LYNN, Mass. – The second-seeded Suffolk baseball took care of business in the GNAC semifinals as the Rams cruised past fourth-seeded Johnson & Wales, 11-1, at Fraser Field Saturday night to secure its place in the conference championship contest.
SCORE: Suffolk 11, Johnson & Wales 1
RECORDS: Suffolk (24-13) | Johnson & Wales (22-18)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Suffolk grabbed a 3-0 lead after the first complete inning. With one out, Sean Cameron sent a single up the middle and turned on his wheels, going from first to home thanks to a deep double to left center by Seth Coiley. Matt Brenner's single to second was followed by an RBI single from Greg Speliotis. During the play, the Wildcat's shortstop, Lou Umberto, overthrew to second, allowing Brenner to advance into scoring position on third. In the next at bat, the senior catcher strutted in with a 43 ground out by Luke Ronchi to give the Rams' a three-run cushion.
Coiley continued to have a day collecting his second RBI in the home half of the second. Suffolk's leftfielder barreled a single up the middle with two down to bring around Brady Chant, who reached second thanks to a single and a stolen base, to push the Rams' lead to 4-0.
After being held scoreless for the first time on the day, Worth Walrod found himself in a bases loaded jam. The Rams' defense backed up the left-handed pitcher as Suffolk's shortstop Cameron connected with second baseman BJ Neil for the play at second to get out of the inning with its 4-0 edge intact.
Three scoreless innings on either side were put up, before Suffolk did more damage in the bottom of the sixth. Coiley and Brenner each wore a pitch before Speliotis hit a successful bunt to put all the ducks on the pond. A free base from Ronchi brought in the first run, before Kevin Belskie collected two RBI with a single to right field. Ronchi rounded out the scoring, using a fielder's choice during Neil's at bat to make it an 8-0 Suffolk score.
Suffolk continued to stretch its lead in the bottom of the seventh as a pair of Rams runners came in. A 53 ground by Brenner plated Cameron, who walked, before Speliotis' single to right scored Coiley, who knocked a double to right, to bring the score to 10-0 after seven.
As Mark Fusco took over the hill in the top of the eighth the Wildcats managed to put a run on the board. The lone score did not make a dent in Suffolk's hefty advantage, however, as the Rams responded in the bottom of the eighth with one run thanks to a sac fly from Chant that plated Belskie, who reached on a single.
Fusco and the Rams retired the side, sitting down two hitters, both swinging, to secure its spot in the championship contest.
- A quartet of Rams produced three hits in the outing to lead a 17-hit performance from the Rams.
- Coiley was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, and one walk for two RBI and three runs scored.
- Spelitotis and Belskie had identical stat lines of 3-for-4 with one walk, two RBI and one run scored.
- Chant rounded out the foursome with a trio of hits as the junior centerfielder went 3-for-5 at the dish with one double, for one RBI and one run scored.
- Neil notched multiple hits on the day with a two to his credit to bring in one run.
- Ronchi, who tallied one hit, contributed two RBI and scored once, while Brenner produced two runs and one RBI.
- Cameron crossed home twice and added two hits.
- Walrod picked up the win on the mound as the junior through 7.0 scoreless innings with four hits, six walks and four strikeouts.
- In relief, Fusco let up one run on two hits and fanned three hitters in the final 2.0 frames.
- Wildcats' starter Keith Grant went 3.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks with one K.
- Three different arms came out of the pen for JWU. Rich Marshall let up four runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 2.2 frames. Mike Davlos dealt 1.2, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk, while Brandon Rainville closed the contest for the Wildcats.
- Suffolk advances to the championship contest of the GNAC tournament for the 11st straight season.
- The Rams make their 14th overall trip to the conference's championship game.
- Under Anthony Del Prete, Suffolk has not missed a title game.
- For the fifth time and second straight season, Suffolk ran double digits in the GNAC semifinals.
Suffolk awaits its championship opponent as JWU takes on Lasell in a do-or-die semifinal contest Saturday night. The winner will meet the Rams tomorrow, Sunday, May 4 at Fraser Field for a 5:30 p.m. first pitch.