MANSFIELD, Conn. — It took 12 innings, 43 at-bats, 15 hits, five bunts, four stolen bases, a standout start by pitcher Pat Moran and a walk-off double by catcher Travis Adams.

But in the end, pure resilience enabled St. Joseph’s to pull out a 5-4 win in 12 innings Thursday against fifth-seeded Worcester State at the NCAA Division III baseball New England Regional.

The eighth-seeded Monks (33-12) face another elimination game at 1:15 this afternoon, playing the winner of Thursday’s late game between No. 3 Western New England and No. 7 UMass-Boston. The winner of that game will play again at 7:45 p.m., trying to advance to Saturday’s championship round.

“This is a nice step forward for our program,” said Monks Coach Will Sanborn. “We don’t want to be a big fish in a small pond. Hopefully that gained a little respect on the outside. That was a great baseball game.”

The victory was the team’s first at an NCAA regional since 2006.

The winning rally started with one out in the 12th when Moran, who also serves as the team’s designated hitter, legged out a one-out single.

He was replaced by pinch-runner Kyle Neagle.

Neagle danced off first base several times, diving back to avoid being picked off.

“Coach always wants us to be aggressive out there to attract a little attention off the batter,” said Neagle.

Left fielder Nate Martin then reached on a bunt, capitalizing on an errant throw to first by reliever Chad Kasik. Neagle moved into scoring position.

That brought Adams to the plate. He had gone 0 for 4 with a sacrifice bunt.

With one out, he drove a 2-2 pitch far enough into center field for Neagle to cross home plate standing with the winning run.

Time of the game: 3 hours, 25 minutes.

“He made a little bit of a mistake pitch there that I could drive,” said Adams, who was mobbed by teammates at second base.

The loss ended the tournament for Worcester State (31-11-1).

“Epic game. I used (everything we had) today,” said Coach Dirk Baker. “We made a big error there, but I give credit to their bunters all day.

“And we tip our hat to the kid who hit the two-strike double.”

The game changed complexion multiple times, starting as a pitchers’ duel through five shutout innings.

Moran went nine innings, throwing 86 pitches, 58 for strikes. He gave up seven hits, struck out five and walked none.

“I’m a fifth-year (senior). I’ve been here a long time,” said Moran, who was redshirted as a sophomore at the University of Maine. “Knowing it could have been the last game, you definitely want to leave it all out there.”

St. Joseph’s bunted safely twice in the sixth and scored two runs on a wild pitch and single to right by Ben Grant-Roy.

The Lancers tied it in the seventh, scoring two runs on three hits.

The Monks scored again in the seventh when Mike Pratt singled in Martin, who had entered the game to run for Ian Lee and stole second.

The Lancers tied it again in the eighth, capitalizing on an error that moved a runner to third with one out, followed by a sacrifice fly

The Monks had a chance to regain the lead in the eighth, loading the bases with no outs. But the Lancers got a strikeout, threw out Grant-Roy at the plate on a fielder’s choice and ended the inning with another strikeout.

Worcester State took a 4-3 lead in the ninth with a run on a pair of errors, a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly.

The Monks tied it in the bottom of the inning on a single by Todd Keneborus that drove in Chris Campbell, who had singled and stolen second.

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

[email protected]

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