Baseball to Open 71st Season at RussMatt Central Florida Invitational

Baseball to Open 71st Season at RussMatt Central Florida Invitational
BOSTON – Following Wednesday's Nor'Easter, the Suffolk baseball team flew south to lift the lid on its 2018 slate as the Rams' 71st season is set to get underway at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational March 10-17.

Stay up-to-date with all the latest news and notes on Suffolk Athletics by connecting with the Rams on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #RamNation for an insider's look at Suffolk's teams and student-athletes.


The annual RussMatt Central Florida Invitational hosts over 200 colleges across all divisions for their Spring Break trips. Suffolk's tournament field features stiff competition as three of its 10 foes are ranked in the latest Top 25 in No. 6 Ramapo, No. 9 St. John Fisher and #20 TCNJ with Washington (Mo.) also receiving votes. The Rams will also face tests against Dickinson, Gordon, Montclair State, Rochester Institute of Technology and Rutgers Camden. 

Friday, March 9
Saturday, March 10
Sunday, March 11
Tuesday, March 13
Thursday, March 15
Friday, March 16
Saturday, March 17 


St. John Fisher
Westfield State
#19 TCNJ
Illinois Wesleyan

Chain of Lakes Stadium
Auburndale HS
Lake Myrtle Park Field 8
Lake Myrtle Park Field 8
Lake Myrtle Park Field 2
Lake Myrtle Park Field 4
Lake Myrtle Park Field 2


6:30 PM
12:30 PM
9:45 AM (DH)
6:45 PM
9:15 AM
9:00 AM (DH)
9:00 AM

The 70th season of Suffolk baseball will go down in the record books as one of the greatest. Anthony Del Prete once again guided his Mutts to GNAC glory as the 2017 Rams hoisted the league trophy for the third straight season and seventh time overall to punch their ticket to the Big Dance. 

Suffolk made more noise on the national stage as the sixth-seeded Rams shutout the third-seeded, then-No. 22/18 St. John Fisher, 4-0, thanks to the dealing of 2017 GNAC Pitcher of the Year Chuck Gibson. The senior right-handed pitcher had a day on the mound, throwing a complete-game, five-hit, three-walk, career-high nine-strikeout outing to lead the Rams to victory. The win marked multiple first for the Rams, but mostly importantly it put the blue-and-gold in the winner's bracket for the first time in their seven trips to the national tournament. 

A day later, Ryan Pordes took over the hill in an old fashion's pitcher duel. The starter kept second-seed, then-No. 25 Arcadia quiet for 9.0 frames before the rams walked off in the 11th against a drawn-in five-man infield to advance to the NCAA New England Regionals winner's bracket final.

The Rams were halted the next day by eventual New England Regional winner UMass Boston, before being eliminated by Babson, ending their season 28-7. 

Along the way, Suffolk took down six ranked opponents and landed on the right side of 15 one-run outings 11 times with five walk-offs and three extra-inning wins. The Rams also won the most conference contests under Del PRete with a 12-2 league ledger and garnered a spot in the Top 25 for just the third time in program history at No. 24 March 14.

The dream was finalized realized in the early morning of May 20, 2017 when the Suffolk baseball team fought-off then-No. 25 Arcadia in the NCAA New England Regionals to advance in the winner's bracket for the school's first time at the national regional tournament. 

For two straight years the Rams held a spot on at the regional table only to leave with the bitter taste of disappointment in their mouths. They had never won a regional championship despite six appearances since 2002. 

Two days later, Suffolk had that same taste of disappointment after seeing its ticket to the NCAA DIII World Series slip right out of its gloves. The Rams needed to take down Babson in the do-or-die game after falling to UMass Boston in the winner's game the day before. Unfortunately, the Beavers eliminated the blue-and-gold, 9-1, to end Suffolk's season earlier than the Rams hoped. 

Still, 2017 took Suffolk where it had never been before, and last season's juniors, now senior's this season – Brady Chant, Seth Coiley, Mark Fusco, Ryan Pordes and Greg Speliotis – know the drill and look to lead the Rams back to regional crown contention. 

In order to get back there, Suffolk needs to gain GNAC glory and are favored to do so. Each of Anthony Del Prete's three previous seasons on the Suffolk's bench have ended with the Rams raising a league banner and 2018 looks to be no different as the three-year head coach's conference counterparts chose the blue-and-gold to four-peat.  

