STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's (25-3, 8-0 GNAC) swept a non-conference doubleheader with University of Maine-Farmington (3-18, 2-9 NEAC) with 8-3 and 9-3 wins at Larry Mahaney Diamond on Friday afternoon. Junior first baseman Mike Pratt (Dartmouth, Mass.) belted a pair of home runs in the two-game set.
St. Joe's took a while to get going as the Monks spotted the visiting Beavers single runs in the first, second and third innings and trailed 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth. Senior Jack MacVane (Mechanic Falls, Maine) scored on an SJC error in the first, sophomore Ben Yarian (South Berwick, Maine) crossed the plate on a Dale Winchenbach (Waldoboro, Maine) base hit in the second, and Matthew Woodbury (Fairfield, Maine) scampered home on a Chris Whitney (Lisbon, Maine) single in the third frame to put the Royal Blue in a 3-0 hole.
The Monks finally found the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth when the hosts put up two runs off four hits to cut the deficit down to one run. Pratt led off with a single and sophomore Lincoln Sanborn (Standish, Maine) followed with a base hit two batters later. Freshman Nic Lops (South Portland, Maine/Cheverus) broke the seal with a run-scoring single, plating Pratt, and senior left fielder Peter Allain (Salem, N.H.) sent Sanborn home with a double to left, making it a 3-2 game in favor of the visitors.
The SJC bats continued the hot streak in the fifth when freshman catcher Joe Coyne (Duxbury, Mass.), in search of his first collegiate long ball, led off with a deep fly-out to left which was caught just short of the wall by Winchenbach. The following hitter, Pratt, launched the very next pitch thrown by UMF starter Shane Waters (Mechanic Falls, Maine) far beyond the left field fence, tying the game at three-apiece.
Saint Joseph's went on to put the game away with five runs off five hits in the bottom of the sixth. Junior second baseman Brandon Chase (Naples, Maine) led off the frame with a solo jack over the left-center wall and the next batter, junior center fielder Sam Butts (Saco, Maine), doubled to right field. Senior shortstop Dan Achorn (Bow, N.H.) promptly sent Butts across the plate with a single to right and later scored, along with Coyne, who reached with a single, when sophomore right fielder Alex Lorenc (Nanuet, N.Y.) delivered a three-run shot over the left field wall.
For the Monks, Butts reached base in all four trips to the plate with two hits and two walks, Achorn went 2-4 with a run and an RBI, Pratt was 2-4 with two runs, a home run and an RBI, and Lorenc drove in three runs and was 2-4 with a run and a tater. Freshman starting pitcher Alex Valenti (Lawrence, Mass.) earned his second win of the season after allowing three runs (two earned) off five hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. Sophomore reliever Chris Bryant (New Gloucester, Maine) tossed only eight pitches in a perfect 1-2-3 seventh inning.
For the Beavers, Winchenbach and Whitney tallied two hits apiece and Waters was hit with the loss after yielding eight runs off 13 hits and three walks with three strikeouts on the afternoon.
The Monks had to rally from an early 2-0 deficit to earn the victory in the nightcap, as Farmington managed to plate a pair off three hits and an SJC error in the first inning. Sophomore shortstop Brent Wallingford (Sanford, Maine) doubled to deep right field with one and scored three batters later when senior Ethan Jean (Jackson, Maine) doubled to right. MacVane, who reached with a single up the middle, scored on the continuation of the Jean two-bagger as St. Joe's committed an error on a cutoff play.
The UMF cushion would not last long however, as the Monks proceeded to plate three runs off just one hit and a Beavers miscue in the bottom of the second. Sophomore left fielder Alex Markakis (Lynnfield, Mass.) reached via fielder's choice and scored the Monks' first run on a wild pitch and Dan Brown (Portland, Maine/Deering), who reached on an error, scored on a Louie Vigars (Stratham, N.H.) sac fly to knot the contest at two apiece. Chase drove home the go-ahead run with a single, plating sophomore catcher Willie Brown (Livermore Falls, Maine) with a base knock to right field.
Saint Joseph's added an insurance run when Pratt slammed his second tater of the day, a solo blast, with two out in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Leading 4-2 after five frames, St. Joe's went on to score five runs off five hits in the bottom of the sixth to put the game out of reach. Dan Brown led off by working a walk and, after moving up a bag on a wild pitch, scored on a Willie Brown single through the right side. Vigars sent Willie Brown scrambling home with a line-drive double to right-center and touched the plate himself when the following batter, Chase, tagged his team-leading fifth triple off the year to make it a 7-2 game. After a lengthy at bat yielded a base on balls for Sanborn, Coyne strode to the dish and plated Chase with a single to right field and pinch hitter James Mostone (Pelham, N.H.) sent Sanborn home with a single to lift the Royal Blue to a 9-2 cushion.
Maine-Farmington managed to score a run off a hit and a pair of SJC errors in the top of the seventh, as Yarian reached on a misplayed ball and scored on a throwing miscue to cap the game scoring.
For the Monks, Chase went 3-4 with a run, a triple, two RBI and a stolen base, Coyne added two hits and an RBI in four trips, and Vigars registered two RBI in the victory. Starting pitcher Jimmy Kennedy (York, Maine) earned the victory after allowing two runs (one earned) off four hits and a walk with three K's in 4.2 innings. Senior pitcher Andrew Devereaux (Hope Valley, R.I.) tossed 1.1 innings of perfect relief with two strikeouts and senior Kyle Neagle (Lisbon Falls, Maine) allowed an unearned run off a hit and a walk with one punchout in the top of the seventh.
Jean was the Beavers' lone repeat-hitter in the nightcap, having gone 2-3 with a double and an RBI in the losing effort. Starting pitcher Austin Clark (Jay, Maine) suffered the loss after yielding three runs (two earned) off two hits and a walk in two innings and Jean tossed a clean third frame, allowing a hit and a walk. Whitney tossed two innings and allowed a run off two hits and a walk with one K, Ed Flaherty (Baileyville, Maine) failed to record an out and surrendered five runs off three hits and a pair of free passes in the sixth inning, and junior Casey Ashey (Searsport, Maine) allowed two hits and fanned one in an inning of relief for the visitors.
With the sweep, Saint Joseph's improves to 62-12 in the history of the series with Maine-Farmington. The Monks - ranked 16th in the latest ABCA/Collegiate Baseball national poll, 21st in the current D3baseball.com/NCBWA poll, and second in the April 10th NEIBA Regional poll – own a 25-3 record for just the second time in program history. St. Joe's was 25-3 in 2001 and finished that season with a 38-6 overall record.
Saint Joseph's will host Johnson & Wales University on Saturday in a GNAC doubleheader slated to start at 1:00 PM. Farmington hosts conference foe Colby-Sawyer on Saturday in a 1:00 PM twinbill.