LEWISTON, Maine -- Saint Joseph's College broke a 0-0 game open with five runs in the top of the 11th inning to win the second game of a doubleheader against the Bates College baseball team, 5-0, on Wednesday at Leahey Field. The host Bobcats won the first game by a 4-1 score.
Bates finishes 19-17, its fourth straight winning season. The Great Northeast Athletic Conference champion Monks (30-12) have finished their regular season and for the fourth straight year will move on to NCAA Regionals, which begin May 15.
Game 2 Recap
St. Joe's Game 2 starter Tyler Laverriere held Bates scoreless through four innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out six, before handing off to Nick Whittaker (6-2), who added six more zeroes to Bates' scoring line, scattering six hits and two walks while striking out four in 6.0 innings.
Bates junior lefthander Chris Fusco (Annapolis, Md.) pitched masterfully through eight innings, retiring 17 straight Monks between the second inning and Louie Vigars' one-out single in the eighth. Senior Mike Antonellis (Sudbury, Mass.) took the ball to start the ninth and held the Monks scoreless through two innings before the Monks rallied in the top of the 11th. Combined with Game 1's result, Bates pitchers threw 16 consecutive shutout innings before Game 2's deciding frame.
Antonellis walked Zack Graham to lead off the 11th, then hit Alex Lorenc with a pitch as Lorenc was squaring to bunt. Joe Coyne then laced a single to center field to score Graham for St. Joe's first run since the first inning of Game 1, putting the Monks ahead 1-0. Mike Pratt drove in Lorenc with a sacrifice fly to right, chasing Antonellis in favor of Bates' third pitcher, junior lefthander Brad Reynolds (Lafayette, Colo.). Reynolds' first pitch to Nic Lops was struck for a single up the middle to make it 3-0. Brandon Chase then reached on an infield error, and Reynolds walked Alex Markakis to load the bases. Vigars grounded into a possible double-play ball, but a throwing error, Bates' third fielding miscue of the inning, allowed Chase and pinch runner Tim Beaudette to cross the plate for a 5-0 lead.
Bates sophomore Mekae Hyde (Lewiston, Maine) and first-year Berto Diaz (Carson, Calif.) both singled in the bottom of the 11th, but St. Joe's reliever Corey McNamara left them stranded, getting the final two batters out to preserve the win.
Bates, which left 12 men on base in the game, had a great chance to break the scoreless tie in the ninth, when sophomore Nate Pajka (Douglas, Mass.) ripped a one-out triple into the corner in right field. Diaz and senior Kevin McGregor (Randolph, N.J.) were both intentionally walked by Whittaker to load the bases. Sophomore Alex Parker's (Lewiston, Maine) fly ball was caught in right field by Lorenc; Pajka tagged up from third and took off for home. Lorenc's throw beat Pajka to the plate for an inning-ending double play, despite Bates' protests that Coyne, the catcher, hadn't held on to the ball in the collision at the plate.
It was the second straight inning in which Bates' rally was cut short by a double play: in the eighth, senior Ryan Sonberg (Windsor, Conn.) and junior Kevin Davis (North Andover, Mass.) hit consecutive one-out singles, but the Monks then turned a 6-4-3 double play behind Whittaker to maintain the scoreless tie.
Sonberg, Davis and Pajka all had two hits apiece as Bates outhit St. Joe's 8-6 in the game.
Game 1 Recap
After Bates' Game 1 starter, junior lefthander Tom Baroni (Mount Kisco, N.Y.), got out of a big jam in the first inning, he held St. Joe's scoreless for the next six innings, scattering four hits and two walks the rest of the way to raise his record to 3-3 and lower his earned-run average to 2.12.
St. Joe's starter Chad Rafferty was similarly in control, holding Bates to just two hits and no walks over four innings before he was replaced by Joe Gruntkosky to start the fifth. After evening the game at 1-1 in the fourth, Bates scored three unearned runs in the sixth off of Gruntkosky (5-3), then finished off the Game 1 win with the Bobcats' fourth double play of the game behind Baroni.
St. Joe's scored loaded the bases with no outs to start the game, as Graham led off with a single and Lorenc reached on an error while attempting a sacrifice bunt. Coyne was then hit by a Baroni offering to load the bases for cleanup hitter Mike Pratt, who bounced an RBI single through the left side. scoring Graham and keeping the bases loaded with no one out. Lops then lined out to Parker at second, and Pratt was caught off of first for Bates' first double play, and a groundout by Chase allowed Baroni and the Bobcats to escape what could have been a big inning.
Bates tied it in the fourth, as Sonberg led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Davis's single up the middle, his team-best 32nd RBI. First-year Sam Berry's (South Hamilton, Mass.) comebacker to Rafferty started a 1-6-3 double play for the Monks, and Hyde grounded out to end the inning with the score tied 1-1.
First-year Samuel Warren (Norfolk, Va.) singled to right field off of Gruntkosky to lead off the sixth, and he moved on to second on an errant pickoff throw. Sonberg was walked, bringing up Davis, who bunted and reached base safely on a misplayed ball at first, loading the bases with no outs. Berry then hit a bouncer to third base, but the throw trying to get Warren out at home was off the mark, putting the Bobcats on top 2-1, with the bases still loaded with no outs.
Hyde lined out to left field for a sacrifice fly scoring Sonberg from third, and Pajka drove in Davis with a single to left, before St. Joe's turned a double play to end the rally, with Bates ahead 4-1.
Graham was 2-for-3 with a run scored in Game 1 for the Monks, who outhit the Bobcats 6-5 in the game. Baroni went the full seven innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
NOTES: Antonellis's outing was the 47th of his career and his 39th relief appearance; he finishes as Bates' all-time leader in both categories. Chuck Murphy-Romboletti '09 previously owned both program records, with 42 appearances (35 in relief).... Sonberg's three hits on the day gave him 50 for the season: the seventh 50-hit season in Bates baseball history. Sonberg finishes the year with a .355 batting average, a point ahead of Davis (.354) for the team lead in that category.... Fusco's eight-inning outing was the longest of his career, and lowered his ERA to 2.65. Bates' pitching staff maintained a 3.65 ERA and didn't allow any home runs all season.... It was the last day in a Bates uniform for senior captains Antonellis, McGregor, Sonberg and Mike Spinosa (Charlottesville, Va.).