Photo courtesy of Blue Egg Images
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Saint Joseph's College (9-0) defeated Illinois-Wesleyan (4-2), 9-7, RussMatt Central Florida Invitational action on Sunday morning. With the victory, the Monks return home from the spring trip with an unblemished record for the first time since 2007 when the team went 7-0 at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
The 9-0 start is the best by an SJC baseball team since the Monks opened the 2007 campaign with 12 consecutive triumphs.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Trailing 7-5 after five frames, the Monks managed to tie the game with two runs off two hits – all with two out – in the top of the sixth. Sophomore shortstop Luke Johnson (East Hampton, Conn.) started the rally with a single up the middle and sprinted home when the following batter, sophomore center fielder Hunter Richardson (Monmouth, Maine), tripled to left-center. Senior right fielder Jared Gagne (Dover, N.H.) knocked in Richardson with a single to right field, tying the game at 7-7.
Saint Joseph's grabbed the lead in the top of the eighth, when freshman third baseman Ronan Chisholm (North Chatham, Mass.) led off with a single to center, moved to second on a Johnson sac bunt, and scored on a Richardson base hit. Gagne came up clutch with two out again with a perfectly executed bunt an run play, scoring Richardson to extend the SJC advantage to 9-7.
ON THE MOUND:
Sophomore starter Zach Begin (Georgetown, Mass.) did not factor into the decision after allowing six runs off eight hits and three walks while fanning six batters over six innings. Sophomore Kristian Harris (Salem, N.H.) and freshman Nick Iannuzzi (Peabody, Mass.) worked through the fifth inning before junior Weston Bergeron (Lyman, Maine) and sophomore Jonathan Marchia (Chicopee, Mass.) – who earned his second win of the year - combined to throw four no-hit innings in relief while fanning four batters and walking a pair.
Illinois-Wesleyan employed six pitchers in the setback, as sophomore starter Eric Bennes (Palatine, Ill.) allowed four runs off four hits over two innings, sophomore Cooper Kraft (Morton, Ill.) allowed a run in 0.1 inning of relief, sophomore Brady Hough (Germantown Hills, Ill.) worked around three hits over 2.2 scoreless frames, and sophomore Dan Trudeau (Mokena, Ill.) gave up two runs off four hits in two innings of work. Sophomore Dan Cerniglia (Park Ridge, Ill.) suffered the loss after allowing a run off a hit in 0.1 inning of relief and junior Casey Becker (Carol Stream, Ill.) closed out the game by yielding a run off three hits in 1.2 innings.
OFF THE BAT:
- Gagne went 4-5 with a run, a triple, a stolen base, and three RBI
- Richardson was 3-5 with three runs, a pair of triples, and three RBI
- Johnson added two hits, two runs, and a double in four at bats
- Senior first baseman Noah McDaniel (Eliot, Maine) was 2-5 with a double and an RBI
- Illinois-Wesleyan junior first baseman Dalton Fletcher (Athens, Ill.) paced the Titans' offense by going 3-5 with a run, a double, and two RBI
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.
Saint Joseph's is now 1-1 all time versus Illinois-Wesleyan – a team that defeated the Monks by an 8-6 score on March 11th, 2017.
- The Monks hit .343 (104-303) and outscored their opponents by an aggregate 88-33 margin in the nine games combined
- Gagne hit an even .500 (17-34) with 15 runs, a triple, 12 stolen bases, and seven RBI in nine games
- Richardson enjoyed an outstanding trip, hitting .464 (13-28) with 15 runs, three triples, a home run, four steals, and seven RBI; he currently leads the Monks in slugging (.786) and OBP (.545)
- Bergeron and Marchia have successfully solidified the back end of the bullpen thus far, as the duo has combined to strike out 21 batters with just four hits and five walks over 12.2 innings
- The Monks stole 40 bases this week and were caught stealing just four times
Saint Joseph's returns to action Tuesday with a single nine-inning game at Endicott College at 3:30 PM.