The Suffolk University Baseball team (24-20 overall) opened the 2011 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Tournament with a 7-2 victory over the Wentworth Institute of Technology Leopards (24-16 overall) on Wednesday afternoon.
Freshman Jake Cintolo (Wrentham, Mass.) went 3-for-5 brining his single season hits record to 76 as the fifth-seeded Rams now advance to Saturday's semifinals matchup against top-seeded Endicott College. All nine players in the Rams lineup recorded a hit on the afternoon as Suffolk collected 11 hits as a team in the game. Sophomore Matt Sliney (Brockton, Mass.) pitched 8 2/3 innings before giving way to junior Tim Belanger (Raynham, Mass.), who escaped a bases loaded jam in the ninth to record his first save of the season.
Suffolk opened the scoring in their first at-bat as senior Mark Annese (Winchester, Mass.) hit a sacrifice fly to left scoring Cintolo for the game's first run.
The Rams would tack on five runs in the top of the third to push their lead to 6-0. After loading the bases with one out, junior Stephen Schultz (Salem, N.H.) hit a double over the third base bag to score a pair. Sophomore Chris Stanley (Orange County, Calif.) would follow him with a single to right to score another run and freshman Michael Muse (Milton, Mass.) laid down a safety squeeze after that to continue the Rams big inning. Senior Nick Travelyn (Bedford, N.H.) capped the inning off with a triple into the left center gap scoring Stanley. Travelyn's triple is his eighth of the 2011 season, which ties the all-time Suffolk single season mark.
The Rams would be held at bay through the next five innings until the ninth when freshman Devan Jones (Roslindale, Mass.) blasted his team leading seventh home run of the season into the bullpens in left field to give the Rams some insurance.
Sliney pitched himself in and out of trouble all afternoon escaping bases loaded jams in the second, third and fifth innings.
Annese got the Rams out of trouble in the second inning with a heads up snap throw to first base with two outs as the Leopards loaded the bases but took themselves out of the inning with poor baserunning. Sliney got himself out of danger in the third after back to back walks to start off the inning were followed with a single. The southpaw would then fan the next two hitters he faced before ending the threat with a flyball to right field to remain unscathed. More trouble eluded the Rams in the fifth as they saw the bases get clogged with Wentworth runners, but the Leopards once again could not capitalize as Michael Muse caught a foul ball pop up in front of the Suffolk dugout to get out of that jam.
Wentworth finally got a runner around the bases in the sixth as sophomore Ryan Delgado (Wareham, Mass.) singled up the middle to plate senior Mike Diodato (Asbury, N.J.), who led the inning off with a double making it 6-1.
The Leopards managed to make the game interesting in the ninth with a one out single by senior Brendan Duffy (Lynn, Mass.) was followed by three walks and infield hit which closed the book on Sliney. Belanger quickly escaped the jam leaving the game tying run on deck with a ground out to short to earn his first save of the season.
Sliney moves to 3-3 on the season for the Rams, with two of his wins coming in elimination games. Sliney was also the victor in Suffolk 7-2 win over Johnson & Wales in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament on April 30. Sliney made big pitches when he had to as he surrendered nine hits and gave nine walks, but only allowed two earned runs in the contest as the Leopards left 12 on base.
Suffolk will now travel to Beverly, MA to take on the Gulls in the ECAC Semifinals at 11:00am on Saturday.
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