STANDISH, Maine – Second-seeded Saint Joseph's College (30-9, 13-3 GNAC) outlasted #3 Johnson & Wales University (24-14, 12-4 GNAC), 4-3, in the second round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Baseball Tournament at Larry Mahaney Diamond on Thursday afternoon.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the winners' bracket of the conference tourney and will face the victor of the #1 Suffolk University / #4 Lasell College second-round contest – which is being played this evening – at 1:30 PM on Saturday at Fraser Field in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Johnson & Wales falls into the losers' bracket and will take on Suffolk or Lasell in an elimination game at Fraser Field Saturday at 10:00 AM.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Monks scored a single run in each of the first four innings and held a 4-0 lead heading into the top of the seventh, when senior first baseman Tim Lombardi (Providence, R.I.) roped a two-run single. Freshman pitcher George Welch (Derry, N.H.) came on in relief for the hosts and, with runners on first and second and one out, managed to get the final two outs on one play, as the first-year southpaw made a diving catch on a popped up bunt attempt by JWU sophomore shortstop Steve Rocchio (Cranston, R.I.) and threw to first for the inning-ending double play.
Johnson & Wales continued to chip away at the deficit with a run off three hits in the eighth, when freshman left fielder Alex Domingos (Ellington, Conn.) notched an RBI double, but Welch and sophomore Jonathan Marchia (Chicopee, Mass.) worked out of a jam by striking out a batter apiece to help the Monks maintain a 4-3 edge.
Marchia closed out the contest by striking out the side in the top of the ninth.
St. Joe's built the 4-0 cushion by having the leadoff hitter reach in each of the first five frames. Senior shortstop Joey Murphy (Derry, N.H.) led off the first with a single and scored on an Anthony DiPrizio (Rochester, N.H.) groundout. Junior second baseman Drew Healey (Rochester, N.H.) drew a leadoff walk in the second and raced home on a Noah McDaniel (Eliot, Maine) double to deep right-center. In the third, Murphy singled and scored on a McDaniel base hit and sophomore center fielder Hunter Richardson (Monmouth, Maine) singled and later touched home plate on a Jared Gagne (Dover, N.H.) base hit.
The Monks had several opportunities to pad their lead but stranded nine runners in the one-run victory.
ON THE MOUND:
- SJC senior starter Grayson Jennings (Mililani, Hawaii) improves to 4-1 after giving up two runs off six hits with three strikeouts in 6.1 innings
- Welch allowed a run off three hits with two K's in 1.1 innings
- Marchia picked up his sixth save of the year after tossing 1.1 no-hit frames with four punch-outs
- JWU senior starter Josh Mousseau (Woonsocket, R.I.) suffered the loss and falls to 4-3 on the season after yielding four runs off nine hits and four walks with seven K's in five innings
- Junior reliever Tom Doran (West Warwick, R.I.) was stellar with three strikeouts over three innings of one-hit work
OFF THE BAT:
- McDaniel was 2-4 with a double and two RBI
- Murphy went 2-5 with two runs and two stolen bases
- Freshman third baseman Ronan Chisholm (North Chatham, Mass.) added two hits and a double in four at-bats
- For JWU, junior catcher Colby Greenhalgh (Plainfield, Conn.) went 3-4 with a run and a stolen base
- Senior right fielder Aidan Hagarty (Weeds, Calif.) was 2-4 with a run, and Lombardi added a two-run single in four at-bats