PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Seven runs in the top of the eighth inning sent the third-seeded Suffolk softball team to the GNAC Championship game as the Rams eliminated fourth-seeded Albertus Magnus, 9-2, Sunday morning at Johnson & Wales' Scotts-Miracle Grow Complex.
SCORE: Suffolk 9, Albertus Magnus 2
RECORDS: Suffolk (28-16) | Albertus Magnus (31-14)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Jill Pulek's power put Suffolk on the board in the first frame as the sophomore designated hitter sent a blast over the right center fence, bringing in Jaclyn Flint, who reached on a fielder's choice in the process to give the Rams an early 2-0 edge.
The Falcons trimmed the margin to one in the home half of the first thanks to Gillian Fortier's lead-off, solo shot. Three innings later the playing field was leveled. With two outs, Megan Kelly's rocket triple to right scored Aliza Esposito who singled and was pushed to second thanks to a sac by Morgan Shura to make it a 2-all game after four frames.
Things held at 2-all from there and Ali Yamakaitis came out of Suffolk's pen to keep the Falcons quiet. The junior twirler retired the side in the bottom of the seventh to force the extra frame, where the Rams rallied.
Flint started the inning with a single and moved to second thanks to an error by Falcons' center fielder Kelly. Suffolk's shortstop moved to third and Puelk walked, before Delaney Sylvester knocked a single to right field to bring in the go-ahead run. Devlin Frost followed suit with an RBI single of her own to give the Rams' a two-run cushion, but the blue-and-gold went through its lineup to run up the advantage to 9-2. Along the way, McKenzie McGrath, Sydney Littlefield, Ashley Zulla and Flint collected RBIs.
Behind Yamakaitis, the Rams retired the side to lock up its spot in the conference championship.
- McGrath had a day with the Rams' third baseman going perfect 4-for-4 at the dish with one RBI and one run scored.
- The trio of Flint, Pulek and Sylvester all had three hits apiece. Pulek put together a 3-for-4 performance with one double, two RBI and two runs. Flint and Sylvester each went 3-for-5 with one RBI apiece and the former scoring twice.
- Frost rounded out the Rams with double digit hits with two on her stat line as Suffolk produced17 hits in the victory.
- Yamakaitis earned the decision in a scoreless, one-hit, three-strikeout, relief effort of 3.0 innings.
- In the start, Taylor Holmes tossed the first 5.0 frames. The junior let up two runs on eight hits and one walk, while sitting down three batters.
- Megan Ferraro suffered the setback for Albertus Magnus. She allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 14 hits and one walk with two Ks.
- Laura Anderson also took the circle for the Falcons. In just 0.2 innings, she gave up one run on three hits.
- Suffolk advances to the GNAC championship game for the first time since 2014 and second-time ever under Jaclyn Davis.
- The Rams will make their fifth-ever trip to the league's title game.
- Suffolk looks to pick up its second-ever conference championship with the Rams capturing the first-ever title of the GNAC in 1996.
Suffolk heads into the championship contest versus the tournament's top seed Johnson & Wales with an anticipated 12:30 p.m. first pitch. The Rams will need to defeat the Wildcats twice to claim the conference crown.