STANDISH, ME – Junior second baseman Brandon Chase (Naples, Maine) was 3-4 with two home runs and five RBI and turned a triple play in the seventh to help lift Saint Josephs' (31-4, 13-1 GNAC) past Daniel Webster College (17-14, 10-5 NECC) by a 9-3 margin at Larry Mahaney Diamond on Saturday afternoon.
Chase, the first SJC player to belt two homers in a game since Todd Keneborus '11 slammed a pair in an 8-7 win over Southern Maine on April 29th, 2009, launched a three-run shot in the second inning and added a two-run blast in the seventh. With runners on first and second and nobody out in the top of the seventh, Eagles right fielder Ryan Dupont (Merrimack, N.H.) hit a line drive to Chase, who promptly stepped on second and threw to first, retiring all three runners on one play. The triple play is the third in SJC baseball history and the first since the 2002 campaign.
The Monks spotted the Eagles a pair of runs in the first inning, as Kyle Brigham (Hudson, N.H.) doubled home Darrick Marstaller (Spofford, N.H.) and scored when the following batter, Korey LeLievre (Hudson, N.H.), singled to left field.
The 2-0 edge would last until the bottom of the second when Chase recorded his first longball of the contest. Freshman Nic Lops (South Portland, Maine/Cheverus) and sophomore left fielder Alex Markakis (Lynnfield, Mass.) both reached with two-strike base hits and, two batters later, the slugging second sacker put the hosts on top with one swing by launching a deep drive over the left field wall.
Saint Joseph's went on to score two runs off two hits and a DWC miscue in the bottom of the fifth – all with two out. Junior first baseman Mike Pratt (Dartmouth, Mass.), who reached on an infield error, scored on a Lops base hit and senior third baseman Dan Brown (Portland, Maine/Deering) plated Lops with a singled up the middle, giving the Royal Blue a 5-2 lead through five frames.
Daniel Webster, without a hit since the second frame, seemed to have a rally going in the seventh as LeLievre was hit by a pitch and catcher Tyler Bonin (Litchfield, N.H.) reached with a single to start the inning, but the visitors' plans of a comeback hit a snag when Dupont hit the soft liner to Chase, which of course turned into a triple play.
The rare defensive play may have provided the Monks with some momentum heading into their next turn at the bat, when the hosts scored four runs off five hits – again, all with two out - to secure a 9-2 cushion. Markakis and Brown notched RBI singles and Chase delivered his team-leading sixth home run of the year, a two-run frozen rope over the left field fence, to cap the Monks' scoring on the afternoon.
The Eagles would put up one run off a pair of hits in the top of the ninth, as Marstaller was hit by a pitch and scored on a Bonin single through the left side to account for the 9-3 final score.
Saint Joseph's senior Sam Murray (Walpole, Mass.), the 2010 GNAC pitcher of the Year, made his first start of the season after battling through injuries to start the year and was quite effective, picking up the win after allowing two runs off four hits while fanning three in four innings. Junior Jimmy Kennedy (York, Maine) allowed just one hit in three innings of work and freshman southpaw Anthony Zawistowski (Otisville, N.Y.) yielded a walk in one inning of relief for the hosts. Freshman lefthander Dan Meeken (Marshfield, Mass.), another pitcher coming off nagging injuries and a highly-touted young arm, made his first NCAA appearance on the hill, allowing a run off two hits while striking out a pair in the closing inning.
Daniel Webster senior starter Kory Kiro (Goffstown, N.H.) falls to 4-2 on the year after giving up five runs (three earned) off 10 hits and a walk with three K's in six innings. Connor Milliken (Dayville, Conn.) allowed two runs off two hits in 2/3 inning and LeLievre surrendered two runs off four hits in 1.1 frames for the Eagles.
Offensively for the Monks, Lops was 3-5 with three runs, Sam Butts (Saco, Maine) went 3-5 with a stolen base, Markakis added two hits and two runs in three trips, and Brown was 2-3 with a run and two RBI.
The Eagles, led by Head Coach J.P. Pyne, a 2001 Saint Joseph's College graduate and the Monks' all-time saves leader, featured two repeat-hitters, as LeLievre and Bonin tallied two hits apiece in a losing effort.
With the win Saint Joseph's improves to 8-0 in the history of the series with Daniel Webster College, which entered today's action as the NECC leader with 12 wins over the last 15 contests.
Saint Joseph's will host Anna Maria College in a GNAC doubleheader starting at 11:00 AM on Sunday, while Daniel Webster hosts Tufts University in a non-conference tilt at 1:00 PM on Sunday.
Saint Joseph's College, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, celebrates its Centennial year in 2012 with a theme of "Realize the Promise" – honoring our commitment to educating well-rounded graduates who combine career focus with classic liberal arts studies. A Private, Catholic, primarily residential, coeducational liberal arts institution, Saint Joseph's welcomes students of all ages and all faiths. The campus, located 18 miles northwest of Portland and just two hours from Boston, encompasses 350 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. Enrollment ranges between 1,000 and 1,100 students annually. Saint Joseph's offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing and business fields in a value-centered environment.