HARWICH, Mass. — Facing elimination, St. Joseph’s College took advantage of solid pitching by Lincoln Sanborn and a strong defense to eliminate Worcester State from the NCAA Division III New England Regional with a 4-2 victory Thursday.
The Monks (29-14) will meet Mitchell College of New London, Connecticut (24-13-1), in an elimination game at 9:30 a.m. Friday. If it wins, St. Joseph’s will face another elimination game at 8 p.m. Friday in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.
Sanborn, the winning pitcher, worked 72/3 innings before giving way to Corey McNamara in the eighth.
Sanborn struck out three and walked two.
St. Joseph’s broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the bottom of the third, helped by aggressive baserunning and Worcester State defensive problems.
Max McCoomb singled, then moved to third on a perfectly placed single by Louie Vigars on a hit-and-run. When the Monks went for a double steal, a throw by shortstop Dan Ruggiero went wild.
“That didn’t come off as exactly as it was designed but it worked. And so often that’s what kind of happens with that stuff,” said Monks Coach Will Sanborn. “We were trying to be aggressive on the bases, we had the right guys on the bases and for me that’s the type of ball club we are. All of those things in our toolboxes to score some runs.”
Vigars then scored on a Nic Lops single.
The Lancers (25-17) closed within 2-1 in the top of the seventh, but Taylor Black restored a two-run lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
The Monks’ defense came through when Worcester State threatened in the fourth and sixth.
In the fourth, with a runner on second and two outs, first baseman Brett Barbati snagged a vicious grounder by Jeff Bolio before tossing to Lincoln Sanborn covering first.
“We definitely pride ourselves on our defense,” said Barbati. “Whenever we play a clean game, we’re at our best. I try to lay out for everything and knock it down to make sure that runners don’t score.
In the sixth, Worcester State put runners on the corners with two outs, and again Barbati made a diving stop to end the inning.
“Brett had a couple of great plays out there in big situations today; I was lucky,” said Lincoln Sanborn.
“That’s why he’s in there. He gives us a real athletic guy,” said Coach Sanborn.
“It certainly paid off today. He plays hard over there and brings a certain edge to the game that we like, too. He brings a lot of energy.”
Sanborn (7-1) last pitched on May 4.
“I don’t think it affected me that much,” said Sanborn, who altered his weekly schedule slightly, adding another bullpen session.
McNamara made his team-leading 18th appearance in registering his fifth save.
Kris Doyle (6-4) took the loss.
“(Doyle) presented a lot of problems for us because he pounded the zone,” Coach Sanborn said.
“We had looked at his stat sheet and we thought there might be a tendency for him to be a bit wild, but he threw well with a ton of strikes and mixed in his breaking ball to keep us off-balance. He pitched a great game; it certainly could have gone either way.”