PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Thanks to homers from Jaclyn Flint and Delaney Sylvester and finesse in the circle from Ali Yamakaitis, the third-seeded Suffolk softball team defeated the tournament's top seed Johnson & Wales, 3-2, in the GNAC Championship Sunday afternoon at Scotts Miracle-Grow Complex. With the win, the Rams force a winner take all contest versus the Wildcats.
SCORE: Suffolk 3, Johnson & Wales 2
RECORDS: Suffolk (29-16) | Johnson & Wales (33-8)
HOW IT HAPPENED
A pitcher's battle was present for the first 2.5 innings, before Johnson & Wales struck in the bottom of the third. After a scoreless fourth, Suffolk made it a fresh game thanks to a lead-off solo shot from Sylvester over the left center fence.
An inning later another Rams bat went yard, this time it was Flint who sent the rock over the fence. The shortstop barreled the long ball with two outs and brought in Ashley Zulla, who singled, in with her to give Suffolk a 3-1 edge.
The Wildcats responded with a dinger of their own in the home half of the sixth to trim the margin to 2-1 after six innings.
JWU kept the Rams quiet in the top of the seventh, retiring the side as Suffolk turned its attention to the field. Ali Yamakaitis locked up the first down with a 13 ground out before Taylor Holmes came out of the Rams' bench. The junior walked a pair of Wildcats, but was backed up by her defense as a Flint made an assisted forced out at second and Lindsay Pagano caught Kristin Frost's pop up at first to seal up the victory.
- Four different Rams accounted for Suffolk's four hits.
- Flint's and Sylvester's hits each went over the fence with the former collecting two RBI.
- Pulek, who double, and Zulla rounded out the Rams with hits.
- Zulla scored one run for the Rams.
- Yamakaitis stood tall in the circle as the starter allowed two runs on seven hits and fanned six batters in 6.1 innings.
- Holmes dealt 0.2 frames of scoreless action with no hits given up, but walked half of the batters she faced (four).
- Jennifer Corona fell in the circle for the Wildcats. She allowed three runs on four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
- Suffolk and Johnson & Wales met for the first time in the GNAC Championship.
- The GNAC softball championship will be an if-necessary contest to determine the winner for the first time since 2015 when JWU collected its first conference crown.
- The Rams will play their first-ever if-necessary league title tilt.
Suffolk and JWU take the field in approximately 30 minutes to decide the 2017 GNAC Champion.