Coming off what was arguably one of the finest seasons in program history – won 28 games, topped the GNAC for the third year in a row and won a pair of games in the NCAA Tournament. Only one team has won four straight titles since the GNAC commenced baseball play – the Rams' chief rival, Saint Joseph's (Maine), who grabbed the crown in five consecutive campaigns, 2010-14.

Experience does have to count for something, doesn't it? And Suffolk's five seniors will anchor the 16 returning Rams who have been on the regional stage before, however, with the loss of six every day starters including the battery of GNAC Pitcher of the Year and first-team all-region selection Chuck Gibson and all-region honoree catcher Matt Brenner, Del Prete brought in a wealth of new positional players and an influx of arms. The skipper will integrate the 15 new faces – 14 freshmen and one transfer – into his team's lineup and staff. 

Suffolk's 31-man roster is comprised of five seniors, seven juniors, five sophomores, and 14 freshmen. Sixteen Rams return from the 2017 GNAC Champion squad, while 15 newcomers – 14 true rookies and one sophomore transfer – join the ranks. Position wise, Suffolk boasts 20 fielders – two first basemen, four catchers, five infielders and nine outfielders – and 11 hurlers – seven exclusive and a quarter of positional pitchers with 10 RHP and one southpaw. 

All eyes will be on centerfield with the return of 2017 All-American honorable mention Brady Chant with the senior being joined by his classmate Seth Coiley and junior Zach Grogan with freshmen Will Hopkins and Ryan Sarcione looking to join the ranks. 

MORE READING: Positional Preview: Outfield

On the hill, Suffolk has a wealth of arms to choose from. A total of 11 pitchers populate the Rams' roster; 10 RHPs, one southpaw – seven exclusive and a quartet who are also position players. Seniors Ryan Pordes and Mark Fusco look to provide a one-two punch in the starting rotation, with Kevin SinatraCharles Batchelder and Tyler Zell adding depth. The Rams will count on the freshmen arms of Johnny MaffeiParker Browne and Rich Giandrea as well. 

MORE READING: Pitchers Positional Preview

Suffolk has big holes to fill throughout the infield after the departure of Kevin Belskie (.333/.429/.422, 39 RBI, 25 R), Sean Cameron (.293/.386/.360, 48 H, 32 R) and BJ Neil (.273/.368.354, 6 SB). Rookie Blasé Cormier is a candidate on the first baseline with sophomore Rich Gilbride and freshmen Rich Giandrea and Joe Rufo also looking to fill the void.

The final hole is catcher with the graduation of four-year starter, first-team all-region selection Matthew Brenner (.333/.443/.484, 36 RBI, 39 R). Four student-athletes are battling for time – freshmen Andrew AshworthShane LakeSteven Shamnoski and junior Tommy Shimchak.

MORE READING: Positional Preview: Infield, Catchers, DH 

A trio of seniors have been selected as Suffolk's captains this season in Brady Chant, Mark Fusco and Greg Speliotis

MORE READING: Baseball Tabs Senior of Trios as Captains in 2018

As he enters his final season at Suffolk, centerfielder Brady Chant was recognized as a 2018 Preseason Second Team All-American. 

The 2018 Preseason All-Americans feature a remarkable mx of talented players across the nation and are chosen from previous year's All-American and all-region nominations. Chant is the lone representative of the GNAC and one of six student-athletes from New England. 

He is the second-Ram to earn the recognition since the inception of the award in 2008 and first since Jake Cinto in 2014. 

MORE READING: Chant Collects Preseason All-American Second-Team

A week away from first pitch, senior centerfielder Brady Chant was tabbed to the 2018 Preseason All-New England Baseball Journal Division III Team. The team is NEBJ's projection of the top player at each position picked from all the New England region programs heading into the 2018 slate. 

MORE READING: Chant Named to 2018 Preseason All-NEBJ Division III Team

Anthony Del Prete was named the sixth head coach in Suffolk baseball history in 2015 and enters his fourth season as the Rams' head coach. In his three seasons as skipper, Del Prete has guided Suffolk to the program's first-ever back-to-back GNAC Championships in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and followed that with a threepeat performance in 2017.

