STANDISH, ME – #11 Saint Joseph's College (10-5, 1-1 GNAC) split a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) baseball doubleheader with Lasell College (4-9, 1-1 GNAC) at Larry Mahaney Diamond on Saturday afternoon. The Lasers stunned the Monks in the opener, 4-2, but the hosts responded with a 6-1 triumph in the nightcap to salvage the split.
An outstanding effort by senior pitcher Tyler Laverriere (Biddeford, Maine) was wasted in the opener, as the Monks committed three errors to negate the righthander's 11-strikeout performance in a 4-2 loss. The miscues resulted in three unearned runs and, along with the lack of timely hitting – the Monks stranded 10 runners – ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
Plenty of credit also goes to Lasell sophomore starter David Long (Brookfield, Conn.), who kept the hosts off balance while scattering six hits with two K's and three walks to help the Lasers top the Monks for just the second time in the 11-game history of the series between the conference counterparts.
Saint Joseph's showed a bit more fire in the closing contest and secured a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second before putting the game away with a four-run fourth. Junior pitcher Joe Gruntkosky (Peabody, Mass.) was every bit as dominant as Laverriere, as the righty allowed just one hit and a walk with eight punch-outs in six scoreless innings to collect the win and improve to 3-0 on the season.
With the split, Saint Joseph's is now 9-2 in the history of the series with Lasell College. Prior to this afternoon, the Monks had defeated the Lasers in six-consecutive meetings.
Saint Joseph's returns to action on Monday when the Monks travel to Waterville, Maine to face the Mules of Colby College at 4:00 PM. Lasell hosts non-conference foe Wentworth College on Tuesday at 7:00 PM.
Lasell kicked off the day's scoring with the help of three hits and an SJC error in the top of the second. Freshman catcher Wes Hurty (Windsor, Conn.) reached on a fielder's choice and botched infield play and scored two batters later when senior designated hitter Jacob Salkovitz (Brockton, Mass.) singled up the middle.
The Monks looked to respond right away in the bottom of the second. Junior right fielder Alex Lorenc (Nanuet, N.Y.) led off the frame with a double, junior catcher Willie Brown (Fayette, Maine) worked a free pass and freshman left fielder Tim Beaudette (Uxbridge, Mass.) was plunked by an errant fastball to load the bases with two out, but all three runners would be deserted.
Lasell went on to score a pair of unearned runs in the third to secure a 3-0 lead. With one out and junior second baseman Dustin Brown (Falmouth, Mass.) - who singled - on first, freshman Rob Madden (Hingham, Mass.) came to the plate and singled up the middle and both runners attempted to advance on a bobble in center field. Brown sailed into third with no throw, but Madden would likely have been out at second if not for a poor throw at the bag. The errant toss, which rattled around in the right field corner, resulted in both runners scoring and the visitors notching a 3-0 cushion.
Following another infielder error, the Lasers managed to tack on an additional run in the top of the fifth when junior first baseman Billy Uberti (Newton, Mass.) plated Brown with a double to left-center.
Trailing 4-0 and quickly running out of outs, the Monks went to work in the fifth. Beaudette opened the inning with a single up the middle and later scored on a Nic Lops (South Portland, Maine/Cheverus) base knock and senior Sam Butts (Saco, Maine) walked and tapped home plate when senior first baseman Mike Pratt (Dartmouth, Mass.) doubled over the left fielder's head. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Saint Joseph's seemed poised to gain more ground, but Long dug deep and produced a strikeout and a pair of harmless fly-outs to eliminate the threat.
In the top of the seventh, Laverriere emptied the tank and struck out the Lasell side and Lops was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the inning, but the Monks would not post a scoring opportunity in their final turn.
For Saint Joseph's, Beaudette went 2-2 with a run scored and Pratt was 2-4 with a double and an RBI in the losing bid. Brown scored a pair of runs for Lasell, which did not feature a repeat-hitter in the upset victory.
St. Joe's began the scoring in the second contest with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore catcher Joe Coyne (Duxbury, Mass.) worked an 0-2 count into a walk, advanced to second on a Lorenc sacrifice bunt, and scored when Taylor Reuillard (Biddeford, Maine) singled up the middle to provide the hosts with their first lead of the day.
The Monks' bats showed signs of life in the bottom of the fourth with four runs off four hits and a pair of Lasell errors. Pratt opened with a single, moved to second on an error and scored on a single by Coyne, who later scored on a Zack Graham (Marlborough, Mass.) base hit. Senior second baseman Brandon Chase (Naples, Maine) plated Lorenc, who walked, with a perfectly-executed safety squeeze and Graham sprinted home on a wild pitch to lift the Royal Blue to a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lorenc greeted Lasell reliever Vinny Romano (Yonkers, N.Y.) with a double to deep center and scored on a Graham single through the right side, making it a 6-0 game.
Freshman reliever Riley Cox (Westford, Mass.) entered the game in favor of Gruntkosky in the top of the seventh and, after yielding an unearned run, worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam with a 1-2-3 double play and a harmless groundout to second base.
Lasell starting pitcher Matti Doxter (Somersworth, N.H.) took the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) off five hits and four walks with three K's over four innings. Reliever Greg Sherman (Marshfield, Mass.) worked a scoreless fifth and Romano let up a run off two hits in the sixth.
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 350-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.