Saint Joseph's College and Suffolk University split a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) baseball doubleheader at Larry Mahaney Diamond on Saturday afternoon. The Monks won the opener, 6-4, while the Rams salvaged the split with a 7-4 victory in the nightcap.
The Monks quickly fell into a 3-0 hole when the Rams plated three run off four hits and an SJC error in the top of the first. With runners on second and third and one out, senior first baseman JC Collette (Amesbury, Mass.) reached on an infield miscue, a play that allowed two runs to score, and later scored the visitors' third run when junior Rob Marks (Revere, Mass.) singled to center.
Senior starting pitcher Lincoln Sanborn (Standish, Maine) settled in after the rocky first inning and managed to strike out the side in the second and third frames, an effort that allowed the Royal Blue to knot the game in the bottom of the third, when St. Joe's totaled three runs off four hits and a Suffolk error. With one out and runners on first and second, senior catcher Joe Coyne (Duxbury, Mass.) came to the plate and roped an RBI double to left center. When the relay throw was misplayed, Sanborn came all the way around from first base to score, making it a 3-2 contest. With two down and Coyne on second, sophomore right fielder Scott Betts (Peabody, Mass.) singled through the right, plating his senior teammate and tying the game at 3-3.
Saint Joseph's proceeded to take the lead with three runs off just one hit and a Suffolk error in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore shortstop Max McCoomb (South Berwick, Maine) walked, advanced to second on a passed ball and reached third on an infield error before scoring the go-ahead run when junior left fielder Taylor Reuillard (Biddeford, Maine) reached on a fielder's choice. Reuillard moved up 90 feet when Sanborn worked a walk and raced home on a Coyne base hit to center and Sanborn scored on a passed ball to notch the Monks' sixth run.
The Rams responded with a run off a pair of hits in the top of the fifth, as freshman outfielder Brady Chant (Warwick, R.I.) led off with a single to right and scored two batters later when junior catcher Jon Lapolla (Providence, R.I.) reached on a fielder's choice.
For the Monks, Coyne was 4-4 with a run, a double and a pair of RBI, Sanborn went 2-3 with two runs, Reuillard added two hits, two runs and an RBI in four trips to the plate, and Betts was 2-3 with an RBI in the come-from-behind triumph. Sanborn improved to 4-2 on the season after yielding four runs (one earned) off seven hits and a walk with eight K's in six innings. Junior closer Corey McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) picked up his fifth save of the season after tossing eight pitches in a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Chant, who went 3-4 with a pair of runs scored, was the Rams' lone repeat-hitter in the opener while senior southpaw Josh Desai (Shrewsbury, Mass.) fell to 4-3 on the year after giving up six runs (three earned) on 10 hits and four walks with a strikeout over six frames.
The Monks fell victim to shaky defense in the closing contest, as three errors led to a trio of unearned runs, a margin that proved to be the difference in a 7-4 setback.
St. Joe's plated a pair off three hits to claim an early advantage in the bottom of the second. Coyne led off with a sharp single up the middle and, after sophomore first baseman Brett Barbati (Melrose, Mass.) successfully executed a sac bunt, scored on a double off the bat of sophomore left fielder Dan Donovan (Lynn, Mass.), who sprinted home when the following batter, Betts, delivered a single up the middle, lifting the hosts to a 2-0 advantage through two frames.
The Rams chipped away at the deficit with a run off two hits in the top of the third, as Lapolla walked and scored on a Drew Carter (Newburyport, Mass.) base hit.
The wheels fell off for the Monks in the top of the fourth, when the Rams plated four runs off five hits and an infield error while batting around. Senior shortstop Adam Johnson (Georgetown, Mass.) led off the inning with a single through the left side and eventually scored on a Chant sac fly to left, tying the game at 2-2. With runners on second and third, Collette roped a 3-2 offering from sophomore starter Nick Malatesta (Wrentham, Mass.) to center for a two-run single and Marks knocked in a run with a single to left to cap the scoring with Suffolk on top by a 5-2 margin.
In the sixth, Johnson plated Carter – who reached with a walk – with a double to left-center, to extend the Rams' cushion to 6-2. Saint Joseph's attempted to rally in the sixth but failed to push a run across after loading the bases with two out.
Suffolk added another insurance run in the seventh, when freshman reliever Travis Godbout (Portland, Maine) plunked Marks with the bases loaded.
Showing some late life, the Monks managed to score twice off three hits in the bottom of the seventh. McCoomb opened the inning and reached on an infield error and scored on a Reuillard single down the left field line and Reuillard touched home plate on a Barbati single to make it a 7-4 contest. With rally bid would fall short however, as Suffolk junior reliever Cal Carroll (Methuen, Mass.) induced a harmless fly ball to right to close out the game.
For the Monks, Barbati went 3-3 with an RBI, Donovan was 2-3 with a run, a double and an RBI, and Coyne contributed two hits with a run and a double in four at bats. Malatesta falls to 3-2 on the year after allowing five runs (two earned) off seven hits and a walk with a strikeout over 3.2 innings while bullpen pitchers Steven Albert (Worcester, Mass.), Thomas Fortier (Falmouth, Maine), Marc Poirier (Lunenberg, Mass.), Josh Partridge (Deerfield, N.H.), Patrick Martin (Wilton, N.H.) and Godbout combined to give up two runs off four hits and six walks with four K's over 3.1 frames of work.
For the Rams, Lapolla was 2-3 with three runs scored and a pair of stolen bases, Julien Plana (Miami, Fla.) went 2-4 with a run, and Johnson was 2-5 with a run, a double and an RBI. Freshman starter Jake Flax (Wyckoff, N.J.) earned the victory on the mound after allowing four runs (two earned) off nine hits and a walk while fanning one in 6.2 innings. Carroll claimed his second save of the season after giving up one hit in 0.1 innings of work.
With the split, Saint Joseph's is now 25-15 in the history of the series with Suffolk University, a team the Monks have faced in the GNAC Championship in each of the last seven seasons. St. Joe's has emerged as the victor in six of the seven title contests.
Saint Joseph's, which clinched the top seed in the GNAC Tournament with a split at Johnson & Wales on Thursday, returns to action tomorrow with a home game versus University of Southern Maine. First pitch is slated for 1:00 PM. With the GNAC Tournament bracket still in flux, Suffolk awaits the results of tomorrow's Albertus Magnus/Johnson & Wales doubleheader to learn whether they must compete in the play-in round on Tuesday or earn a bye and begin the postseason on Thursday.
(Story courtesy of St. Joseph's College Sports Information)