STANDISH, Maine – The top-seeded Suffolk baseball team rallied a comeback with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, while Ryan Pordes shoved on the hill to hold off No. 3 Johnson & Wales, 7-6, in the GNAC semifinals Saturday afternoon at Larry Mahoney Diamond.
SCORE: Suffolk 7, Johnson & Wales 6
RECORDS: Suffolk (23-16) | Johnson & Wales (24-17)
HOW IT HAPPENED
A three-RBI shot from Johnson & Wales' Aidan Hagerty in the second cracked open the scoring and put the Rams in a hole where they stayed until the home half of the fifth. Rich Gilbride drew a walk to lead off the stanza before Brady Chant barreled a bomb out of the park to trim the margin to one. Suffolk's bats stayed hot as Seth Coiley and Greg Speliotis knocked back-to-back base hits before Will Hopkins sent the ball through the left side gap to score Coiley. Speliotis advanced to third on the freshman left fielder's hit and scored the go-ahead run on a sac fly from Blasé Cormier.
The Wildcats made up ground and regained a 5-4 edge in the top of the sixth before Suffolk came back in the eighth. Cormier started things off with a double to right center, moved to third on a sac bunt by Tim Brigham and scored the tying-run onGilbride's single to short. Gilbride put the Rams on top with a heads up baserunning play when JWU's second baseman Ramiel Rodriguez boxed the ball after making a diving stop on a Chant single.
Pordes picked up the first two outs on the top of the ninth before Jake Flax secured the final down of the game to be sure to send Suffolk back to the ship for the 12th consecutive campaign.
- Pordes improved to 5-2 on the season after allowing six runs on 10 hits and seven walks, while sitting down 11 over 8.2 innings.
- Flax earned the save, his third of the year, after sitting down the only batter he faced in the home half of the ninth.
- JWU's starter James Smiegocki yielded four runs off 10 hits, while striking out five and walking one in 6.1 innings.
- Josh Mousseau was hit with the hard-luck loss after allowing three runs (one earned) off three hits with three Ks in 1.2 innings.
- Chant went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer with two RBI and one run.
- Speliotis recorded a 2-for-4 effort with one run.
- Trevor Lee (2-5) and Hopkins (2-4) each had two-hit outings with one RBI apiece.
- Brigham tallied two hits and one sac fly.
- Suffolk advances to its 12th consecutive conference championship contest.
- In 19 tournament trips, Suffolk has reached the conference championship game 15 times.
- Under Anthony Del Prete, Suffolk has not missed a title game.
- The Rams improved to 49-21 all-time in the GNAC Tourney and 13-2 under Del Prete's guidance.
- Suffolk and JWU met for the 19th time in the GNAC postseason. The Rams improved to 13-4 versus the Wildcats in the tournament and 38-17 all-time against Johnson & Wales.
- Pordes set a career-high numbers of strikeouts in the top of the fifth before ending the game with 11 punchouts.
- Chant went yard for the sixth time this season.
Suffolk awaits the results of the do-or-die game against #2 Saint Joseph's (Maine) and #3 Johnson & Wales to find out its opponent for the championship tomorrow.