STANDISH, ME - Top-seeded Saint Joseph's (27-11, 13-1 GNAC) fell to #2 Suffolk (26-7, 12-3), 22-21, in a GNAC Tournament winner's bracket contest and rebounded to defeat #4 Johnson & Wales (19-18, 8-4), 12-6, in an elimination game following the loss. Ben Grant-Roy '10 (Biddeford, ME) belted four home runs in the pair of games and Chris Campbell '11 (Rochester, NH) was 3-6 with three RBI in the nightcap for the Monks. St. Joe's will face Suffolk on Sunday at 12:00 PM and needs to defeat the Rams twice in order to capture the conference crown.
Suffolk 22, St. Joe's 21 -
Saint Joseph's led 2-1 after one inning of play in the winner's bracket game, but Suffolk scored 11 runs in the top of the second to take control of the game early. The Monks scored nine times in the following four innings, but the second-seeded Rams proved too much to handle for the SJC pitching staff by scoring 10 runs and held a daunting 22-11 advantage after five innings of play.
Starter Pat Moran '10 (Winterport, ME) and relievers Mason Roberge '11 (Franklin, NH) and Chris Nanof '10 (Clinton, MA) combined to allow 21 earned run on 20 hits during those five frames, but Andy Pooler '09 (Southwest Harbor, ME), who came on in the sixth, cooled the Rams' bats for three innings and fellow bullpen members Chris Dion '11 (Lawrence, MA) and Shawn Hall '10 (West Newfield, ME) did the same for the final 1 1/3 innings. In the meantime, St. Joe's kept chipping away at the seemingly insurmountable deficit and trailed 22-15 going into the bottom of the ninth.
In was in their last turn that the Monks produced their most offense, scoring six runs to make it a 22-21 game. St. Joe's had the bases loaded and Suffolk reliever Dan Delia '09 (Boston, MA) on his heels with two out, but couldn't push the tying run across. Instead of getting prepared to play in the championship on Sunday at noon, the Monks faced the unenviable task of taking the field again in 30 minutes to take on Johnson & Wales in a loser's bracket contest.
Grant-Roy was 5-6 with two home runs, five runs and six RBI and Eric LaBatte '11 (Rochester, NH) went 5-7 with a double, triple and five runs batted in. Ian Lee '11 (Hampden, ME) was 4-6 at the plate with four runs and three RBI while Campbell added a 3-6 effort with three runs. Starting pitcher Pat Moran was hit with the loss for St. Joe's.
Suffolk registered 10 extra base hits in the victory, with four of those leaving Larry Mahaney Diamond. Rory Gentile '10 (Gloucester, MA) was 4-7 with a triple, two long balls, four runs and seven RBI and Bobby Barrett '10 (Milton, MA) went 4-5 with two triples, a homer, three runs and five RBI in the win. Charles Kilgore '11 (Milford, NH) earned the victory after allowing four earned runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
The contest was the highest scoring game for runs scored by one team, runs scored by a losing team and combined runs in GNAC Tournament history. It was also the first time in tourney history that a club topped 20 runs.
The run total for the Monks was the most ever scored in a loss in program history and the fourth time this season St. Joe's has put up 20 or more runs in a game.
St. Joe's 12, Johnson & Wales 6 -
After falling behind early and playing the catch-up game in each of the team's two tourney games, the Monks used a more conventional approach in the loser's bracket contest against JWU. St. Joe's scored first in the must-win contest with four runs in the top of the second and added two more in the third to take a 6-0 lead to provide the Royal Blue faithful with some much-needed breathing room. Travis Adams '10 (Saco, ME) and Mike Burdin '10 (Gardiner, ME) each drove in a run and Campbell plated a pair with a two-bagger to account for the second-frame scoring. Grant-Roy and Moran belted back-to-back long balls in the third to make it a 6-0 game.
The Wildcats scratched their way back into the game by cutting the deficit to 9-6 after a three-run seventh, but St. Joe's scored three times in the final two innings, including Grant-Roy's second tater of the game in the eighth, to take a six-run lead. Nanof tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings to help preserve the victory and bring the JWU season to a close.
Campbell and Grant-Roy both recorded three hits and three runs batted in while Moran and Burdin added two hits apiece in the win. SJC starter Kyle Dorr '10 (Berwick, ME) allowed one earned run and seven hits with four K's in six frames to improve to 4-0 on the season.
Grant-Roy's solo blast in the third inning gave him 100 RBI in his career, making him the 12 th player in program history to reach the century mark.
For the Wildcats, Waldis Garcia '10 (Lowell, MA) was 4-5 with a double and two stolen bases, while teammates John Kuschman '09 (Glastonbury, CT) and Teddy Katz '11 (Pittsburgh, PA) both added a pair of hits in the losing effort. Starting pitcher Jeff Jordan '10 (Woodbridge, NJ) suffered the loss after allowing eight earned runs in six innings.