HARWICH, MA – Sixth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (30-14) routed #8 Mitchell College (24-14-1), 9-2, in an NCAA DIII New England Baseball Regional Tournament elimination game at Whitehouse Field on Friday morning. Senior right fielder Alex Lorenc (Nanuet, N.Y.) paced the Monks' impressive offensive effort by going 4-5 with two runs, a double, a homer and three RBI in the victory.
Saint Joseph's, which fell to #3 Tufts University in the team's tourney opener on Wednesday, has now won consecutive losers' bracket contests and will try to make it three in a row this evening, when the Monks face #5 MIT in another elimination game starting at approximately 8:30 PM. The Engineers staved off elimination with a 6-4 triumph over Tufts this afternoon at Whitehouse Field.
The Monks also received an outstanding effort from senior starting pitcher Joe Gruntkosky (Peabody, Mass.), who provided the Royal Blue with their third strong start in as many days with six strikeouts and two runs allowed off 12 hits in 7.2 innings, improving to 6-0 on the season in the process. Junior southpaw Dan Meeken (Marshfield, Mass.) and freshman Tyler Neville (Orono, Maine) combined to close out the contest with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
The two programs squared off for three scoreless innings before Saint Joseph's broke through with a run off two hits in the top of the fourth. Lorenc led off the inning with an unconventional double – a line drive up the middle that ricocheted off second base and over the head of Mitchell senior shortstop Marc Dorsi (West Haven, Conn.) – and later scored on a sac fly to left off the bat of sophomore left fielder Taylor Reuillard (Biddeford, Maine).
The Monks padded their lead with two runs off five hits in their next turn. With one out, freshman second baseman Taylor Black (Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.) singled to left-center and crossed home plate three batters later when Lorenc ripped a base hit to right. Senior center fielder Louie Vigars (Stratham, N.H.), who reached with a single to deep short, made it a 3-0 game after scoring on a Nic Lops (South Portland, Maine/Cheverus).
Saint Joseph's delivered the knock-out blow by scoring four runs off four hits and a pair of Mitchell miscues in the top of the sixth. Reuillard opened the frame with a single up the middle, moved to second on a wild pitch and sprinted home when the Mariners botched a sac bunt attempt by freshman first baseman Brett Barbati (Melrose, Mass.). Senior third baseman Alex Markakis (Lynnfield, Mass.), who reached via base on balls, raced home from third when Mitchell senior pitcher Mike Tandy (Montrose, N.Y.) errantly tossed a pickoff throw to second, checking on Barbati, who was driven home by Vigars with a single through the left side. Lops capped the inning scoring, plating Black with a fielder's choice to provide the visitors with a 7-0 cushion through six frames.
The Monks capped their side of the scoring ledger with two runs off one swing in the eighth. Facing reliever Lucas Troy Stango (Holland, Mich.) – who took over on the hill to start the eighth – with two out and freshman shortstop Max McCoomb (South Berwick, Maine) on first Lorenc belted the first pitch he saw over the left field fence, extending the SJC advantage to 9-0.
Mitchell came to life late, scoring both runs off four hits while stranding three runners in the bottom of the eighth. Dorsi led off with a single and later scored when junior Ryan Goodwin (Tunkhannock, Pa.) lofted a sac fly to left field. Junior first baseman Evan Peck (Shelton, Conn.) reached with a base hit to left-center and eventually came around to score on a Will Charkowsky (Cold Spring, N.Y.) knock to right-center.
Saint Joseph's registered 17 total hits and featured six repeat-hitters in the victory. Black went 3-4 with two runs scored, Reuillard was 2-3 with a run and an RBI, Lops added a pair of hits and two RBI in five at bats, and Vigars and Markakis produced two hits apiece in the lopsided triumph.
Mitchell received two-hit efforts from Dorsi, Peck, Rafael Garcia (New Britain, Conn.) and Blaze Ianetti (Middlesex, N.J.) in the season-ending setback. Tandy suffered the loss on the mound after yielding seven runs (five earned) off 12 hits with a pair of K's in 5.1 innings of work.
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 430-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, visitwww.sjcme.edu.