Owls Fall to WNE in Opening Round NCAA Regional 7-1
MANSFIELD, Conn. 5/16/12 – Senior-reliever Nick Winn (West Hartford, Conn.) threw six scoreless innings of relief, but the Western New England College Golden Bears jumped on the Keene State College baseball team early, in a 7-1 victory over the Owls, in the first day of the Mansfield, Conn. NCAA Regional on Wednesday morning.
"Winnie (Winn) came out and gave us a chance to claw back into the game," said KSC Head Coach Ken Howe. "Unfortunately we couldn't get our bats going."
The Owls, who drop to 31-14, fall into the loser's bracket and will play eighth seed Bridgewater State (3014) in an elimination game on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Top seed Wheaton College defeated the Bridgewater Bears 6-2. It will be the first meeting between the Bears and the Owls on the diamond.
"We are scouting Bridgewater to see what they are like because we are unfamiliar with them, but whichever team we play we have to get ready, because it is do-or-die for us now the rest of the way."
The Golden Bears jumped on the scoreboard early, plating three runs in the top of the second inning. WNE junior shortstop Kyle McKelvey (Schenectady, NY) ripped a two-run double off the base of the left-field wall, and then scored two batters later on a nice hook slide around the Owls catcher for an early 3-0 advantage.
After adding another run in the third on an RBI single from junior second-baseman Tim Clark (West Springfield, Mass.), WNE scored three more in the fourth. Continuing to do damage in the middle innings, sophomore centerfielder Jeff Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) ripped an RBI double down the right field line, to take a 6-0 lead on KSC.
After the Owls replaced starting pitcher Jeff Pelkey (Fitzwilliam, N.H.), senior right-hander Nick Winn (West Hartford, Conn.) came into the game and allowed a sacrifice-fly from Golden Bear third-baseman Mike Rubino (Northford, Conn.), for the 7-0 advantage.
The Owl bats would wake up in the bottom of the fourth, as senior first-baseman Larry Longo (Londonderry, N.H.) would hit a line-drive to right field with the bases loaded and only one out, but WNE's Matt Anthonis (Guilford, Conn.) made a diving catch, limiting Keene State to only one run. Senior centerfielder Kyle Morrill (Auburn, N.H.) alertly tagged from third base to plate the Owls run and make it a 7-1 score.
"We had some chances that the plate," said Howe. "Our approach needs to get better and we need to start scoring some runs."
Looking to cut into the WNE lead in the bottom half of the seventh, the Owls loaded the bases with only one out. Golden Bear starter Brendan Nugent (Milford, Conn.) would record back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the jam.
"Obviously at this stage of the year the pitching is just better," said Howe. "We know we have the ability to hit, we just got to put it together offensively."
Nugent threw a complete game, five-hitter while striking out five batters for WNE to improve his record to 9-1 on the season.
Pelkey dropped to 6-3 on the campaign in the loss. Winn retired the first six batters in a row before issuing his only walk, en route to six innings of hitless relief and set down six Golden Bears via the strikeout.