Last May, the blue-and-gold hoisted the GNAC Trophy for the third consecutive campaign, marking a first in program history. Anchored by its senior class of Brady ChantSeth CoileyMark FuscoRyan Pordes and Greg Speliotis, the Rams look to go for the four-peat and have been picked do so by the league's eight head coaches in the 2018 GNAC Coaches' Preseason Poll.

The only one other team that has grabbed GNAC glory in four straight seasons is Saint Joseph's (Maine), who won the league in five consecutive campaigns (2010-14). 

Suffolk has seven conference crowns (2000, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017) on its resume, the most among its conference counterparts. 

The Rams look to join Division III Baseball elite company this season with the program's 1000th win. Of the 385 active baseball programs in D3 only 64 have surpassed 1K victories. Suffolk is 15 wins shy of the milestone.

Entering his fourth season at Suffolk and overall as a head coach, Anthony Del Prete is 21 victories away from his 100th with a 79-56 ledger. If he accomplishes the feat this year, he will be the fastest coach in Suffolk baseball history to record 100 wins as the Rams' manager.  


1. Suffolk
2. St. Joseph's (Maine)
3. Johnson & Wales
4. Lasell
5. Albertus Magnus
6. Norwich
7. Rivier
8. Anna Maria
62 (6)
56 (2)
  2017 OVERALL

MORE READING: Baseball Predicted GNAC Coaches Preseason Favorite 

Suffolk's 40-game schedule centers around its 14-contest conference slate with the 71st season's first pitch scheduled to take place in the Sunshine State at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. After the Rams' nine-day Spring Break trip, the team heads back to New England to battle a handful of local foes, before turnings its weekend attention to league play. 

Suffolk's 14-game conference schedule is built around 26 non-league matches featuring seven schools from the 2017 NCAA Regional field, six of which can be found on Week 2 of's Top 25.

The Rams will get their first taste of top talent at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational over Spring Break (March 9-17), as it faces St. John Fisher (RV) and #19 TCNJ, before returning to New England where it will take on the likes of #1 UMass Boston, #21 Wheaton, #24 Salve Regina and Tufts, who is receiving votes in the national poll, and Babson, also a 2017 NCAA participant.

Suffolk will also renew rivalries with Nichols and Western New England this campaign and continue the yearly meetings with Curry, Endicott, UMass Dartmouth, Mass Maritime, MIT, and Rhode Island College. 

Suffolk will be put to the test often this season as it plays away from the friendly confines of East Boston Memorial Park in 16 true road games and 10 neutral site contests. The first fourth (10) game of the blue-and-gold's season will be played on neutral diamonds at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Auburndale, Florida. 

Suffolk will take the diamond against three fresh opponents this season in the competition of Brockport,  Illinois Wesleyan and Stockton. 

Since 1968, Suffolk has taken the field against 166 opponents. The Rams have not dropped a game to 42 of their all–time competition to hold an unbeaten record against .253 percent of their all–time foes. This season, Suffolk will attempt to remain undefeated against Albion and St. John Fisher.  

Three of Suffolk's contests – host Endicott (April 4), Johnson & Wales (April 14) and Rivier (April 22) will be part of a Rams' doubleheader as the Suffolk baseball team will host Saint Joseph's across East Boston Memorial Park on those same dates.


Suffolk meets Albion on the tail end of its Spring Break trip as the Britons head into Friday night 0-6. 

Senior Jack Wyman has been the most potent bat thus far, hitting .346 with 26 plate appearances. His nine hits, three of which were good for three bags, have brought in four runs and he scored four himself. Sophomore catcher is also hitting over .300, coming in at .333 with six hits in 18 at bats, while freshman outfielder Andrew Arszulowicz has made an impact immediately as a freshman with a .500/.550/.667 slash line, nine hits, three RBI and four runs. 

On the mound, Albion has used 11 of its 20 arms on roster. Wyman has seen the most action (10.0 IP). The senior, who also plays the field, boasts a 3.60 ERA with eight Ks. Jon Hubanks' 3.00 ERA leads the Britons' staff as the freshman worked 6.0 IP and sat down three batters. Andrew Fabry, meanwhile, has put together a 4.66 ERA through 9.2 frames with seven strikeouts to his credit. 

After splitting a two-game series with then-No. 8 John Hopkins, St. John Fisher fell in three straight, before stringing back-to-back wins together – a 10-6 victory over Saint Joseph's (Maine) and a 13-1 offensive onslaught over Husson. Prior to facing the Rams Saturday, the Cardinal will take the diamond versus No. 1 UMass Boston. 

