Against No. 2 Wheaton, Darby effective again as starter; Balowski hits HR
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Junior lefty Tom Darby (Middletown, RI) contributed his fourth straight quality start and junior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) hit a two-run home run in the third inning as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team defeated Wheaton College (MA), 4-2, Thursday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
At left: Tom Darby (Nicolas Wilcox photo)
Ranked No. 18 nationally, Eastern (24-9) improved to 11-4 at home this year and defeated Wheaton (30-6) for the first time in the last three meetings in the final regular-season home game of the year. The Lyons, ranked No. 1 in New England and No. 2 nationally, have lost two straight for the first time this year.
After pitching out of the bullpen in his first eight outings this year without a decision, , Darby is 4-0 in four starts. In those games, he has fanned 26 in 24 2/3 innings with a 1.10 ERA. His previous wins came over Salve Regina, Bridgewater State, and nationally-ranked Trinity College.
Against Wheaton, Darby pitched into the seventh inning, allowing only one run on three hits while fanning six and walking four.
Balowski's third home run of the season in the third inning off Wheaton senior Nolan Corr put the Warriors in front for good, and after the Lyons got one back in the fourth on junior catcher Dan Gusovsky's two-out, RBI double, the Warriors tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh on two hits, a walk and an infield error. After a throwing error accounted for the first run of the inning, senior catcher Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) knocked in freshman pinch runner Steve Bizzaro (Wappingers Falls, NY).
Trailing 2-1, Wheaton had the tying run on third with two out in the seventh on a leadoff single by senior leftfielder John Keating, sacrifice bunt and infield ground ball before junior righty Evan Chamberlain (Amston) came on to fan No. 2 hitter Eric Jensen on four pitches. Chamberlain gave up one run on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks to earn his third save of the season in nien relief appearances.
The single extended Cammuso's hitting straek to 13 Sophomore leftfielder Adam Roderick (West Hartford) stole two bases in the seventh inning and scored the first run of the frame on a throwing error and is now 21-for-23 in steals this season.
Eastern visits the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday in a Little East Conference doubleheader at noon.