PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It took an extra inning, but the Suffolk University baseball team repeated as GNAC Tournament Champions at the Scotts Miracle-Gro Athletic Complex on Sunday night. The Rams got a run in the top of the 10th inning to defeat St. Joseph's (Maine) College, 5-4, in the championship game.
The Rams finish the tournament with a 33-11 record and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in row, while the Monks, who ranked 10th in the latest edition of the New England regional rankings, fall to 25-14.
After St. Joseph's tied the game in bottom of the ninth, the Rams got the winning run in the 10th thanks to a SJC miscue. Rob Marks reached on an error then the Monks issued a walk and an intentional walk to load the bases. Monks reliever Travis Godbout walked pinch hitter Greg Speliotis with the bases loaded to score Marks.
Cal Carroll pitched the ninth to get the victory as he improved to 3-2. Jake Frasca – who started at second, came on in relief in the seventh. went back to second and came back in to pitch in the 10th – got the save. Godbout took the loss, dropping his record to 6-2.
Tournament MVP Brady Chant led the Suffolk hitting attack with a 2-for-4 performance and three runs scored. St. Joseph's out-hit Suffolk, 13-6, with four players collecting at least two hits. Nic Lops was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
The Monks forced the game into extra innings with a pair of runs in the bottom of the nine. Two errors by Suffolk third baseman Drew Carter allowed two batters to reach. Lops and Jameson Collins delivered RBI singles to score the tying runs.
St. Joseph's got on the board first with a run in the second when Taylor Reuillard went opposite field for his fourth home run of the season. Suffolk got a pair of sacrifice flies in the fourth and fifth innings with Seth Coiley crossing the plate in the fifth to give the Rams their first lead of the game.
Suffolk scored in three-straight innings when Drew Carter ripped a single through the left side that scored Chant. The Monks cut the margin to one, 3-2, on an RBI single from Lops in the seventh, but an error in the eighth allowed the Rams to build a two-run cushion. Pitcher Riley Cox tried to pick off Chant, but the throw went down the first base line, allowing Chant to reach third. He scored on an RBI single by Carter.
Game One: St. Joseph's 8, Suffolk 7
The Monks forced a deciding game with an 8-7 victory in the opener. Suffolk got out to a fast start with five runs in the bottom of the first inning. The big blow was a two run home run – the first HR of the year at Scotts Miracle-Gro Athletic Complex – by Kevin Belskie.
SJC fought back to take the lead with three runs in the second and fourth innings. Lops delivered a two-run single in the third and Taylor Reuillard cleared the bases with a two-run triple in the fourth. The Monks added insurance runs in the fifth and six that they would need. The Rams had a number of chances to score, but only got a run in the seventh and eighth innings. Suffolk stranded seven runners in scoring position.
Normally the closer for St. Joseph's, Corey McNamara threw seven innings to pick up the victory and improve his record to 4-2. Suffolk's Worth Walrod took the loss as he gave up seven runs, five earned, in 4.1 innings of work.
The two teams combined for 27 hits. Leading the way in defeat was Suffolk's Chant as he went 5-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Belskie was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Leading the Monks was Lops with a 3-of-5 effort.
First Round (single elimination)
Game 1: #3 Lasell 10, #6 Rivier 4 | BOX
Game 2: #4 Johnson & Wales 7, #5 Albertus Magnus 0 | BOX
Second Round (double-elim begins)
Game 3: #2 Suffolk 7, #3 Lasell 4 | BOX
Game 4: #1 Saint Joseph's Maine 8, #4 Johnson & Wales 1 | BOX
Semifinals - Saturday, May 7 (Hosted by Johnson & Wales) | RECAP
Game 5: #3 Lasell 5, #4 Johnson & Wales 4 | BOX (JWU eliminated)
Game 6: #2 Suffolk 10, #1 Saint Joseph's Maine 0 | BOX
Game 7: #1 Saint Joseph's Maine 2, #3 Lasell 0 | BOX (Lasell eliminated)
Championship - Sunday, May 8 (Hosted by Johnson & Wales) | RECAP
Game 8: #1 Saint Joseph's Maine 8, #2 Suffolk 7 | BOX
Game 9: #2 Suffolk 5, #1 Saint Joseph's Maine 4 (10 innings) | BOX (SJC eliminated)