LYNN, Mass. – Third-seeded Lasell College (16-15) scored two runs in the top of the ninth to negate a 3-3 tie and upset top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (31-8) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament elimination game at Fraser Field on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Lasell advances and will face the loser of today's winners' bracket game, featuring #2 Suffolk and #4 Johnson & Wales, later tonight. For the Monks, the loss brings an unexpected end to the 2017 campaign.
Offensively, the Lasers scattered 11 hits across seven bats, buoyed by a 3-for-5 performance from Dom Mascolo (Waterbury, Conn.). The first baseman added one run to his effort at the plate, while one of Andre Marchesseault's (Cheshire, Conn.) two hits proved to be the most important of the day with the Laser's third baseman bringing in the winning run. Brandon Valentin (Meriden, Conn.) scored twice for Lasell and recorded one hit with Skylar Beckerman (Pensacola, Fla.) chipped in one hit and one run.
Hector Coscionne (Newton, Mass.) picked up the win in relief effort. The senior moved from shortstop to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and threw 2.0 scoreless innings for the Lasers, giving up no hits and sitting down one batter. Casey Johnson (Windsor, Conn.) dealt the first 7.0 frames, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts to his credit.
Joey Murphy (Derry, N.H.) paced the Monks at the plate with a 2-for-4, two RBI effort. Anthony DiPrizio had a 1-for-2 day, with one double, one RBI and one run scored. Dennis Meehan (Cardiner, Maine) contributed one hit and one run, with Jared Gagne (Dover, N.H.) scoring one run for the Monks.
SJC used four arms on the bump. Reliever Josh Partridge (Deerfield, N.H.) suffered the setback. In 3.1 frames, he gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks with five Ks. Travis Godbout got the nod, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits, one walk and fanned a pair of hitters thorugh the first 2.1 frames. Marc Poirier (Lunenburg, Mass.) and Philip LeVangie (Hanover, Mass.) also saw time on the mound for the Monks.
Lasell struck early in the first frame to take a 1-0 lead. With one out, Valentin knocked a deep double to right field and two batters later, Mascolo sent a hopper to the Monks' thirdbaseman Taylor Black (Cardiff By the Sea, Calif.). The senior let the rock roll through his legs and into left field giving Valentin plenty of time to make it home and give the Lasers' a 1-0 edge.
After Johnson retired the side, the Lasers looked to stretch their distance in the second. With the bases loaded, two down and Coscione at the dish with a full count, the senior shortstop popped up to short and Max McCoomb (South Berwick, Maine) was there to make the play to keep it a one-run game.
Lasell's defense sat down St. Joe's in order in the second and followed that with one run in the third. With one out, Beckerman knocked a double to center field, used a single up the middle from Mascolo to move over and came in on Marchesseault's single to center to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. The Monks brought Poirier out of the penn and the fresh arm fanned the Lasers next two hitters, swinging and looking, respectively, to keep it a two-run game.
Zeros went up on the board in the home half of the third, both sides of the fourth and the top of the fifth, before the Monks trimmed things to a one-run game in the bottom of the fifth. Meehan started things out with a double to left and advanced to third thanks to a sac bunt from Brett Barbati (Melrose, Mass.). With a runner in scoring position and only one out on the board, DiPrizio's 43 ground out made it a 2-1 contest after five complete frames. The Lasers' defense held the Monks there, however, as Beckerman snagged Chris Gerossie's (Chester, N.H.) fly ball to right field.
In the top of the eighth, things turned into a two-run game for the second time on the afternoon in Lasell's favor thanks in large part to SJC mistakes. David Marsell (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) took first on an error by Monks' first baseman Barbati. The sophomore second baseman moved to third with another St. Joseph's error, this time by third baseman Black, who also put Evan Michalek (Berlin, Conn.) on first. A passed ball by Monks' catcher DiPrizio with runners in the corners let Marsell strut in for the 3-1 lead.
St. Joe's did not let the errors effect their offense as it found its grove in the home half of the eighth. DiPrizio's double to left was followed by a single from pinch hitter Chris Gerossie (Chester, N.H.) in the same spot. Both Monks came in on Murphy's long single to center, which leveled the playing field at 3-all. From there, the Lasers' put their starting shortstop, Coscione, on the hill and the relief arm kept the go-ahead run stranded as he took the Monks down in order to keep the contest equalized.
In what turned into a fresh game in the top of the ninth, the Lasers made the most of it. Valentin's walk was followed by singles from Beckerman and Mascolo to load the bags. With no outs, Marchesseault barreled a single to center to bring in the go-ahead run, Valentine, and another, Beckerman, for a two-run cushion, 5-2.
Lasell's defense stood tall behind Coscione, leaving the tying run at the plate to lock up the 5-2 win and advance.
The Lasers await their results of the semifinal contest between second-seeded Suffolk and fourth-seeded Johnson & Wales. The winner of the Rams and Wildcats advance to the championship contest, while the loser takes on Lasell under the lights at Fraser Field.
COURTESY OF SUFFOLK SPORTS INFORMATION
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.