Sophomore Mike Muse (Milton, Mass.) hit a two-out single to left field to plate the winning run as the Suffolk University Baseball team defeated Albertus Magnus College in 10 innings on Tuesday evening, 7-6 to open the 2012 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament.
After squandering an early four run lead, the Rams needed extra innings to top the Falcons as they now advance to this weekend's double elimination GNAC playoffs.
Junior Jhonneris Mendez (Boston, Mass.) pitched three innings of relief, escaping jams in the ninth and tenth innings as the Falcons were able to put the go ahead run on third base with no outs in each half, but could not bring a run across against the big right-hander.
Suffolk built a 3-0 lead in the first inning scoring all three runs before recording an out. Sophomore Devan Jones (Roslindale, Mass.) led the game off being hit by a pitch before Muse laid down a sacrifice bunt that could not be handled by the Falcons' defense. Sophomore Jake Cintolo (Wrentham, Mass.) then cleared the bases with a double to deep center to plate the first runs of the contest. Mendez followed him up with a triple to stake the Rams to the early three run edge.
Suffolk would add another run in the second inning as freshman Justin Knight (Hackettstown, N.J.) drew a base on balls to lead off the inning. Knight would advance to third on a failed pickoff attempt that went down the right field line and came home to score on a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of Jones.
The Falcons would finally get on the board in the fifth inning as freshman Fanol Prevalla (Berlin, Conn.) crushed a triple to deep center that plated senior Jon Almonte (New York, N.Y.) for Albertus Magnus' first run of the game.
Suffolk would come right back and answer in the home half of the fifth to rebuild their four run lead as junior Chris Stanley (Orange County, Calif.) singled home Cintolo to make it a 5-1 game.
Things would start to get testy for the Rams in the sixth however as the Falcons sent nine hitters to the plate scoring three runs in the frame. Senior Kyle Calechman (North Haven, Conn.) led the inning off with a single, before a walk to senior Malcolm Mendez (New York, N.Y.) would build a threat. A dropped fly ball in center, an RBI single by Almonte and a bases loaded hit by pitch on Prevalla would cut the Suffolk lead to 5-4 as the Falcons left the bases loaded in the sixth.
Sophomore Mac Jacobson (Norfolk, Mass.) would give the Rams some breathing room in their following at bat as he blasted a triple in the right center gap to plate Knight to make it a 6-4 ballgame.
Albertus would manage to even things up in the eighth however as sophomore Joseph Martinez (Bronx, N.Y.) was hit by a curveball to reach base to start things. Prevalla then singled to right and as Martinez tried to go first to third on the play the throw from the outfield sailed over the third base bag allowing the run to score summoning Mendez in from the bullpen. After a sacrifice bunt to get the tying run over to third base, Calechman would lift a sacrifice fly to centerfield to even the game at 6-6.
In the ninth inning the Falcons once again threatened as freshman Anthony Pellegrino (Branford, Conn.) led the inning off with a fly ball to right that was dropped allowing him to reach third base. Mendez would retire the next two hitters on strikeouts, before a walk and another hit batsman would load the bases with two outs. Suffolk escaped the jam with a groundout to second.
Albertus once again had the go-ahead run in scoring position with nobody out in the tenth inning as sophomore Patrick Dornfried (Berlin, Conn.) led off the extra frame with a double to left center. Dornfried would move to third base later in the inning on a wild pitch. After an intentional walk, the Rams once again avoided danger with a 4-6-3 double play setting up the bottom half of the tenth inning victory.
With one out, Knight would reach base for the third time in the contest this time on an infield error. After a Jacobson sacrifice bunt with one out, the Falcons would intentionally walk Jones to set up the lefty-lefty matchup. On a full count and two outs, Muse rifled a breaking ball that fell into left center to plate Knight for his third run scored in the game and send the Rams home with the walk-off win.
Prevalla and Almonte each had two hits in the game as the Falcons collected seven hits in the contest. Albertus left 14 runners on base in the game.
Freshman Mike Barillaro (Meriden, Conn.) was the tough luck loser as his record on the season drops to 1-6. Barillaro pitched 4 1/3 innings of relief allowing one run, unearned on three hits.
The loss drops the Falcons to a 13-21 record on the season.
Cintolo finished the game 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and runs scored as he paced a nine-hit Rams attack.
Freshman Josh Desai (Shrewsbury, Mass.) started the game on the mound for Suffolk getting the no-decision. He allowed four runs while being charged with one earned run over six innings, while striking out four.
Mendez now improves to 5-3 on the season for Suffolk as he struck out three hitters in his three innings of work.
The fourth-seeded Rams will now travel to top-seed St. Joseph's College of Maine on Thursday afternoon at 3:00pm in the quarterfinals. Both teams have meet the previous four years in the league's championship game. Second-seeded Johnson & Wales University will host Anna Maria College, who were 12-0 victors on Tuesday, this Thursday in the other quarterfinal game. The winner of this weekend's four team bracket will recieve an automatic qualifier bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament. Suffolk will be seeking the program's fifth tournament bid.
Suffolk 7, Albertus Magnus 6 (Apr 24, 2012 at Quincy, MA)
Albertus Magnus..... 000 013 020 0 - 6 7 4 (13-21)
Suffolk............. 310 011 000 1 - 7 9 4 (18-20-1)
Pitchers: Albertus Magnus - Levchuk; Stanley(2); Barillaro(6) and Mendez. Suffolk - Josh Desai;
Mike Masulli(7); Jhonneris Mendez(8) and Dan Belanger.
Win-Jhonneris Mendez(5-3) Loss-Barillaro(1-6) T-4:30 A-150
Levchuk faced 1 batter in the 2nd.
Masulli faced 2 batters in the 8th.