HARWICH, Mass. – Sixth-seeded Suffolk baseball outlasted second-seed, #25 Arcadia in a classic pitchers dual. Ryan Pordes and the Knights' Jake Lloyd matched zeros for 9.0 full frames before the Rams walked-off in the 11th inning against a drawn in five-man infield to advance in the NCAA New England Regionals in a contest that opened on Friday and ended in the early hours of Saturday.
SCORE: Suffolk 1, #25 Arcadia 0
RECORDS: Suffolk (28-15) | #25/RV Arcadia (34-11)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The game hinged on the mound as just three base runners on both sides reached through the first five frames. Each side stranded one in the sixth and the Knights left one on the in the seventh before things got interesting in the eighth.
Luke Hohenstein led off with a single for Arcadia and moved over thanks to a sac by Nick Pontete. Drew Coisson's ground out moved Hohenstein to third before Ryan Pordes hit Bryan Gillen with a pitch. Suffolk's junior righty walked Justin Chasmar to loaded the bases. Pordes showed his composure, however, as the Hawthorne, California, native got through a full-count, two-out, runner on third situation as he sat down Jordan Draude swinging to get Suffolk out of the jam.
In Suffolk's half of the eighth, the Rams loaded the bags. Kevin Belskie led off with a single up the middle and BJ Neil followed with a bunt to put runners on first and second. The Knights made the play at third as Kevin Higgins reached on a fielder's choice and two batters later Sean Cameron singled to second to fill the bags. A 13 ground out by Seth Coiley ended the Rams' chances to send the game into the ninth scoreless.
Phil Pierfy doubled to center to give Arcadia hope, but Pordes and the Rams' defense kept the Knights quiet. Suffolk threatened in the ninth, but failed to push a run across to send the contest into extra innings.
Mark Fusco took over the hill for Pordes in the top of the 10th. With one out, Drew Coisson reached on a Rams' error and Bryan Gillen walked, but the Rams turned a 6-4-3 double play to keep zeros on the board.
In the home half of the 10th Arcadia made a change on the bump as Jake Lloyd came in and Neil drew a base on balls to start things off. Two batters later Brady Chant was intentionally walked, but Sean Cameron and Seth Coiley both flew out to right to end the inning.
In the 11th, Jordan Draude singled to start things off and was moved over thanks to a sac by Nick Cardace and a 4-3 ground out by PIerfy. With a runner in scoring position and a 3-2 count, Fusco held the Knights scoreless as the junior struck out Sean Carew looking.
Matt Brenner's single through the left side open the rally in the bottom of the 11th. Pinch hitter Curtis Tirone reached on a fielding error by Knights' shortstop Justin Chasmar. Back-to-back fielder's choices put all the ducks in the pond and set up the walk-off with just one out. Neil was at the dish and sent a two hopper to second base, where Arcadia's right fielder was brought in, Bryan Gillen bobbled it allowing the winning run to come in and send Suffolk into the winner's championship Sunday.
- Suffolk's seven hits were scattered across seven different bats with Chant, Cameron, Coiley, Brenner, Speliotis, Belskie and Neil all recording one apiece.
- Tirone scored the lone run for the Rams.
- Pordes held the Knights scoreless through 9.0 innings, allowing just four hits, two walks and striking out three.
- Fusco picked up the win as the junior kept Arcadia without a run giving up just one run, one walk to go along with one K through 2.0 frames.
- Lloyd dealt 9.0 scoreless frames letting up six hits one walk and fanning eight hitters.
- Connor Laigaie suffered the setback, giving up the lone run of the night in 1.1 frames on one hit and two walks.
- Suffolk won its second NCAA tournament game, matching a program-best number of wins in the Big Dance, two, that the Rams' 2000 squad set in the blue-and-gold's first trip to the regionals.
- The Rams advance to the regional's winners bracket and secure their spot in Sunday's schedule for the first time in program history.
- The extra-inning regional game is the third-time in Suffolk history the Rams played in extras in the NCAA Tournament and the first since a 3-2 win in 10 over Worcester State in 2005. Suffolk has won all three of the extra sessions.
- Suffolk took down its sixth ranked opponent of 2017 and sixth-ever under Anthony Del Prete's guidance.
- Suffolk played in its fifth extra inning game of the season.
- The Rams moved to 3-2 in extra innings games on the year.
- The victory marks the Rams' fifth walk-off win of the season.
- Suffolk has played in its 15th one-run game of the season. The blue-and-gold have come out on the winning side of the thrillers 11 times, five in walk-off fashion and three times in extra frames.
- In its first-ever meeting with Arcadia, Suffolk added to the Knights to its unbeaten list as the Rams are now undefeated all-time versus 45 of their 165 opponents.
It'll be the battle of Beantown as Suffolk will face #17/19 UMass Boston in the winner's bracket at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, May 20 with the victor automatically headed to the regional finals Sunday, May 21 at 4:00 p.m.