LYNN, Mass. – The second-seeded Suffolk baseball team claimed its third straight conference crown Sunday night at Fraser Field as the Rams shutout the fourth-seeded Wildcats of Johnson & Wales, 1-0.
SCORE: Suffolk 1, Johnson & Wales 0
RECORDS: Suffolk (25-13) | Johnson & Wales (23-19)
HOW IT HAPPENED
It took a while to get going, 6.5 innings to be exact, but Matt Brenner started the scoring for Suffolk in the home half of the seventh. The senior catcher barreled a single to left field, moved over on a 43 ground out from Greg Speliotis and rounded the bags thanks to a deep single to left by classmate Luke Ronchi.
Suffolk's defense stood tall as senior Chuck Gibson commanded the Rams on the mound. The senior ensured the Rams to hold onto the lead as he made sure the Wildcats stranded Armani Henderson on third with his fifth strikeout of the night.
After a scoreless eighth for the blue-and-gold, Gibson showed composure and secured the win. The rightie sat down the final three Wildcats to secure Suffolk's third straight league title.
- Brady Chant's two hits led the offense, but it was Ronchi's one hit that result in the winning RBI, Brenner, who also recorded one hit for the blue-and-gold.
- BJ Neil rounded out the Rams with one hit.
- Gibson kept his perfect record in tact as the senior threw a complete-game shutout. He let up just three hits and sat down eight hitters.
- James Smiegocki suffered the setback. The starter allowed one run on four hits and two walks with three stirkeouts in 6.1 innings.
- Brandon Budlong came on in relief for JWU. He tossed a scoreless 1.2 innings with one hit and one strikeout.
- Suffolk captured its third consecutive conference crown, a first for the program and the first-time a GNAC school grabbed the conference title in three straight years since St. Joseph's (Maine) put five conference championships together from 2010-14.
- Anthony Del Prete has led the Rams to the GNAC title in each of his seasons at the helm of the program (2015, 2016, 2017).
- The title marks Suffolk's seventh overall, putting the Rams as the league's championship leader in front of the Monks of St. Joe's (Maine), who has captured six.
- For the seventh time in program history and third straight season, Suffolk will head to the NCAA Tournament, marking a first time the Rams will make three consecutive Big Dance trips.
Chuck Gibson, Suffolk – MVP
Matt Brenner, Suffolk
Brady Chant, Suffolk
Seth Coiley, Suffolk
Brandon Budlong, JWU
James Smiegocki, JWU
Ryan Cabral, JWU
Casey Johnson, Lasell
David Marsel, Lasell
Joe Murphy, St. Joseph's (Maine)
Chris Gerossie, St. Joseph's (Maine)
Suffolk will be idle for the next week as it waits for its NCAA Regional destination with the tournament set to commence May 18. The NCAA Selection show with the field's pairings and seeding will take place Monday, May 15.