WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Illinois-Wesleyan University (5-1) defeated Saint Joseph's College (6-2) in RussMatt Central Florida Invitational baseball action at the Chain of Lakes Complex on Saturday morning.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Monks faced a 5-0 deficit going into the bottom of the fourth, as senior shortstop Jarrod Juskiewicz (Palatine, Ill.) cleared the bases with a line drive double to right-center as part of a four-run third and junior designated Tim Smyk (Morris, Ill.) led off the top of the fourth with a solo jack over the left field wall.
Saint Joseph's chipped away at the Titans' lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, as senior third baseman Taylor Black (Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.) and senior designated hitter Jameson Collins (Sandown, N.H.) delivered back to back doubles and senior first baseman Brett Barbati (Melrose, Mass.) knocked in Collins and senior right fielder Dennis Meehan (Gardiner, Maine) with a two-bagger down the left field line.
In the bottom of the sixth, Meehan tied the game with his first homer of the season, a two-run blast to left-center, and junior catcher Jacob White (Salem, N.H.) delivered the go-ahead run, plating senior pinch runner Scott Betts (Peabody, Mass.) with a double to center.
The Monks' 6-5 edge did not last long however, as Illinois-Wesleyan scored twice off two hits and a pair of walks in the top of the seventh. Smyk drove in what proved to be the deciding run with a sacrifice fly to center.
In the top of the eighth, the Titans padded their lead when Juskiewicz produced an RBI double to account for the 8-6 final.
Saint Joseph's had two runners on base in each of the last three innings but was not able to come up with the big hit.
ON THE MOUND:
Saint Joseph's junior starter Philip LeVangie (Hanover, Mass.) allowed four runs off three hits and two walks with three K's over two innings and junior Travis Godbout (Portland, Maine) took the loss after yielding four runs off eight hits and three free passes with five punch-outs in 5.1 frames of relief. Freshman Matt Demma (Worcester, Mass.) fanned three and allowed a pair of hits in 1.1 innings and junior Marc Poirier (Lunenburg, Mass.) struck out the only batter he faced in the top of the ninth.
Illinois-Wesleyan senior starter Sean Coonan (Bloomington, Ill.) did not factor into the decision after giving up six runs off 11 hits with a pair of strikeouts in 5.2 innings and sophomore reliever Nick Brune (Mundelein, Ill.) earned the victory after allowing one hit in just 1/3 inning of work. Senior reliever Brian Henry (Morris, Ill.) tossed three shutout frames while allowing five hits with four K's to notch his first save of the season.
OFF THE BAT – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Black went 3-5 with a double and a run scored
- Meehan was 2-3 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI
- Barbati added two hits and a pair of RBI in five trips to the plate
- Collins went 2-5 with two runs, a double, and an RBI
- White was 2-3 with a two-bagger and an RBI
- Senior left fielder Dan Donovan (Lynn, Mass.) tallied two hits in three at-bats
OFF THE BAT – ILLINOIS-WESLEYAN:
- Juskiewicz was 2-5 with a pair of doubles and four RBI
- Smyk went 2-4 with a run, a home run, and a pair of RBI
- Freshman Nick Figus (Frankfort, Ill.) was 3-5 with two runs and a stolen base
- Sophomore Jacob Houghton (Davenport, Iowa) went 3-4 with a double and a run scored
The Titans' head coach, Dennis Martel, is a Maine native who attended Marshwood High School and graduated from the University of Maine-Orono…along with SJC Head Coach Will Sanborn '86, he was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013…the uncle of former SJC left-handed pitcher Kyle Dorr '10, Martel guided IWU to the NCAA DIII Championship in 2010.
- The Monks hit .368 (95-258) and outscored their opponents by an 84-49 margin in the eight games combined
- Black hit .567 (17-30) with 13 runs, six doubles, two triples, 12 RBI and a pair of stolen bases while starting all eight games at third base
- Senior shortstop Max McCoomb (South Berwick, Maine) hit .414 (12-29) and already has more RBI this season (10) than he had during his junior campaign (9)
- Junior Josh Partridge (Deerfield, Maine), now in a relief role, fanned nine batters while allowing five hits and three runs in 10 innings over four appearances
- The SJC defense was superb with a .981 fielding percentage (five errors in 269 chances
Saint Joseph's returns to action on Friday, March 24th when the team returns to the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational for three nine-inning games versus Thomas College (3/24, 2:00 PM), Worcester State University (3/25, 2:00 PM), and Benedictine University (IL) (3/26, 10:00 AM).
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.