Thomas Pasquale leads the charge for the Cardinals at the dish hitting .448 in seven games played and 29 at bats. He's scored eight runs and brought in five with six of his 13 hits good for extra bases. Ryan Simmons leads St. John Fisher wish six RBIs hitting .333, while Allen Murphy rounds out the top three hitters with a .321 average, four RBI and nine hits. 

St. John Fisher features a solid rotation of hurlers on the mound, including Tim Geissel (7.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 8 Ks, 2-1) and Anthony Brophy (10.1 IP, 3.48 ERA, 11 Ks, 2-2). 

Brockport had a home game and a Virginia Beach tournament under its belt before heading to Florida. The Golden Eagles, who are 3-2, open action in the Sunshine State Saturday, March 10 against Mount Union before taking on Suffolk. 

Anthony Eaton's bat leads the way for the Golden Eagles with his five hits, four of which were doubles, producing a team-high six RBI with three runs scored. The everyday starter is hitting .333 and slugging .600. In four games, Drew Blasiis has put together a slash line of .455/.636/.500 with five hits.   

Sam McCumiskey (8.1 IP, 6Ks, 8.64 ERA) is the most experienced hurler on the hill for Brockport this season with two starts under his belt.  Jason Hellwig has been the most successful arm for the Golden Eagles with a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 innings of work and 11 strikeouts. 

Stockton lifts the lid on its 2018 slate in Florida on March 10 against Westminster and will play four contests before battling the Rams Tuesday, March 13. 

Similar to Suffolk, the Ospreys enter the season with a mix of experience and new talent with four fielders who started at least 30 games a year ago back on roster. 

JJ Swentkowski anchors the infield and is coming off a season in which he batted a team-high .339 with 38 hits, 18 RBI and a .413 on-base percentage, while Zach Gustites will hold down center after starting all 34 games last season and producing 22 runs and 14 RBI, while committing just one error.   

Westfield got in four games in New England before flying south. After being swept by Ramapo in a twinbill, the Owls defeated Springfield, 4-2, in game one of a doubleheader and tied the Pride, 9-9, in the nightcap. 

WSU will play a quartet of games, including Suffolk's GNAC rival Saint Joseph's (Maine), prior to taking on the Rams Thursday, March 15. 

In the first four games Anthony Crowley's bat swung well, with five of his six hits going for extra bases in three doubles and a pair of triples for an impressive 1.00 slugging percentage to go along with a .462 batting average and a .533 on-base percentage. Crowely also leads the team in RBI with four, while Kyle Murphy (.300) and John Lippincott have come home five and four times, respectively. 

Westfield has used a new arm in each of its four outings this year. Nate Barnes brings in the best ERA (3.60) with at least 5.0 innings of experience with 12 Ks, while Nata Marshall has fann a team-best 12 hitters in 5.2 frames on the bump.

TCNJ pulled the curtain on its 2018 slate with a 10-4 win over Gwynedd Mercy Feb. 28 and will take the diamond for the first time in Florida March 10 against Aurora. 

Tommy McCarthy led the way the plate for the lines, finishing the season opener with a 3-for-3 effort with three RBIs and one run scored, while Mike Follet went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI and one run as well. 

Michael Fischer earned the win with a solid start as he threw 5.2 innings and allowed three earned runs and sat down four hits. Dylan Crowley threw 1.1 clean innings of relief and Joe Cirillo and Matt Curry each had one scoreless inning apiece to secure the win. 

Four games into the 2018 season and Illinois has four victories under its belt. The Titans have six more outings left before meeting the Rams on St. Patrick's Day. 

Mike Plecki has played in all, but one of Illinois Wesleyan's four contests this eason, leading the way at the plate, hitting .667, slugging .89 and putting together a .750 on-base percentage. He paces the pack with six hits and seven RBI and has contributed a pair of runs. Gino Cavalleri has come home a team-best five times, while bringing in three runs on five hits in 15 at bats. 

On the hill, four different hurlers own 0.0 ERA's including Nick Brune (12.0 IP, 7 Ks), Brady Hough (6.0 IP, 5 Ks, 2-0) and Eric Bennes (5.0 IP, 6Ks). 

A week after its final game in the Sunshine State, Suffolk heads back home to open New England schedule on its own turf, East Boston Memorial Park,