WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Saint Joseph's College (5-6) split a pair of close games with St. Olaf College (4-5) in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on Thursday. The Monks suffered a 3-2 setback in the opener and ended a five-game losing streak with a 7-6 triumph in 11 innings in the nightcap.
GAME ONE – St. Olaf 3, Saint Joseph's 2
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first game of the Monks' second southern swing was a classic pitcher's duel as neither team crossed the plate until the bottom of the fifth when junior Taylor Black (Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.) led off with a single and later scored on a Jameson Collins (Sandown, N.H.) base hit.
Leading 2-0 going into the top of the seventh, the Monks seemed to be set with Corey McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) on the bump, but the senior closer quickly found himself in a jam when back to back singles and a sac bunt resulted in runners on second and third with one out. McNamara fanned the next batter, but both runners would score when the following hitter, AJ Chappuis (Medford, Minn.), singled through the right side. After advancing to second on a passed ball, Chappuis scored the eventual game-winning run on a Nate Bauer (Kasson, Minn.) single to left-center.
With a chance to prolong the contest, the Monks went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh with three harmless fly outs.
PITCHER OF RECORD
McNamara fell to 1-2 on the season after allowing three runs (two earned) off four hits and a walk with four strikeouts in two innings of relief. Sophomore starter Josh Partridge (Deerfield, N.H.) did not figure into the decision after tossing five shutout innings while allowing two hits and three walks with five K's.
St. Olaf junior Kade Cronin (Medford, Minn.) improved to 2-0 on the year after yielding two runs off 12 hits and a free pass with six punch-outs in a complete-game effort.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S
- McCoomb was 2-3 with a run scored
- Betts went 2-2 and was hit by a pitch
- Murphy added two hits and an RBI in three at-bats
LEADERS – ST. OLAF
- Chappuis, the Oles' lone repeat hitter, was 1-3 with a run and a pair of RBI
Saint Joseph's 7, St. Olaf 6 (11 innings)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Oles struck first in the closing contest, as Tim Maus (Northfield, Minn.) reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a two-out triple off the bat of Adam Alexander (Lakeville, Minn.) in the bottom of the first inning.
In the top of the third, the Monks tied the game when freshman Jared Gagne (Dover, N.H.) singled to left – his first collegiate base hit – and scored three batters later when senior Taylor Reuillard (Biddeford, Maine) ripped a single to right field.
In the bottom of the fourth, St. Olaf freshman Sam Stuckmayer (Northfield, Minn.) launched a two-out, solo home run over the left field fence to lift the Oles to a 2-1 edge.
St. Joe's knotted the game once again by scoring a run without a hit in the top of the fifth, as Black led off the frame with a four-pitch walk, moved to third on an infield error, and sprinted home on a Reuillard sac fly to center field.
Saint Joseph's put up a crooked number in the top of the seventh, as the Monks plated three off four hits to secure a 5-2 cushion. Senior Nic Lops (South Portland, Maine/Cheverus) doubled in a run while Reuillard and Collins notched RBI singles to lift the Royal Blue to a three-run advantage.
But once again, the Monks would struggle to put the Oles away in the final frame, as St. Joe's employed three relievers while St. Olaf managed to tie the game with three runs off four hits and an SJC error in the bottom of the seventh.
With the game tied 5-5 and heading into extras, neither team mounted much of a scoring threat until the bottom of the ninth when freshman Joe Keiski (Minneapolis, Minn.) led off with a double to left-center. McNamara, who entered in relief during the seventh inning, bore down to fan the next two batters and induce a harmless fly out to negate the opportunity.
The stalemate remained until the top of the 11th, when the Monks scored twice on a pair of hits, all with two out, to claim a 7-5 lead. Lops sent Black, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, home with a double off the left field wall and later scored on a pinch-hit single by freshman Noah McDaniel (Eliot, Maine).
As it played out, the insurance run proved to be vital, as Keiski lifted a solo homer over the left-field wall with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, making it a one-run proposition, but McNamara closed the door by fanning the following batter.
PITCHER OF RECORD
In a rare occurrence, McNamara suffered a loss and picked up a win on the same day and improved to 2-2 after allowing one run off three hits with five K's in 4.2 innings of stellar relief. Freshman Grayson Jennings (Bedford, N.H.) was effective in his third NCAA start, allowing two runs off five hits with five strikeouts in five innings while sophomore Marc Poirier (Lunenburg, Mass.) gave up three runs (two earned) off three hits with two K's in 1.1 innings. Sophomore Travis Godbout (Portland, Maine) also appeared in relief and was lifted after issuing a walk in the seventh.
Freshman Jake Ossell (Eagan, Minn.) took the loss for the Oles after yielding two runs off two hits with two strikeouts in three innings of relief.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S
- Black went 3-4 with three runs and a double
- Reuillard was 2-5 with a run and three RBI
- Lops produced a pair of doubles with two runs and two RBI
- Gagne and freshman pinch-runner Tyler St. Pierre (Gray, Maine) both swiped bases in the victory
The Monks stranded a total of 20 baserunners (9/11) and outhit the Oles by a 25-17 margin in the two games combined.
Prior to today, Saint Joseph's and St. Olaf had never played each other in any sport. The SJC baseball program is now 2-1 all-time versus teams hailing from Minnesota.
Saint Joseph's faces off against #24 Wisconsin-Stevens Point tomorrow in a 9:00 AM start.
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.