EAST BOSTON – Brady Chant hit a game-tying single in the ninth and Blasé Cormier scored on an error in the 10th to give the top-seeded Suffolk baseball team a 6-5 victory over fourth-seeded Lasell under the lights at East Boston Memorial Park in the second round of the GNAC Tournament Thursday night.
SCORE: Suffolk 6, Lasell 5
RECORDS: Suffolk (22-16) | Lasell (10-20)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Multiple mistakes by Suffolk allowed Lasell to gain an early 4-0 lead. The Lasers got on the board with one run in the third before three errors by the Rams's second baseman allowed the visitors to put up three in the fifth to make it a four-run gap.
Suffolk looked to make up ground and did so in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Will Hopkins got the offense going with a double to left field and moved over on Seth Coiley's single to short. Greg Speliotis brought Hopkins in on a single through the left side and placed Coiley on second to set up Cormier's RBI single to right center. Speliotis moved up two bags on Cormier's base hit and cut the deficit to one on a sac fly by Tim Brigham.
Another error plagued Suffolk in the top of the eighth to put two runs between the Rams and Lasers.
The Rams did not take advantage of a pair of base runners on walks in the eighth and kept Lasell at bay in the top of the ninth to set-up the thriller. Pinch hitter Trevor Lee walked and was replaced on the bag by Zach Grogan, who was pushed over thanks to Nik San Antonio's single. The Rams' both moved over on a passed ball and a 63 ground out by Rich Gilbride made it a one-run game once again. Suffolk's lead-off hitter Chant faced one out and a 2-and-2 count before he knocked a base hit to center field to bring the go-ahead run. With a chance to walk-off in regulation, Hopkins flew out and Chant stole second before Coiley drew a base on balls. Designated hitter Speliotis worked a long at bat, but was sat down swinging to send the playoff contest into extras.
Jake Flax retired the side with a pair of strikeouts in the 10th to keep it a tied ball game. Lasell's shortstop Sean Doris moved to the hill to take over and walked his first batter faced, Cormier. Brigham laid down a base to the third base side to advance Cormier to second before Shane Lake and San Antonio each walked to fill the bags. Justin Webb came out of the pen to take over for Doris, but the game would be decided in the next batter. Gilbride sent a one hopper to third base where Andre Marchesseault was there for Lasell, but an over throw to Rob Cutone at the plate let Cormier slide successfully home for the winning run.
- Flax earned his first win of the season after throwing 2.2 innings of scoreless relief with one hit and three strikeouts.
- Kevin Sinatra worked the first 7.1 frames on the hill for Suffolk, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
- Doris recorded the setback after giving up the winning run on three walks.
- Zach Handzel started things off for the Lasers and limited the Rams to three runs on six hits and sat down three batters over 5.1 innings.
- San Antonio was the only Rams to registered multiple hits with the rookie tallying two to go with one run scored.
- Speliotis and Cormier both had one hit, one RBI and one run scored.
- Chant and Gilbride each notched one hit and one RBI.
- Hopkins and Coiley had one hit and one run to their credit apiece.
- The Rams needed extra time to decide a winner for the fourth time this season. Suffolk is 3-1 in extra-inning affairs in 2018.
- For the first time since the 2016 championships, Suffolk went into extra-innings in the GNAC Tournament. Suffolk has never lost a GNAC post-season game that needed extra time to finish, improving to 4-0 after tonight's walk-off win.
- Out of the quarterfinals, Suffolk advances into the winner's bracket GNAC Semifinals for the seventh consecutive season and 12th-time overall.
- Suffolk improved to 12-2 in the GNAC Tournament under Anthony Del Prete.
- The Rams are now 48-21 all-time in the GNAC Post-Season.
- Suffolk won its ninth consecutive contest versus Lasell to move to 25-1 all-time versus the Lasers.
- Flax's win is the RHP's first since a 7-4 win over Saint Joseph's (Maine) April 18, 2015.
- San Antonio matched a career-high two hits.
With the win, Suffolk will face third-seeded Johnson & Wales, who upset second-seed Saint Joseph's (Maine), 9-5, earlier tonight, in the GNAC Semifinals Saturday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. The Monks and Lasers will meet in the elimination game at 10:00 a.m.