STANDISH, ME - Pat Moran '10 (Winterport, ME) went 3-4 with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh in the opener and tossed seven innings of five-hit ball with nine strikeouts in the nightcap to lead Saint Joseph's (25-10, 13-1 GNAC) to a sweep over Suffolk University (24-7, 11-3), 6-5 and 5-2, on Sunday afternoon. The sweep clinches the GNAC regular season title and secures the top seed for the Monks in the upcoming conference tournament.
GAME ONE -
With two out, Ben Grant-Roy '10 (Biddeford, ME) hit his second long ball of the season, a two-run blast to left off Suffolk starter Dan Delia '09 (Boston, MA) in the bottom of the first, to lift the Monks to an early 2-0 lead. Ian Lee '11 (Hampden, ME) reached with a single, his 100 th career hit, prior to the tater.
Suffolk rebounded by scoring four runs in the top of the second off SJC starter Kyle Dorr '10 (Berwick, ME). Keith Carter '09 (Newburyport, MA) opened the frame with a walk, moved to second on a groundout and scored when Mark Addesa '11 (Revere, MA) singled. Mike Kenneally '10 (Georgetown, MA) followed with a double, which moved Addesa to third. Anthony Iacopucci '09 (Medford, MA) hit a sac fly to left field to plate Addesa and Rory Gentile '10 (Gloucester, MA) hit a triple to deep center to send Kenneally and Nick Travelyn '11 (Bedford, NH), who reached via base on balls, across the plate, making the score 4-2, Suffolk.
Dorr cruised through the next three innings, yielding just two hits and no runs, while the Monks managed to score single runs in each of their next three trips to the plate to secure a 5-4 lead through five innings of play. Todd Keneborus '11 (Hollis Center, ME/Cheverus) singled and scored on a Chris Campbell '11 (Rochester, NH) base knock in the second frame, and Eric LaBatte' 11 (Rochester, NH) was driven home by a Travis Adams '10 (Saco, ME) grounder in the third to tie the contest. Moran drove in the go-ahead run with a double, which sent Lee , who reached with a single, scrambling home to give the hosts a 5-4 edge.
Kevin Chamberlain '11 (Scarborough, ME) replaced Dorr on the hill in the sixth and allowed a single to Kenneally before getting the next two Suffolk hitters to strike out and fly out. With two down, the sophomore forced Gentile to hit a grounder, but the ball was misplayed by SJC shortstop Mike Burdin '10 (Gardiner, ME) to extend the inning. Kenneally moved to second on the play and scored when the following batter, Paul Vittozzi '09 (North Reading, MA), singled to left, tying the game at five apiece.
Two scoreless half-innings ensued before Moran , leading off the seventh, stepped up to the plate and belted a Delia offering over the left field wall, lifting the Monks to a dramatic 6-5 triumph.
Grant-Roy was 2-3 with a pair of runs and RBI's and Lee went 2-3 in the victory. Dorr allowed six hits, four earned runs and three walks in five innings and Chamberlain allowed three hits and one unearned run in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Chris Dion '11 (Lawrence, MA) retired the only batter he faced to record the win, his first of the season.
It took Lee just 75 games to record his 100 th career hit, the second fastest to the century mark behind 2008 SJC Hall of Fame inductee Jesse LaCasse '03 , who achieved the total in 69 games.
For Suffolk, Gentile was 2-3 with two RBI, Carter went 2-3 with a run scored and Kenneally posted two hits in three trips to the plate and scored twice. Delia (6-1) allowed 12 hits and five earned runs with seven strikeouts in suffering his first loss of the year.
GAME TWO -
Suffolk got on the board first in the nightcap with a run in the top of the second. Jon Handy '11 (South Burlington, VT) singled off Moran with one out and scored on a two-out base hit from Iacopucci to give his team an early 1-0 advantage.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Rams starter Reid Jackson '09 (Burlington, MA) pelted Moran with a stray pitch and Keneborus followed with a two-bagger to place a pair of runners in scoring position. A seldom-seen play followed, as both SJC runners managed to score on a passed ball. Suffolk catcher Bobby Barrett '10 (Milton, MA) sprinted to the backstop to grab the loose ball and tried to throw it to Jackson , who was covering the plate, but the throw found Barrett's catcher's mask and ricocheted to the Ram's on-deck circle, allowing Keneborus to score from second base. The Monks gained a 2-1 lead on the bizarre play.
Carter led off the top of the third with a solo homer to left-center to tie the game, 2-2. St. Joe's answered with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to capture a 5-2 win along with the GNAC regular season crown. Grant-Roy tripled to lead off the fourth and promptly scored on a LaBatte chopper to short. Three consecutive singles resulted in the Monks' fifth frame tally, as Campbell touched the plate after Lee singled up the middle. Craig Woodbrey '10 (Gorham, ME) plated LaBatte , who opened the sixth with a double, with another base knock up the middle to cap the game scoring.
Wade Oliver '09 (Owls Head, ME) and Burdin both registered a pair of hits in three trips to the plate for Saint Joseph's. Moran allowed one earned run and no walks to improve to 6-0 on the season.
LaBatte's double in the sixth was the team's 100 th of the season, breaking the team single-season mark of 99 set in 2000. The two-bagger was his 10 th of the year, giving the Monks five players with 10 or more for the first time in a single season.
Iacopucci was the lone repeat hitter for the Rams, having gone 2-3 with an RBI, and Jackson (5-2) allowed 10 hits and four earned runs with five punch outs in the losing effort.
Saint Joseph's and Suffolk will host the winners of Tuesday's first round playoff contests on Thursday, starting times TBD.