WORCESTER, Mass. - The Worcester State University baseball team was dealt a pair of losses by Salem State University Saturday afternoon in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference play at Lyons Diamond. Worcester State lost game one 6-1 and game two 6-5.
With the losses, Worcester State moves to 20-19 on the season and 11-10 in the MASCAC. Salem improves to 18-18 and 11-10 in conference play.
Worcester State celebrated its seniors following the doubleheader, as Seth Leslie (Phillipston, Mass.), Ben Palatino (Hudson, Mass.), Michael Ferrara (Easton, Mass.), and Josh Boucher (Auburn, Mass.) were all honored.
Game 1 - Salem State 6, Worcester State 1
All the offense came in inning number one in the first contest of the afternoon, as Salem State came out on top.
Junior Traverse Briana (Lynn, Mass.) and senior Zac Duval (Middleton, Mass.) each recorded run-scoring doubles in the top of the first inning as the Vikings scored six runs in the frame to take early control of the contest. Salem State capitalized on a pair of Worcester State errors in the inning to claim the early lead.
The Lancers got one run back in the bottom of the first inning on a Jake Breton (Wilbraham, Mass.) RBI fielder's choice, but that would signal the end of the game for either team's offense.
From the second inning on, Salem State's Stephen Keskinidis (Stoneham, Mass.) and Worcester State's Sean Mahan (Woburn, Mass.) buckled right down, as each finished the day with complete games. Keskinidis got the victory, allowing just three hits over seven innings with 11 strikeouts. Mahan allowed four earned on nine hits to get the loss.
Briana and Salem State sophomore Shawn Rebello (Bellingham, Mass.) each recorded a pair of hits in the contest to lead all players.
Game 2 - Salem State 6, Worcester State 5
What began as a pitchers' duel quickly became a shootout as the Vikings were able to escape with a sweep in the rubber game of the weekend series.
Neither team jumped on the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Lancers finally broke the ice on a two-run double off the bat of Breton. Juniors Kevin Larkin (Rocky Hill, Conn.) and Cooper Bigelow (Leominster, Mass.) would follow up with RBI singles in the inning, and Worcester State took a 4-0 lead into the sixth.
The lead would be extremely shortlived, as Salem State responded with five in the top of the sixth. After his team had already plated a pair in the inning, senior Brendan Greene (Winchester, Mass.) delivered a bases-clearing double to right-center field to put his team on top 5-4.
Junior Madoc Fisher (Wayne, N.J.) delivered what would prove to be a vital insurance run in the top of the seventh inning with an RBI single to right field.
Worcester State made a serious threat in the bottom of the seventh inning. With runners on the corners and one out in the inning, Leslie drilled a towering fly ball to left field that hit halfway up the wall for an RBI double, cutting the deficit to 6-5. Bigelow was intentionally walked in the next at bat to load the bases, but Salem State pitcher Brock Riley (Lowell, Mass.) would retire the next two batters to escape the jam and give his team the victory.
Riley was credited with the win for Salem State in a relief appearance, allowing one earned run on four hits in three innings pitched. Worcester State's Kyle Gray (Braintree, Mass.) took the loss, allowing five earned on 10 hits in the complete game.
Breton, Leslie, and Bigelow all recorded two hits to lead Worcester State offensively, while Salem State's Kyle O'Connor (Lynn, Mass.) led all players with three hits.
Worcester State will wrap up its regular season on Tuesday, hosting MIT in a non-conference tilt at Lyons Diamond.