WILLIMANTIC, CT – After splitting a pair against league foe Rhode Island College on Saturday, the Western Connecticut baseball team suffered a heartbreaking 9-6 extra inning loss at Little East Conference nemesis Eastern Connecticut on Sunday afternoon. Senior first baseman Frank Vartuli (Westport, CT) led the Colonials with a 2-for-5 showing from the plate with an RBI.
"It was a great battle and hard fought game. I was very proud of our guys. Eastern has a few great hitters we just couldn't get out in the big spots," said WestConn head coach John Susi following the gut-wrenching defeat. With the loss, the Colonials dropped to 14-17 overall and 3-9 in conference play, while the Warriors improved to 17-13 and 6-6.
The hosts broke the ice in the bottom of the first when Alex Parkos doubled down the left field line, scoring Alex Zachary who doubled before him. Eastern extended the lead to 2-0 in the third when Parkos drilled a triple to center, pushing Alexander White – who led off with a single – across the plate.
WestConn cut the advantage to 2-1 in the fourth when rookie Zach Piroh (Stratford, CT) belted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Vartuli – who led off with a single through the left side of the infield. The Warriors answered in the fifth when Parkos knocked a two-run shot over the left field wall, widening the gap to 4-1.
The Colonials rallied with five runs in the seventh to seize a 6-4 lead. Piroh, senior outfielder Tre' Gause (Brookfield, CT) and junior Joe Daigle (Southington, CT) each singled to load the bases for junior Clete LoRusso (New Milford, CT), who smacked a single to left, pushing two runs across. Moments later, senior shortstop EJ Lavoie (East Granby, CT) continued the singles parade, sending home Daigle. Vartuli then roped a double to right to score LoRusso. The barrage came to an end when Lavoie touched the plate on an RBI groundout from sophomore Kyle Maclean (Southington, CT).
Things looked bright for the Colonials until Zachary blasted a two-run homer in the seventh, knotting the score at 6-6 and eventually sending the contest to extra innings. Zachary then smashed yet another home run for Eastern. This time it was a three-run shot to left in walk-off fashion, giving the Warriors the win.
Sophomore righty reliever Matt Fasoli (Trumbull, CT) took the loss for the Colonials and dropped to 1-6 overall, while Nick Rascati tossed three shutout innings in relief to improve to 3-0 for Eastern.
WestConn was originally scheduled to return to action on Monday against Lehman. However, that contest has been cancelled. The Colonials now return to the diamond at non-league foe FDU-Florham on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.