Suffolk vs. Johnson & Wales
BOSTON – The second-seeded Suffolk baseball continues its chase for the 2017 GNAC crown this weekend as the Rams are set for a Saturday, May 6 showdown versus the tournament's fourth seed Johnson & Wales at Fraser Field in Lynn, Massachusetts, at 4 p.m. The winner advances to the championship contest, with the loser headed to the elimination game.
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First Round – Tuesday, May 2 (Single Elimination)
GAME 1: #3 Lasell defeated #6 Albertus Magnus, 18-12
GAME 2: #4 JWU defeated #5 Norwich, 7-6
Second Round – Thursday, May 4 (Double-Elimination Begins)
GAME 3: #2 Suffolk defeated #3 Lasell, 15-8
GAME 4: #4 JWU defeated #1 St. Joseph's (Maine), 6-3
Semifinals – Saturday, May 6 (Hosted by Rivier at Fraser Field, Lynn)
GAME 5: #3 Lasell vs. #1 St. Joseph's (Maine) (Elimination Game) – 1 PM
GAME 6: #4 JWU vs. #2 Suffolk – 4 PM
Game 7: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser (Elimination Game) – 7 PM
Championship – Sunday, May 7 (Hosted by Rivier at TBD)
GAME 8: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner – 1 PM
GAME 9: if necessary – 4 PM
Suffolk secured a spot in the winner's bracket with a 15-8 victory over #3 Lasell Thursday night.
Eight of the Rams' nine everyday starters are hitting over. 300 anchored by Suffolk's upperclassmen. Luke Ronchi's .352 average leads the way with the senior right fielder producing 43 hits, 29 RBI and 33 runs scored. Matt Brenner, who sits among the top three in every statistically category, is second on the squad hitting .344, and hits (43), paves the path with 32 RBI and second the third most runs (32). Brady Chant is a threat in nearly every offensive category as the junior centerfielder owns 52 hits, 31 RBI and 40 runs scored with a slash line of .333/.398/.609.
Suffolk's staff is propelled by the arms of Mark Fusco, Chuck Gibson and Ryan Pordes. Fusco's 1.24 ERA leads the way as the junior right-handed pitcher owns a 3-3 record in seven appearances, five starts with 29.0 innings of work and 19 Ks. Gibson joins Fusco with a sub 2.00 ERA, coming in at 1.97 through a 45.2 frames and has fanned 30 hitters. Pordes, who has seen the most action on the hill for the Rams, 61.0 innings, rounds out the trio with a 3.98 ERA and 46 strikeouts.
LAST TIME OUT
The second-seed Suffolk baseball team handled the third-seed Lasers of Lasell, 15-8, Thursday night at East Boston Memorial Park in the second round of the 2017 GNAC Tournament.
SUFFOLK IN THE GNAC TOURNEY
The Rams will be making their 18th straight appearance in the GNAC Tournament since joining the conference in 2000. Suffolk has escaped the do-or-die each of the six times it has to play in the tournament's first round and reached the championship series on 14 occasions, including the past 10 seasons, capturing the title six times. Overall, the Rams are 45-21 in GNAC post-season play and advance to the winner's bracket for the third straight season. Suffolk has won three of its six conference crowns as the tournament's second seed.
Johnson & Wales, the field's fourth seed, has already had a historic run in the post-season with a walk-off walk against Norwich sending the Wildcats to Thursday's second round where the Wildcats surprised #16/18 and the tournament's top seed St. Joseph's (Maine), 6-3, to advance to the winner's bracket.
The trio of Dave Matthews, Rob Ballinger, and Lou Umberto are the Wildcats' threats at the plate. Matthews leads the way in average (.388), slugging percentage (.547), hits (54) and RBI (37) to go with 34 runs scored. Ballinger's 45 runs pace the pack as the junior outfielder hits .379 with 50 hits and 20 RBI to his credit. Umberto's .350 average on 49 hits with 29 runs scored and 22 RBI rounds out the threesome.
James Smiegocki and Rich Marshall are the top two arms for JWU. Smiegocki clocks in at a 2.15 ERA thorugh 54.1 innings featuring 35 strikeouts. Marshall serves as the Wildcats closer. The junior sports an ERA of 2.57 in 10 appearances with 12 Ks.
The Suffolk baseball team rallied in game two versus Johnson & Wales, defeating the Wildcats, 6-3, at Scotts Miracle-Gro Complex Saturday afternoon to secure a GNAC series split.
NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES
Brady Chant added more accolades to his growing resume as the junior won this week's national poll conducted by Herosports.com as the Offensive HERO of the Week in Division III baseball.
Brady Chant rewrote the Rams' record books on Patriots Day as the junior knocked his 10th triple of the season bringing his career total to 20 to sit atop Suffolk's single-season all-time triple marks.
MORE READING: Chant Sets Suffolk's Triple Record
The winner of Saturday's game advances to the championship contest Sunday, May 7 with the loser heading to the elimination bracket and a 7 p.m. first-pitch against the victor of #1 St. Joseph's (Maine)/#3 Lasell.