AUBURNDALE, Florida – Anna Maria and WPI are less than nine miles apart. It took 1,500 miles for the two teams met in Florida Thursday evening for a doubleheader. The AMCATS were coming off of a loss against SUNY Poly on Wednesday evening and looking to right the ship against a tough opponent. In game one, the 'Cats did just that, stunning the Engineers 4-3, Greg Gehring making and impact at the plate and Colin Pipkin on the mound for Anna Maria. Game two was a different story as WPI surged late to beat the AMCATS, 13-3.
In the first game, the AMCATS only mustered three hits, getting a three RBI double from Gehring, as he went one-for-three in the game. Lead-off hitter Adam Twitchell singled and stole a base in the game, driving in the other run for AMC. Designated hitter Justin Robbins recorded the only other hit in the game, going one-for-three with a walk and a run scored. What allowed the three hits and four runs to be enough for the AMCATS was the pitching performance by Pipkin. Colin pitched all seven innings, allowing five hits, three runs and striking out six hitters for his first win of the season.
The Engineers only recorded two more hits in the game than the AMCATS with five. They got RBI from Evan Lacroix, and Austin Lindner, who had two, in the game with each player having a hit, Lindner's being a homerun in a one-for-three game at the plate. On the mound, Nick Colucci came in in relief, pitched 4.2 innings. He allowed just one hit, a walk, and struck out eight Anna Maria hitters.
After Pipkin sat the Engineers down in order in the first, the AMCATS opened the scoring in the top of the second when Twitchell doubled up the middle, scoring Jeff Falk who had reached base on a throwing error.
The 'Cats added three more in the top of the third when Noah Holland reached base on a throwing error by the pitcher, Robbins singled, and Jake Crevier was hit by a pitch which was followed by a bases-clearing double down the right field line by Gehring to break the game open, 4-0, in favor of AMC.
From that point, the AMCATS would try to hold on to their lead. The Engineers got on the board in the bottom of the third when Lindner homered over the left field fence to make the score 4-1.
In the fourth, WPI pitching, Colucci, retired the AMCATS in order and would make it hurt, scoring another in the bottom of the inning when Lindner drove in a run on a ground out to cut the lead in half, 4-2.
With Colucci pitching lights out, the AMCATS were unable to plate another run. In the bottom of the seventh, down two runs, the Engineers threatened when, with one out, Jordan DeDonato reached on an infield single. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, then third on a ground out, with two outs, Lacroix singled to left field scoring DeDonato. With a one run lead and the tying run on first, Pipkin got slugger Steve Gallagher to fly out to center to seal with 4-3 win for the AMCATS
In game two, the 'Cats got seven hits from their offense, two coming off the bat of Jake Crevier, two more coming from Justin Robbins. Of the three runs scored in the game for the AMCATS, Adam Twitchell and Robbins drove them in, Noah Holland, Kino Gray, and Greg Gehring scored them. In terms of pitching in game two, the bullpen was taxed as Jack Marzec only got through 1.2 innings and Coach Briand had to use four arms out of the bullpen including senior Camden Brown who struck out a team-high four hitters in his 1.2 innings of work.
Leading the way in game two for the Engineers, Austin Lindner, with three hits, including his second homerun of the day, in four at-bats. He drove in two runs and scored two of his own. Leadoff hitter, Ryan Tropeano also had a three hit game, including a double. Tropeano crossed the plate three time. Matt Howard drove in the most Engineer runs in this one, with three RBI in a two-for-four effort at the dish.
After the game one loss, the Engineers weren't messing around, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning with Tropeano scoring on a wild pitch, and Evan Lacroix crossing on a Davis Larson sacrifice fly to centerfield.
They followed their two-run first inning up with a three run second. The first run scored on a bases loaded walk and the other two on a Howard single to left. Heading in to the bottom of the inning, WPI held a 5-0 lead on the 'Cats. In the bottom of the second, Anna Maria got a run back when the Engineers threw the ball around the infield, allowing Jeff Falk to reach on an error and Kino Gray to score on an ensuing miscue. Though that was all they would get, the lead was cut to 5-1 after two innings.
In the third, the teams would exchange runs. WPI got their run back in the when Josh Herlands singled to drive in a run. Anna Maria would get an RBI single from Robbins to score Holland, making the score 6-2 after three.
WPI got a runner to third in the fourth but wouldn't be able to drive him in which allowed the AMCATS to make up a run in the bottom of the inning on a Twitchell single which scored Gehring. The Engineer lead now down to three, 6-3, half way through game two.
From there on out the game belonged to WPI. The Engineers went to the bullpen, bringing in Dominic Fusco. Fusco worked two innings of relief, allowing just one hit and striking out five. Though he walked two hitters, allowing three base runners in total, he didn't allow any of those runner to cross. In his two innings of work, the WPI offense took advantage and scored four runs in the fifth and the sixth innings to take a 10-3 lead in to the seventh.
In the top of the seventh, Lindner hit his second homer of the evening and two more runs would score for the Engineers. The AMCATS needed to make up a 10-run, 13-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh. The inning started well for Anna Maria with Holland reaching on a hit by pitch. Reliever Kyle Wood then struck out two AMCATS, followed by a two out fly ball to center to end the game with the Engineers winning the game 13-3, splitting the double header with the AMCATS.
Anna Maria will be back on the field tomorrow morning against Boston's Wentworth Institute of Technology in a double header beginning at 9:15am in their final day of play in Florida before returning home to Paxton.