Monday, March 10, 2014
By KEN CASTRO Special to the Press Herald
HARWICH, Mass. - Third-seeded Endicott College offset a late-inning rally by St. Joseph's to take a 4-3 win in the first round of the NCAA New England Regional men's baseball tournament at Whitehouse Field on Wednesday.
The Gulls answered St. Joseph's two-run ninth with a decisive last at-bat -- loading the bases and then securing a win on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Harry Oringer.
The Monks, who entered the postseason in the sixth slot of the bracket, moved into the top of the ninth facing a two-run deficit.
Despite accumulating 10 hits through the first eight innings, St. Joseph's had a lone run to show for the effort. In the ninth, however, the Monks strung together a pair of base on balls and two crisp hits to knot the score at 3-3.
The big hit in the rally came from sophomore DH Joe Coyne, who rocked a two-run double off the Gulls' third hurler of the day, Kevin Dumas. Coyne's hit scored both Sam Butts and Willie Brown, who had drawn walks off Dumas to open the inning.
Senior first baseman Mike Pratt produced three hits on the day for St. Joseph's.
"We came to this tournament knowing we had to hit the ball," said Pratt.
"Being a senior, I hoped to set the pace," he added. "We had a good game plan going in and we hit well but they just weren't timely."
The Monks fell to 30-13 overall on the season.
"You have to get those clutch hits, that's what this tournament is all about," said St. Joseph's Coach Will Sanborn.
"We faced some good pitching and did a good job by going the other way. It just didn't happen for us."
Monks starter Tyler Laverriere worked seven inning while allowing just five hits and fanning five.
"Tyler did a nice job for us today. He didn't have his best command today; he was pitching from behind a lot but still gave us a chance to win," said Sanborn.
Chad Raferty (6-2) will get Thursday's start for the Monks, said Sanborn, who thinks his club will still make an impact going forward.
"It's just one game at a time. That's the nice thing about a double-elimination tournament. I said to the guys 'The plan has changed, we need to go out and win the next one," he said.
"We'll still be in it," said Pratt. "We've put games together before. Game by game and get on a roll.
"There is no doubt in my mind. We've been here (at the NCAA tournament) since my freshman year."