PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Suffolk baseball built an early lead it never let go of to take down Johnson & Wales, 12-5, in game one of a two-game GNAC series at Scotts Miracle-Gro Athletic Complex Saturday afternoon.
SCORE: Suffolk 12 | Johnson & Wales 5
RECORDS: Suffolk (18-10-1, 11-0 GNAC) | Johnson & Wales (17-10, 7-2 GNAC)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Rich Gilbride drew a lead-off walk, stole second and moved to third thanks to Trevor Lee's base hit to left field. With runners in the corners and a 2-2 count, Blase Cormier barreled a double to center field. The extra-base hit easily scored Gilbride and Lee turned third and raced home, just beating the throw that needed a one-home to reach the Wildcats catcher just after Lee made it a 2-0 Suffolk score in the top of the first frame. JWU gained its composure and secured two outs, but the Rams did not stop the scoring there as a one-run single by Ben Isaak brought in Tim Brigham, who doubled, to give the visitors a three-run cushion after their first time at the dish.
Johnson & Wales went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning and the Rams' bats stayed hot in the second stanza to make it an eight-run ball game. Suffolk strung together five straight hit to open the inning and double its lead to 6-0. The Wildcats tried to quiet down the blue-and-gold by bringing lefty Dane DellaValle out of the pen, but the Rams kept added to their advantage with a one-run ground out from Brigham and Rich Giandrea recorded one RBI on base hit to right field to turn it into an 8-0 Suffolk game.
In the next inning, the Wildcats kept Suffolk off the board for the first time on the afternoon before mounting its comeback with one run to begin to chip away at the Rams' edge, 8-1.
Two innings later, the Rams stranded the bases loaded, while the Wildcats took advantage of their juiced bags in the bottom half of the inning. JWU sliced the distance in half, 8-4, as it sandwiched sac flies around a hit by pitch.
Suffolk would face its third arm of the day in the top of the sixth as Kevin Manning took over for Dellavalle. With one down, Hopkins drew a base-on-balls and Brigham pushed the centerfielder to third on a single to center. Giandrea brought Hopkins in on a sac fly before Brigham capitalized on a Wildcats' error during Isaak's at bat to stretch the margin to 10-4.
The trading of runs continued in the home half of the. After JWU grabbed one run, the Wildcats put all the ducks in the pond for the second straight inning. The blue-and-gold defense backed up Worth Walrod on the bump and escaped the Wildcats' threat with just the lone run allowed to maintain the five-run, 10-5, margin.
The Rams added insurance in the top of the seventh on a pair of sac flies. With runners on second and third Lee scored pinch runner Zack Aresty, who replaced Connor Troio on the bags after the designated hitter opened the inning with a single to center. A batter later, Cormier collected one RBI on a sac fly of his own to push the score to 12-5.
Parker Browne came out of the pen to take over for Walrod. The relief RHP retired the side to secure the victory for the Rams.
- Walrod picked up the victory to improve to 4-2 on the season. The senior LHP allowed five runs, four earned, on 10 hits and three walks with three punchouts over 6.0 innings.
- Browne shoved 1.0 innings of scoreless relief with one K on his stat line.
- JWU's starter Josh Mousseau suffered the setback after giving up eight runs on nine hits and two walks in just 1.0 inning of action.
- DellaValle served 4.0 frames of scoreless work. He let up just two hits and four walks with one strikeout.
- Manning and Matt Klarberg each throw 1.0 frame for the Wildcats. Manning gave up four runs, three earned, on three hits and one walk, while Klarberg had zeros on his stat line.
- Eight of the nine Rams who had an at bat on the day recorded at least one hit as Suffolk finished the day with 14 as a team.
- Troio put together a 3-for-4 plate performance, which included one double, to go along with one run scored.
- Gilbride and Brigham each went 2-for-3 at the dish. The former scored three times, walked twice, swiped two bags and brought in one run on a sac fly. The latter provided one RBI on a double and scored twice.
- Cormier registered four RBI on two hits, including one double, and one run.
- Lee rounded out the Rams with multiple hits with two to go with two runs scored and one RBI.
- Suffolk won its seventh straight game versus Johnson & Wales to improve to 39-17 all-time against the Wildcats.
- In the Anthony Del Prete era, the Rams move to 12-3 versus JWU.
- Suffolk moves to 11-0 against conference competition marking the first season since 2008 when the Rams put together a perfect (14-0) league ledger.
- Cormier recorded a career-high four RBI.
Suffolk and Johnson & Wales wrap up the double feature under the lights at Scotts Miracle-Gro Athletic Complex.