EAST BOSTON – The Suffolk baseball team put on a show in front of its home crowd for the last time during the regular season at East Boston Memorial Park in its 69th season as the Rams handled Johnson & Wales, 9-1, in the opener, before putting together a thrilling comeback 5-1 victory under the lines in the nightcap.
The Rams (24-9, 8-2 GNAC0 got the scoring started early, beginning in the bottom of the second inning when junior Matthew Brenner hit a sacrifice fly to right field and knocked in Jake Frasca. Sean Cameron followed that with an RBI single to center in the next at bat, sending home Drew Carter, who reached on a single through the left side.
Suffolk continued its offense output in the bottom of the third as Kevin Belskie cleared the bases with a three RBI double to score Frasca, Jon Lapolla and Rob Marks, and put the Rams up 5-0. Marks led off the inning with a single to right, stole second during Lapolla's at bat and moved to third on his classmates' single to the pitcher. Frasca was placed on second to load the bases after wearing Jake Marchesseault's throw for the second time of the day.
The Wildcats' (18-12, 5-5 GNAC) lone run of the game came in the fifth when Ryan Cabral hit an RBI single to center field, sending home Rob Ballinger.
Suffolk answered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the inning with another run from Lapolla on a Belskie sacrifice fly. The Rams went on to put the game out of reach with its second three-run inning of the conference contest in the sixth. Sophomore Brady Chant singled through the left side to score Cameron, who led off with a double to left. Two batters latter, Lapolla notched a two-RBI single, sending home Marks, who singled, and Chant to make it 9-1.
Worth Walrod secured his fifth win of the season in the top of the season as the sophomore fanned three batters, all looking for all three outs and seal the 9-1 triumph. The leftie pitcher allowed one run on six hits and struck out nine to improve to 5-1 overall.
The closer proved to be a pitchers duel as the first two innings were quick, including three-up, three-down on both sides in the first. JWU found a way on the scoreboard in the third. With two outs, singles from Lou Umberto and Cabaral set up Carlos Sanabria who sent a single of his own to right and brought in Umberto to put the Wildcats' out in front 1-0.
Johnson & Wales kept the Rams' quiet over the next two innings allowing the hosts to notch only two hits. Suffolk would not stay quiet for long, however, as Marks leveled the playing field for the blue-and-gold. With two quick outs in a 1-0 hole, Cameron singled to right and Chant drew walk to put two runners on the bases. The junior and sophomore stole third and second, respectively, and Marks registered a RBI single to center to deadlock the game at 1-all.
The real story of Game 2 was written in the bottom of the sixth. Frasca shot a double down the left line to start things off and Carter pushed him over with a single to right. The Wildcats' made a change on the nound with Brandon Budlong taking things over, but the new arm was no match for Luke Ronchi, who scored Frasca on a RBI single to right. Cameron drew a walk to load the bases, after Brenner reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a passed ball. From there, Budlong walked three Rams' batters - Chant, Seth Coiley and Lapolla - and three runs - Carter, Brenner and Cameron - to give Suffolk a 5-1 advantage. After JWU's second pitching change of the inning and game, Nick Cesino struck out Frasca to end the inning.
Suffolk made sure the game would end in its favor in the top of the seventh as Kyle Turner punched out two and Marks made a running catch to keep it a 5-1 final.
Turner (3-2) earned his third win of the season in a complete game, eight-hit, one-run effort with the senior striking out six and walking two.
The Rams will close out their regular season schedule with seven road games. First up is a trip to Anna Maria tomorrow for games at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.