STANDISH, Maine – Top-seeded Suffolk University (24-16) outlasted #2 Saint Joseph's College (29-13), 6-5, to claim the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Baseball Tournament Championship at Larry Mahaney Diamond on Sunday afternoon.
With the victory, the Rams clinch their fourth-consecutive GNAC crown and collect the conference's automatic qualifier into the NCAA DIII Tournament, which begins with regional play on Thursday, May 17th. The national tournament field will be released on Monday, May 14th.
For Saint Joseph's, the loss brings an end to the 2018 season. The Monks, who suffered a 9-5 loss to #3 Johnson & Wales University in the first round of double-elimination play on Thursday, remained in contention with victories over #4 Lasell College (9-5) and Johnson & Wales (3-2) yesterday.
Today's title bout marked the ninth time the Monks and Rams have met in the GNAC Championship – St. Joe's has emerged victorious in six of these meetings with the last triumph coming in 2014.
Clinging to a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Suffolk scored twice off three hits to stake a 6-3 cushion. Freshman left fielder Will Hopkins (Old Rochester, Mass.) registered an RBI double and later scored when sophomore third baseman Tim Brigham (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) reached on a fielder's choice with two out, as a ground ball hit to second base looked to end the inning, but freshman first baseman Blasé Cormier (Wayland, Mass.) beat the throw, allowing his classmate to score what proved to be the game-winning run.
- The Rams secured a 4-0 lead off four hits in the fourth, when Cormier plated a pair with a single to left and senior center fielder Brady Chant (Warwick, R.I.) roped a two-run base hit to center
- The Monks responded with three runs off four hits and a Suffolk error in the top of the fifth, as junior shortstop Joey Murphy (Derry, N.H.), senior catcher Jacob White (Salem, N.H.), and junior first baseman Noah McDaniel (Eliot, Maine) registered RBI singles
- Trailing 6-3 in the top of the eighth, senior center fielder Chris Gerossie (Chester, N.H.) belted a two-run home run over the left field scoreboard to make it a one-run game
ON THE MOUND:
- Suffolk senior starter Mark Fusco (Medford, Mass.) picked up the win and improves to 6-2 on the season after giving up three runs (one earned) off eight hits and two walks while fanning three in seven innings
- Freshman reliever Rich Giandrea (Audubon, N.J.) allowed two runs on one hit, a walk, and a hit batsman in one inning
- Junior closer Jake Flax (Wyckoff, N.J.) sat the Monks down in order and struck out two in the ninth to earn his fourth save
- SJC senior starter Aaron Hall (Haverhill, Mass.) allowed just one hit in the first three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth and was hit with the loss after yielding four runs off four hits and two walks with two K's in three innings
- Senior southpaw Josh Partridge (Deerfield, N.H.) struck out eight and allowed two runs off four hits over 4.1 innings of relief
OFF THE BAT - SUFFOLK:
- Hopkins was 2-3 with a run, a double, and an RBI
- Speliotis went 2-4 with a run scored
- Lee added two hits and a run in five at-bats
OFF THE BAT – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Gerossie was 2-3 with two runs, a double, and a two-run jack
- White went 2-4 with an RBI
- Murphy was 2-5 with a run, a stolen base, and an RBI
MVP – Jake Flax, Suffolk
Brady Chant, Suffolk
Ryan Pordes, Suffolk
Blasé Cormier, Suffolk
Josh Partridge, Saint Joseph's
Jonathan Marchia, Saint Joseph's
Chris Gerossie, Saint Joseph's
Keith Grant, Johnson & Wales
Colby Greenhalgh, Johnson & Wales
Evan Michalek, Lasell
David Marsell, Lasell
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.