BOSTON – Suffolk baseball is set for the final winner's bracket showdown of the 2017 NCAA New England Regional after the Rams 1-0 walk-off over Arcadia in the 11th inning Saturday morning to advance. Suffolk will face its Beantown rival, #17/19 UMass Boston at 4:30 p.m. with the winner punching its ticket into the regional final.
The Beacons, the region's top seed earned their way into Saturday's showdown with a 4-0 triumph over fifth-seeded Babson Friday night.
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NCAA NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL SCHEDULE
THURSDAY, MAY 18
GAME 1: #5 Babson defeated #4 Salve Regina, 14-3 Video
GAME 2: #1 UMass Boston defeated #8 Penn State Berks, 9-8 (10) Video
GAME 3: #6 Suffolk defeated #3 St. John Fisher, 4-0 Video
GAME 4: #2 Arcadia defeated #7 Worcester State, 4-3 (12) Video
FRIDAY, MAY 19
GAME 5: #4 Salve Regina defeated #8 Penn State Berks, 12-4 Video
GAME 6: #3 St. John Fisher defeated #7 Worcester State, 14-7 Video
GAME 7: #1 UMass Boston defeated #5 Babson, 4-0 Video
GAME 8: #6 Suffolk defeated #2 Arcadia, 1-0 (11) Video
SATURDAY, MAY 20
GAME 9: #5 Babson defeated #3 St. John Fisher, 12-8 Video
GAME 10: #4 Salve Regina defeated #2 Arcadia, 5-0 Video
GAME 11: #1 UMass Boston vs. #6 Suffolk - 4:30 p.m. - Live Stats - Live Video
GAME 12: #4 Salve Regina vs. #5 Babson - 8:00 p.m. - Live Stats - Live Video
SUNDAY, MAY 21
GAME 13: Winner Game #12 vs. Loser Game #11 - 12:00 p.m.
GAME 14: Winner game #11 vs. Winner Game #13 - 4:00 p.m.
MONDAY, MAY 22 - IF NECESSARY
GAME 15: Winner Game #14 vs. Loser Game #14 - 11:00 a.m.
|-/RV BABSON (26-14)
|#17/19 UMASS BOSTON (35-10)
|PENN STATE BERKS(20-21)
|#22/18 ST. JOHN FISHER (32-10)
|#20/22 SALVE REGINA (35-11)
|WORCESTER STATE (20-22)
For the first time in its seven trips, Suffolk found its way into the winner's bracket with its 4-0 shutout over third-seed, #22/18 St. John Fisher Thursday. The Rams one-upped that win, which marked multiples firsts for the blue-and-gold – first NCAA Tournament win under three-year head coach Anthony Del Prete, the first Suffolk NCAA win since 2005 and the first-ever Suffolk shutout in the Big Dance – with a 1-0, 11-inning walk-off win over #25/RV Arcadia to reach the final winner's bracket contest. The thriller versus the Knights added more first to the Rams' growing list as Suffolk advances to the winner's bracket final game for the first-time in program history after playing its third-ever extra-inning game at the tournament.
Suffolk looks to secure its spot in the regional final with its third straight tournament win Saturday, which would mark the first time in program history Suffolk has collected three wins at the Big Dance.
The Rams upperclassmen buoy Suffolk's offense, which sees six everyday starters produce averages over .300. Brady Chant is the most potent threat at the plate with the junior leading the way in just about every offensive category. The centerfielder hits .370, slugs .636 with 68 hits, 29 of which went for extra bases, to drive in 35 runs. Chant has scored 46 times and sniped 17 bags. Matt Brenner has brought in a team–high 36 runs thanks to a .336 average for 51 hits and 37 runs scored. Kevin Belskie is second on the squad, hitting .343 for 36 RBI on 48 hits to go along with 25 runs
On the hill, Suffolk is propelled by the quartet of arms in Mark Fusco, Chuck Gibson, Ryan Pordes and Worth Walrod. Fusco's 1.30 ERA leads the way as the junior right–handed pitcher owns a 4–4 record in 10 appearances, three starts, with 34.2 innings of work and 23 Ks. Gibson also comes in sub-2.00 at 1.77. The senior has shoved a team-high 71.1 frames, fanning 51 hitters for an 8-1 record in 12 appearances and nine starts. Pordes has worked 76.0 innings on the bump for a 3.20 ERA and 54 strikeouts. Walrod rounds out the foursome with an ERA of 3.77 in 43.0 frames sitting down 34 batters.
Suffolk has put together 20 straight shutout innings at the NCAA New England regional behind a trio of arms – Chuck Gibson, Ryan Pordes and Mark Fusco. The Rams are three shy of the NCAA Division III record of 23 straight innings set by Chapman in 2000.
