BRISTOL, R.I. – Suffolk University advanced to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Baseball Championship Game with a 6-4 win over Salve Regina University Saturday afternoon.
Suffolk (25-14-1), who entered the tournament as the #3 seed, will play top-seeded Roger Williams University tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. in the ECAC Championship Game. Salve Regina ends the year at 26-15.
Mac Jacobson (Norfolk, Mass.) took a pitch in the arm to get on base in the Rams' first at-bat. Matthew Brenner (Eliot, Maine) followed with a single through second base on a hit-and-run, putting runners at the corners with no one out. Jake Cintolo came up next and struck out on a pitch in the dirt. However, the ball got away from Salve catcher Dominic Di Sano (Central Falls, R.I.), allowing Brenner to move up from second. Di Sano attempted to throw out Brenner at second but overthrew the ball into center, giving Jacobson a free pass home.
Sean Becker (Richmond, Va.) was plunked in the head in the bottom of the first for Salve Regina, getting on with one out. Di Sano ripped a deep fly ball to left, but was caught by Jon Lapolla (Providence, R.I.), whose momentum took him over the outfield fence and allowed Becker to move up to second. However, Salve's Cory Poplawski (Syracuse, N.Y.) stranded Becker at second with a foul-out to first.
One inning later, Ryan Sweenor (South Kingston, R.I.) notched an infield hit off of a ball to short, then took second on a balk by Suffolk starter Jonathan Richard (North Reading, Mass.). After an error at first to put runners at first and third, Daniel Donohue (Westbury, N.Y.) tied the game with an RBI fielder's choice, beating out the throw on a potential 4-6-3 double play.
In the top of the third, JC Collette (Amesbury, Mass.) picked up a two-out single, following by Devan Jones (Roslindale, Mass.) making it to first on a ball hit hard at third. Lapolla stepped up next and launched a three-run home run to left field, giving the Rams a 4-1 lead.
The following inning saw the Rams tack another run on the board. After Mike Muse (Milton, Mass.) got on via a Seahawk error, Brenner brought him home from third with a sac fly to right.
It would not be until the bottom of the seventh before the Seahawks were able to rally. Donohue, Anthony Conte (Georgetown, Mass.), and Ryan Kelly (Waldwick, N.J.) all singled to load the bases with no outs. Becker came through with an RBI single to bring the Seahawks within three. Suffolk would bring in Jhonneris Mendez (Boston, Mass.) to relieve Jonathan Richard (North Reading, Mass.), but Mendez would throw a ball to the backstop on his first pitch, allowing Conte to score. A botched ball on a grounder to short brought in Kelly, making it a 5-4 Suffolk lead. Mendez got out of the inning without allowing any more runs, getting a strikeout and a fly-out to maintain the one-run lead.
The Rams were able to get back one of the runs in the top of the eighth. Reliever Zach Zidelis (Northbridge, Mass.) had control issues, hitting two batters and allowing Justin Knight (Hackettstown, N.J.) to score from third on a wild pitch.
Mendez settled down after his shaky start, setting down the Seahawks in order in the eighth and ninth innings to secure the win.
Richard earned the win, allowing four runs (three earned) in six innings. Lapolla finished 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run, while Jacobson was 2-for-4 with a run.
Cory Poplawski (Syracuse, N.Y.) gave up five runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings in the loss. Kelly was 2-for-5 with a run for the Seahawks.