AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Worcester State University's Ben Palatino (Hudson, Mass.), Mike Ferrara (Easton, Mass.) and Kevin Larkin (Rocky Hill, Conn.) helped 23-year head coach, Dirk Baker, earn his 500th career win in the Lancers' second game of the day against St. Olaf College as the trio each hit a home run and accounted for 8-of-11 RBI in the win. The Lancers came up short in the first game of the day against Hamilton College.
March 22, 2018
Lake Myrtle Park #5
Record: Worcester State (3-9)
GAME ONE: Hamilton 9, Worcester State 8
The Lancers' Palatino started the day off with a single to third base and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Kenan Kolanda (Sterling, Mass.) and made it to third on a wild pitch. Next up, Ferrara hit Palatino home with a single up the middle for a 1-0 advantage.
Hamilton reached the board in the bottom of the third inning as they scored two runs on two Lancer errors. The Continentals put runners on second and third following a hit by pitch, a failed pickoff attempt, and a walk that turned into a stolen base for Jordan Northrup (Clarksville, Md.). One run scored on an infielding error, and another scored on an RBI groundout.
Worcester State took back the lead in the top of the fourth on RBI singles from Jake Breton (Wilbraham, Mass.) and Cooper Bigelow (Leominster, Mass.) for the 3-2 gain. However, Hamilton tied the score up at 3-3 in the reverse side of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Ethan Wallis (New York, N.Y.).
The fifth inning was the Continentals' inning as they plated five runs on four hits. An RBI double from Matt Zaffino (New Canann, Conn.) plated the fourth run, and then the fifth run was scored on a double-steal. Another run came in on a David Braverman (Millington, N.J.) RBI single. The final two runs of the inning were scored on a walk and a wild pitch.
The Continentals tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single from Craig Sandford (Millstone Township, N.J.) to put the score at 9-3.
The Lancers rallied back and scored four runs in the top of the seventh on an RBI single from Ferrara and a 3-run home run from Patrick Grow (Worcester, Mass.) to get within two.
The Blue and Gold held off Hamilton in the seventh and eighth but came up one run short of tying the game in the ninth inning, as only one run was scored on a double-steal attempt.
- Bigelow batted 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run.
- Palatino and Ferrara each registered two hits in the setback.
- Grow led the Lancers in RBI with his 3-run homer in the seventh inning. This marks his first home run in a Lancer uniform.
- Hamilton's Sandford batted 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs, and one RBI.
- The Continentals' six other hits were scattered amongst six players.
- Zaffino led with two RBI.
- Worcester State's starting pitcher, Luke Brennan (Worcester, Mass.) took the loss in a 4 1/3 inning performance. He allowed six runs (one unearned) on just three hits. He walked six batters and struck out seven at the plate.
- Hamilton's Arlyn Lopez (Glendale, N.Y.) earned the win on the mound in 2 1/3 innings pitched, while Ian Nish (Cutchogue, N.Y.) logged a save.
GAME TWO: Worcester State 12, St. Olaf 8
After a tie 3-3 game going into the fourth inning, Worcester State saw two big innings in the fourth and sixth to propel ahead of the Oles for Baker's 500th win.
The Olse scored two runs on one hit and one Lancer error in the top of the first. Worcester State responded with one run on a solo homer from Palatino in the bottom half of the inning to cut St. Olaf's lead in half.
The Lancers took the lead in the bottom of the second on RBI from Chadd Richardson (Bristol, Conn.) and Kolanda. However, the Olse matched that in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Torbenson (Northfield, Minn.) to set the score at 3-3.
A huge fourth inning for the Lancers put the Blue and Gold ahead for good as they scored four runs on five hits. With one out on the board, Worcester State saw back-to-back hits from Kolanda, Evan Fritze (Spencer, Mass.), Palatino, Breton, and Ferrara to plate the runs.
Despite two runs from St. Olaf in the top of the sixth, the Lancers poured in four additional runs in the flip side of the inning as both Ferrara and Larkin each recorded 2-run homers. Another run was scored in the eighth for Worcester State on an attempted double steal.
St. Olaf attempted a comeback in the top of the ninth but was unsuccessful as they scored three runs on three hits and left two men on base.
- Palatino, Ferrara, and Larkin each had home runs and the trio accounted for 8-of-11 RBI.
- Both Palatino and Breton each batted 3-for-4 on the occasion.
- Ferrara also registered three hits and a game-high four RBI.
- Minnetonka, Minn. natives TJ Rogers and Matthew Muller batted 2-for-4. Sam Pressman (West St. Paul, Minn.) also registered two hits in the setback.
- Luke Dahl (Rosemount, Minn.) reached base twice – once on a hit and another on a walk and hit home a team-high two runs.
- Worcester State's starting pitcher, Kyle Sullivan (Hudson, Mass.) earned his first win of the season in a 5 2/3 inning performance. He allowed five runs (three unearned) on six hits and struck out five batters.
- The Lancers saw 2 1/3 relief innings from Issiac Christiansen (Franklin, Maine) who allowed just one hit and struck out three batters.
- St. Olaf's relief pitcher, Hunter Barber (Oshkosh, Wis.) was tagged with the loss in a 3-inning performance. He let up eight runs on eight hits.
The Lancers conclude Florida play on Saturday (Mar. 24) with a doubleheader against Grinnell, starting at 10 a.m.