HARWICH, Mass. — One more down, one more to go on Friday.
St. Joseph’s College won its second elimination game in the NCAA Division III baseball regional, knocking out 17 hits in a 9-2 victory over Mitchell College Friday morning. Right fielder Alex Lorenc drove in three runs with four hits, including a two-run home run, to back the gritty pitching of Joe Gruntkosky.
The Monks (30-14) will play another elimination game against the winner of the Tufts-MIT game later Friday. The game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., though will likely start much later. Rain is also in the forecast for Friday night.
“I think we’re still getting better,” said Will Sanborn, coach of the Monks. “I’ll tell you what I liked the most, I saw it right when we got on the bus this morning. I was worried because it’s an early morning game, guys might be tired and sluggish. But they were wide-eyed, smiling, excited to play. That was a good sign and we played like that.
“We played smart. We did a lot of little things well.”
The Monks broke it open in the middle innings, scoring one in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the sixth.
Lorenc doubled in the fourth and eventually scored on a Taylor Reuillard sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Lorenc and Nic Lops hit RBI singles. Then in the sixth, St. Joe’s was aided by two Mariners errors and also got RBI from Louie Vigars and Lops.
That was more than enough for Gruntkosky, who threw 140 pitches in 7 2/3 innings. He had a shutout going into the seventh. He struck out six, walked one and allowed 12 hits.
“At this point, we know we’ve got to win the game at hand and not worry about the next one,” said Lorenc. “Whenever we get out to an early lead, we try to tack more on. And it helps when you get a good start from your starting pitcher.
“I think today the key was we put a lot of balls in play.”
Gruntkosky was aided by two double plays that ended Mitchell threats in the fifth and sixth innings. The Mariners started each of those innings with two singles.
“It was huge for our momentum,” he said.
Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: MikeLowePPH