BOSTON – The Suffolk baseball team got an early edge and held onto it to successfully down No. 1/3 UMass Boston in game two of the twinbill Saturday night at Monan Park.
SCORE: Suffolk 3, No. 1/3 UMass Boston 1
RECORDS: Suffolk (3-8) | No. 1/3 UMass Boston (10-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Will Hopkins led off the second with a single through the left side, sniped second and strutted to third on a wild pitch. The freshman left fielder took advantage of JT Morin's second straight ball in the dirt and crossed home to put the Rams on the scoreboard early.
The Beacons attempted to even the score in the home half of the inning and Charlie Huegi collected the first extra base hit on the day with a double down the right field line. UMass could not rally behind it as Charles Batchleder and Tim Brigham caught Huegi swiping third to keep Boston off the scoreboard.
Both squads had opportunities over the next four frames, but neither took advantage as the defenses stood tall and kept the base runners on.
Suffolk struck again in the seventh though. Brigham started things off with a walk and Zach Grogan pushed him over with a single to right and the pair each advanced courtesy of a sac bunt by Steven Shamnoski. Trevor Lee, who came in to pinch hit for Nik San Antonio, scored Brigham with a single to through the right side and put Grogan on third. With one out, Brady Chant collected a RBI on a sac fly that brought in Grogan to stretch Suffolk's lead to 3-0 after 6.5 innings.
UMass trimmed the deficit to two in the bottom of seventh. After Nick Herzog wore a pitch to start things off and moved to second on a ground out by Joey Rogers, the Beacons put runners in the corners thanks to an error by Rams third baseman Brigham. The hosts used a sac fly of their own to erase the shutout and cut Suffolk's cushion to 3-2 heading into the top of the eighth.
Suffolk would see a number of new arms on the hill and had scoring chances in the opening of the eighth but the Beacons held them scoreless to keep the two-run game intact.
The Rams also made a change on the mound as Mark Fusco took over for Batchelder. The senior RHP retired the side in the eighth and ninth with one strikeout to hold onto the 3-1 victory for Suffolk.
- Batchelder grabbed the win as the junior gave up just one unearned run on three hits and five walks through 7.0 innings.
- In 2.0 innings of relief Fusco earned the save with no runs, no hits and no walks with one K.
- Beacons starter Morin allowed one run on three hits and three walks despite sitting down eight hitters.
- Doherty (2 R 2 H, 1 BB) and Maguire (3 BB) each saw 2.0 innings of action with Muno (1H) also coming out of the pen for UMass.
- Chant had a multi-hit day with a 2-for-3 effort for one RBI with one walk and a pair of steals.
- Hopkins had a 1-for-2 showing at the dish with one walk, one run and two swipes.
- Lee came in and recorded one hit for one RBI.
- Brigham (1BB) and Grogan (1-4) each scored one run apiece for the Rams.
- As a pinch runner Joe Rufo stole one base, while Gilbride, who walked, also stole a bag.
- Suffolk improved to 25-13 all-time versus the Beacons.
- The Rams defeated their first nationally ranked opponent this season and first since taking down then-No. 25 Arcadia 1-0 in 11 innings at the NCAA DIII New England Regionals May 19, 2017.
- Suffolk defeated its seventh-ever ranked opponent under Anthony Del Prete's guidance.
- The victory marks the first time in Suffolk history the Rams upstaged the nation's top seed.
- Suffolk swiped a season-best six bases.
- Chant stole a season-high two bases.
- Hopkins snagged a career-best two bags.
- Gilbride and Rufo each matched a personal-best with one stolen base apiece.
Pending schedule adjustments, Suffolk is set to be back in action Thursday, March 29 with a trip to Salve Regina on the books. Game time in Providence, Rhode Island, is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.