KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Worcester State University baseball team won its sixth consecutive game on Saturday, defeating Rutgers-Newark 7-5 in non-conference action at the RussMatt Invitational.
With the win, the Lancers close out their Florida Spring Break trip with a record of 6-2.
The Scarlet Raiders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, as senior Dominic Magliaro roped a two-out double to deep centerfield. He was gunned down trying to stretch it to a triple, but not before juniors Kevin Tamsula and Connor Clare crossed the plate to put Rutgers-Newark on top. Both runs went down as unearned runs.
Worcester State wasted no time getting the runs right back, scoring twice in the top of the second to level the score at 2-2. Freshman Michael Chaves Jr. (Hudson, Mass.) got the Lancers on the board with a sacrifice fly to right field. One batter later, junior Cooper Bigelow (Leominster, Mass.) evened it up with an RBI single through the left side to score junior Kenan Kolanda (Sterling, Mass.) from third base.
Both pitchers, Worcester State's Sean Mahan (Woburn, Mass.) and Rutgers-Newark's Luis Rojas buckled in after both teams flexed their offensive muscles early, as neither team would score until the top of the sixth inning. With runners standing on second and third and two away, senior Sam Allen (Springfield, Mass.) ripped a ball that popped off the glove of the third baseman, kicking towards second base and allowing both runs to score.
Worcester State's 4-2 lead was cut down to 4-3 in the bottom of the inning, as Tamsula drove home Clare on a two-bagger to deep right-centerfield.
In the top of the ninth, Worcester State scored what proved to be three huge insurance runs to take a 7-3 lead. Senior Ben Palatino (Hudson, Mass.) drove home the inning's first run on an RBI single, which was followed by by a two-run base hit off the bat of senior Michael Ferrara (Easton, Mass.), giving the Lancers their largest margin of the day at four runs.
Rutgers-Newark mounted a dangerous threat in the bottom of the ninth, but with two runs already in and two runs on, freshman Aidan Abernathy (Methuen, Mass.) came in for the two-out save to slam the door shut. Abernathy recorded a strikeout before forcing a game-ending pop-out to get the save.
Mahan grabbed the win on the day, finishing with seven innings pitched and allowing just one earned run on seven hits while striking out six. Palatino, senior Seth Leslie (Phillipston, Mass.), and Kolanda all recorded a pair of hits to lead Worcester State's offense in the victory.