NORTON, Mass. – In a matchup of New England's fifth and seventh ranked teams, #7 Endicott upset #5 Wheaton (Mass.) 9-7 on the road behind a 2-for-5, two RBI game by senior centerfield Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) and a clutch two-run single up the middle by sophomore third baseman Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) in a five-run seventh for the Blue and Green.
Endicott (22-10) spilt their home and away doubleheader with Wheaton to improve to 12-8 in non-conference games. The Gulls will continue their non-conference schedule on Wednesday, April 23rd at home against North Shore Cup rival Salem State. Endicott was defeated 12-11 back on April 10th despite a four-run rally in the top of the ninth by the Gulls to tie the game which eventually ended in a walk-off win for the Vikings.
Sophomore pitcher JJ Branch (Milford, Mass.) improved to 5-1 on the year after going 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on just four hits and one walk with two strikeouts. Gulls freshman righty Eric Nagle (Manchester, Conn.) came on the ninth inning to help Endicott escaped a late rally by the Lyons that produced five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Nagle came on, allowed a RBI hit and a walk to put the game-tying run on first base but the freshman forced groundout to Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) to end the game.
Endicott had two important trips to the plate in the fourth and seventh innings in which the Gulls generated eight of their nine runs. In the fourth, Endicott loaded the bases for sophomore catcher Josh Drew (Intervale, N.H.) who drove a single to left that scored EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Gold. After a sacrifice bunt by sophomore shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.) put Steve Morganelli (Milford, Mass.) on third, freshman Cam Farnham (Andover, Mass.) sent a fly to left that allowed Morganelli to advance home to make it a 4-1 game.
In the seventh, Paola delivered a single up the middle to score two runners that were on second and third to put Endicott ahead 4-3 as Wheaton had scored twice in the previous inning. A fielder's choice grounder by Gold allowed Paola to score, Oringer reached home on a throwing error by the Lyons first baseman, and another fielding error off the bat of Morganelli plated Gold to cap off Endicott's five-run inning with the Blue and Green ahead 9-3.
Wheaton rallied in the ninth with four runs charged to Endicott sophomore Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass.) who had pitched the previous 2 1/3 innings without any trouble, but Nagle came on in relief of Nova to help finish off the Lyons.