BOSTON, MA – The Western Connecticut baseball team dropped both games of a doubleheader (4-0 and 12-4) at Little East Conference foe UMass-Boston to wrap up the 2017 season on Thursday evening. With the losses, the Colonials finished the slate at 15-20 overall and 3-11 in conference play, while the Beacons improved to 29-9 and 11-3.
Senior shortstop EJ Lavoie (East Granby, CT) paced WestConn with a pair of hits, ending the season with a team-high .393 batting average. Classmate first baseman Frank Vartuli (Westport, CT) tallied his team-leading 38th RBI of the season to conclude his stellar career.
The Colonials squared up against a tough pitching machine in the opener. Lavoie and junior second baseman Bill Buscetto (Old Lyme, CT) each tallied a hit as Beacon pitchers Matt Tulley and Bryan Kaufman combined to blank the visitors.
WestConn sophomore George Bielizna (Danbury, CT) took the loss, falling to 3-2 overall despite pitching eight innings and allowing just six hits.
Seniors Tre'Gause (Brookfield, CT), Dave Palladino (Southington, CT) and Vartuli each drove in a run for the Colonials in the nightcap. The visitors racked up all four of their runs in the sixth inning. Vartuli was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, pushing junior Joe Daigle (Southington, CT) – who led off with a double – across the plate.
Palladino then smacked a sacrifice fly to send home senior Joe Costa (Hopewell Junction, NY), who earned a walk earlier. Gause would single home classmate Bryan Harper (Ledyard, CT) after he also reached on a walk. Junior outfielder Joel Luna (Queens Village, NY) then drilled a single, scoring Vartuli to conclude the four-run outburst.
However, the Beacons proved to be a strong opponent as they pounded out 17 hits and were helped out by five WestConn errors.
"Our fate was sealed before the end of the first game, so our results were not relevant. Bielizna was great on the mound, putting together another outstanding effort," said Colonials' head coach John Susi after the season-ending losses.
Despite losing the aforementioned seniors to graduation along with classmates Daniel Hedden (West Cornwall, CT) and Shawn Nadeau (Groton, CT), WestConn will return a healthy crop of players heading into next season.