SALEM, Mass. – Playing in New England in the season opener for the first time in the 69-year program history, the Suffolk baseball team was just two runs shy from capturing the victory as Salem State defeated the Rams, 6-5, Tuesday afternoon.
Kyle Turner picked up the starting nod on Tuesday, going 4.2 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits, while striking out eight and yielding no walks. The eight Ks are a career high for the senior from Nashua, New Hampshire, and the most strikeouts by a hurler in blue-and-gold since Josh Desai '15 threw nine in a 1-0 setback in the New England Regional to Williams May 2, 2015. Ryan Pordes went the remaining 2.1 innings and limited the Vikings to three hits to keep the Rams in the game.
At the plate, six different Rams connected for hits, totaling seven on the day, led by Rob Marks' eventful afternoon (1-for-3, 1R, 1RBI). Sean Cameron (2-for-3, 2R), Seth Coiley (1-for-3, 2 RBI), Matt Brenner (1 RBI) and Jake Frasca (1R, 1 RBI) added to the cause.
For Salem (1-1), five different batters grabbed at least a base hit, led by Mike Davis' (2-for-4, 2R, 1RBI). Leading off, Mac Daniel Singleton scored two runs with designated hitter Joe White brining in a team-high two scores.
Sean Buckland earned the win in relief. The senior from Lynn, Massachusetts pitched the final 3.2 innings for the Vikings, striking out four hitters and allowing two runs (one unearned). Mike Richardson earned the starting nod, going 4.1 innings with two strikeouts four hits and three runs against.
After three quick outs for Suffolk to get things going, Salem wasted no time putting marks on the scoreboard. Singleton reached first after getting hit by a pitch and Mike Davis single advanced the junior to second. Pre-season All-American second baseman Richard Fecteau put Daniel Singleton in scoring position with a sacrifice file, before White singled to bring both Davis and Singleton home and make it a 2-0 game in favor of the hosts.
The two clubs went back-and-forth over the next three innings, each finding their stride. Down 2-0, Suffolk broke its silence in the top of the fifth not only getting on the scoreboard, but capturing a 4-2 lead with four runs. Drew Carter and Marks hit back-to-back doubles in opposite outfields to bring in Ronchi and Frasca. Now with the score tied and only one out, Marks and Cameron crossed the plate to put Suffolk in front, 4-2.
Salem did not take long to answer with the Vikings producing three fifth-innings run to take a 5-4 advantage. Suffolk then evened the ledger in the seventh off a Coiley single to make things interesting.
In the bottom of the seventh, however, the Dan Connors drove in the winning run for the Vikings to make it 6-5.
Suffolk had a chance to go ahead in the top of the eighth, but it was too little too late for the Rams, which fell 6-5 at Salem's Central Campus Baseball Field.
Suffolk heads to the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational for its Spring Training trip where the Rams will face 10 opponents over nine days. The action for the Rams is scheduled to begin Friday, March 11 versus Montclair State.