dixon Line this season.

In game one, WNE jumped on the board first with a run in the top of the second inning. Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) led things off with a double to deep-centerfield before eventually scoring on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kevin Johnson (Waterford, Conn.).

The Bantams scored three in the home half of the fourth thanks to timely two-out hitting to take a 3-1 lead. Rookie 3B Mike Guanci Jr. (Wakefield, Mass.) came up with a base hit through the right side of the infield that plated senior tri-captain 1B Johnny Stamatis (Ridgefield, Conn.). Guanci later scored on a single to right off the bat of first-year 2B Robbie Cronin (Wellesley Hills, Mass.) before Trinity added its third run of the frame on a throwing error by WNE's catcher that allowed Bantam junior tri-captain C Alex Rodriguez (South Windsor, Conn.) to score.

Trinity ran into trouble in the following half inning which led to four Golden Bear runs. WNE worked the bases loaded with just one out before Zac Nussbaum (Bridgewater, Mass.) walked on a 3-2 count to bring home a run. LaCroix added another run on a sacrifice fly before Brian Valeriano (Stratford, Conn.) came up and roped a single down the left field line that scored a pair.

Not to be outdone, the Bantams responded in the bottom of the fifth to tie things at 5-5. Junior LF Mack Lauder (Chappaqua, N.Y.) brought Trinity to within one when he smoked a double down the left field line that scored senior SS Ben Reinisch (Troy, N.Y.). With Lauder on second, sophomore DH Vincent Capone (Ambler, Pa.) came through with a base knock to right field that scored Lauder to tie the game.

The Bantams looked like they would take the lead on a double to right by junior RF Matt Koperniak (Adams, Mass.) but WNE came up with a huge defensive play to preserve the tie game. Golden Bear RF Joe Webber (Marshfield, Mass.) corralled the ball in the right field corner and hit Johnson at the cutoff who fired home to Valeriano who applied the tag in time to cut down the would-be go-ahead run. WNE then took the lead in the following half inning when Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) came across on a wild pitch after leading the inning off with a perfectly placed bunt down the third base line.

Trinity's bats came up clutch once again, this time in the bottom of the seventh, to take a 7-6 lead. Stamatis started the rally with a double to right-centerfield that just missed leaving the park for a solo home run, instead hitting the top third of the fence to stay in the yard. Lauder followed with a walk before Guanci came up clutch once again, driving an RBI-single to right that brought Stamatis home and moved Lauder to third. Rodriguez followed Guanci with a line drive base hit to left that allowed Lauder to waltz home and gave Trinity a 7-6 lead through seven.

Junior pitcher Andrew DeRoche (North Reading, Mass.) came out of the pen and tossed 2.2 innings of one hit baseball while striking out five to pick up his second win of the year on the bump. The Golden Bears got the tying run into scoring position with two outs in the ninth but DeRoche left him there, striking out Nussbaum looking to end the game and seal the victory.

Trinity spotted Oswego seven runs in the bottom of the second in game two thanks in part to a solo home run off the bat of Lukas Olsson (Bayport, N.Y.) and a pair of bases loaded walks. The Bantams fought back though, scoring one in the top of the third on an RBI-single by senior SS Tyler Buckley (Mount Kisco, N.Y.) before putting up seven runs in the fourth to take an 8-7 lead.

Trinity's rally in the fourth saw three Bantams score on bases loaded walks, two on fielder's choices and one on a bases loaded hit by pitch. Sophomore C Eric Thronson (McLean, Va.) drove in the first run of the inning on an RBI-single to center that scored rookie Kevin Bomba (Putnam Valley, N.Y.).

The Bantams manufactured another run in the fifth to open up a 9-7 lead. Cronin led off the frame with an infield hit and followed with a steal of second base. Koperniak came through with a two out single to centerfield that allowed Cronin to score easily.

Two more runs came across for Trinity in the top of the eighth, giving the visitors an 11-7 lead. Koperniak tallied another RBI-single that scored senior CF Geoff Stillman (Scituate, Mass.) before eventually scoring from first on a double to right-center by Stamatis.

Oswego threatened in the home half of the eighth, putting two on with one out and the tying run at the plate. Trinity senior tri-captain southpaw Erik Mohl (Milton, Mass.) worked out of the jam, getting a pair of quick outs to preserve the four-run lead.

Mohl earned his first save of the season, throwing three innings out of the bullpen and keeping the Lakers off the board while allowing just three hits. Mohl came on in relief of sophomore starter Max Barsamian (Weston, Mass.) who struck out five in six innings to pick up his second victory of the spring.