SALEM, Mass. – Trailing 5-3 heading into the top of the ninth, the Suffolk baseball team turned in four runs thanks to a double from Kevin Higgins and a two RBI triple off Brady Chant's bat to secure a comeback win at Salem State Wednesday afternoon.
SCORE: Suffolk 7, Salem State 5
RECORDS: Suffolk (5-6) | Salem State (8-7)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Salem State got on the board early and often in the top of the first to put Suffolk in a 3-0 hole. To lead off the second, the Rams took advantage of three straight walks to load the bases, before Kevin Belskie drew the fourth base on balls to put the blue-and-gold on the scoreboard. With the Vikings bringing in fresh arm JP Reiling from the bull pen the Rams grabbed their fifth consecutive walk during Curtis Tirone's at bat to make it a one-run game. Higgins grounded into a double play, but brought Luke Ronchi in in the process to equalize the ball game at 3-all.
The score stood at a standstill as the pitchers took over the game. Salem State broke open things again in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a passed ball and a deep triple from Alex Toomey to give the hosts a 5-3 lead after six complete frames.
With three innings to make the comeback, the Vikings limited the Rams to just one walk through the seventh and eighth, respectively. With its backs against the wall in the top of the ninth Suffolk put on the pressure with Belskie sending a shot through the gap for the Rams' second hit of the day before Tirone drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Salem State made yet another change on the mound as Andrew McLaughlin came out of the pen.
The fresh arm was no match for the blue-and-gold as back-to-back extra base hits put Suffolk in front for the first time on the afternoon. Higgins' floating double to left center plated BJ Neil, who took Belskie's place on the bags, to trim the deficit to one, before Chant followed with his heroics, a two RBI triple right center to make it a 6-5 game.
Behind relief arm Chuck Gibson Suffolk took care of business, retiring the Vikings in order, including a strikeout looking, to secure the non-conference victory.
- Ryan Pordes went 7.0 innings on the hill for the Rams with the junior seeing 32 batters, striking out one, letting up five runs on 10 hits and one walk.
- Gibson picked up the win, moving to 2-0 on the hill this season, with the senior throwing 2.0 innings of scoreless ball and fanning two batters.
- Joshua Bell earned the nod on the hill for the Vikings and walked five of the seven batters faced in 1.0 innings of work before retiring to the dugout. The right-handed rookie gave up three earned runs all in the second inning.
- Reiling shoved 5.1 innings, relieving Bell on the mound in the top of the second. He limited the Rams to just one hit during hits 20 batters faced with the tally coming in the top of the seventh.
- Richie Sharp worked 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, walking one Ram and striking out two, before Tim Woods came in to close in the top of the ninth. Woods was quickly worked by the Rams, facing just three hitters, before McLaughlin took things over.
- McLaughlin was handed the loss in just 0.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, with one walk and one K.
- Suffolk was limited to just five walks on the day, three of which came in the top of the ninth.
- The five hits came off all different bats with Chant, Sean Cameron, Belskie, Tirone and Higgins each recording one hit apiece.
- Chant and Higgins contributed two RBI apiece with Belskie, Cameron and Tirone all providing one.
- Seven different Rams scored the runs for the blue-and-gold with Matt Brenner, Chant, Greg Speliotis, Ronchi, Neil, Tirone and Higgins all coming home for one score apiece.
- Suffolk won the annual meeting with Salem State for the first time in the Anthony Del Prete era and first time since defeating the Rams by an identical 7-5 score in the Northshore March 28, 2014.
- Chant's game-winning triple puts the junior second-all time in Suffolk's annals with 19 in his collegiate career behind leader Chris Stanley, who knocked 26 triples from 2010-13.
Suffolk heads to Bridgewater State tomorrow for its final prep before GNAC play gets underway Saturday, April 1 at East Boston Memorial Park versus Albertus Magnus.