The New England regional features familiar faces for the Rams as Suffolk has taken the diamond against four of seven teams vying for the single ticket to the NCAA Championship in Appleton, Wisconsin. Against the foes, Suffolk is 3–2 with wins over St. John Fisher, Salve Regina and a split with UMass Boston. Worcester State is the lone team to own a winning record versus Suffolk's 2017 line–up.
RANK AND FILE
On the verge of its third consecutive and seventh overall NCAA Regional appearance, Suffolk made its way into the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) poll for the first time this season as the No. 8 team in New England.
|NEIBA COACHES POLL WEEK 8|
1. UMass Boston (5)
2. Salve Regina
3. Southern Maine
T8. St. Joseph's (Maine)
MORE READING: Baseball Emerges in NEIBA Coaches Poll
Suffolk has kept its fans on the edge of their seats this season as 15 of the Rams' contests have been decided by one–run. The blue–and–gold have come out on the winning side of the thrillers 11 times, five in walk–off fashion and in extra innings on three occasions.
Suffolk has gone into extra innings five times this season, once at the regionals to own a 3-2 record in extra session games. Under Anthony Del Prete's guidance, the Rams are 7–3 when playing in extra sessions.
LAST TIME OUT
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.
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
After securing the program's third consecutive GNAC Championship and earning the program's third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Suffolk baseball team has been rewarded with nine All-GNAC selections, including pitcher of the year honors for Chuck Gibson.
D3 TEAM OF THE WEEK
After a shutdown performance in Sunday's GNAC Championship 1-0 win over Johnson & Wales, senior righty Chuck Gibson was named to the D3Baseball.com Team of the Week.
The weekly accolade is the first of the GNAC Tournament MVP's storied career and marks the first time a Ram has been featured on the national weekly team since it began in 2012.
MORE READING: Gibson Named to D3Baseball.com Team of the Week
NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES
Brady Chant and Chuck Gibson added more accolades to their growing resumes as the junior and senior won their respectively weekly national polls conducted by HeroSports.com to be named HERO of the Week.
Chant picked up the nod after his three triple performance in a 30-2 win over Anna Maria April15, while Gibson grabbed the recognition thanks to his two–hit, eight–strikeout, complete–game shutout showing on the mound in the conference championship versus the Wildcats of JWU.
Matt Brenner was recognized for his efforts in the classroom as the senior was named to the CoSIDA Academic All–District team for the 2017 season. Brenner is one of 11 NCAA Division III players in the New England region honored for combined excellence academically and athletics with first–team District 1 recognition. The Finance and Global Business major is the fifth Ram to ever pick up the honor and the first since Jake Cintolo did so in 2014.
MORE READING: Brenner Named to CoSIDA Academic All-District Team
Since 1968, Suffolk has taken the field again 165 opponents. The Rams have not dropped a game to 45 of their all–time competition to hold an unbeaten record against 0.268 percent of their all–time foes. At the regionals, Suffolk kept its perfect record against St. John Fisher intact and added Arcadia to the list of opponents the Rams are undefeated against.
THAT'S A FIRST
Suffolk took the diamond against a pair of fresh competition this season and did met a new opponent at the NCAA New England Friday when it faced Arcadia.
ON THE BENCH
Anthony Del Prete was named the sixth head coach in Suffolk baseball history in 2015 and is in the midst of his third season as the Rams' head coach. In his three seasons as skipper, Del Prete has guided Suffolk to GNAC glory three times and three consecutive NCAA Division III Regional Tournament appearances.
UMass Boston secured its position as the regional's top seed with the Little East Conference crown and a 33-10 record. The Beacons have collected two wins, improving to 35-10, thanks to a walk-off win in the 10th over eight-seed Penn State Berks to open the regional and a 4-0 shutout over fifth-seeded Babson.
Kyle Boudrias leads the way at bat for the Beacons with a.401 average on a team-high 67 hits in 167 appearances with 35 RBI and 28 runs scored. Josh Lopez sits second on the squad in hitting, while Chris Fowler, who hits .376, leads the way with runs driven in with 46 on 62 hits to go along with 34 runs.
UMass has used six different arms in its pair of regional games this far including the Beacons' ace, Matt Tulley. Boston will most likely have Fernando Burgos, who appeared versus Penn State Berks in 2.1 frames, take the hill this afternoon. The right-handed sophomore boasts a 3.69 ERA through 46.1 innings with 39 strikeouts.
WE MEET AGAIN
Saturday's showdown will mark the third time Suffolk has seen UMass Boston on the diamond this season as the two teams split the previous two meetings. The Beacons took the first in walk-off fashion, 6-5, before the Rams took down its Boston rival, 3-1, in the second outing.
The winner heads into the championship Sunday, May 21 at 4 p.m., while the winner looks to stay alive in the do-or-die morning game.