HARTFORD, Conn. – Sophomore transfer outfielder Michael Cruz rapped a 2-run single in the seventh inning for the decisive blow, as Westfield State University opened the 2019 baseball season with a 6-5 win over Western New England at DiBennedeto Stadium at Trinity College on Sunday afternoon.
Cruz's knock capped a four –run inning for the Owls as they rallied from a 5-2 deficit for the win.
WNE answered with three runs in the third on two hits, a balk, and an error, with Zac Nussbaum driving in one with a base hit.
The Golden Bears tacked on two more runs in the fifth on two walks and two hits to lead 5-2.
In the seventh junior DH Nick Martin smoked a base hit through the right side, and four of the next five Owls hitters worked walks to score a pair of runs and set the table for Cruz.
Westfield State sophomore Shane Bogli, a transfer from Division II Post University, worked 1-2/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Troy Saulnier came on and worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to pick up a save. Senior Scott Strachan and University of Maine transfer Patrick Jordan also offered efficient relief stints for the Owls, who staffed the game with a week's layoff impending before they leave for Florida on Friday.
For Western New England, Bob Hamel, an All-New England pick who led the NCAA in ERA last season, started and worked six strong innings, leaving with the lead, but the Owls touched reliever Paul Wetmore for four runs and the loss in just 1/3 of an inning of official work.
Cruz, Martin, Gibb, and All-New England outfielder Anthony Crowley each rapped out two hits, Crowley a pair of doubles for the Owls.
Eric Lacaire and Joe Cassella each had a hit and two runs scored for the Golden Bears.
The game was one of the earliest the Owls have played in New England, using the turf field at Trinity, and squeezing the game in between snowfalls. The field received a dusting of snow overnight, but the game time temp warmed to 43 degrees for solid field conditions, however, with 6-10 inches of snow forecast for Sunday evening into Monday, the game ended just as snow flurries began to swirl under the lights.