Suffolk Baseball Improves to 19-3 After Six Straight Wins
April means crunch time for the Suffolk University baseball team. With conference play heating up and just a few weeks remaining until tournament time, every game is critical, especially those against GNAC opponents. So far, so good, the Rams have thrived in that department.
The boys from Suffolk began the week with a tough loss at the hands of Western New England, 3-2, on the road. Josh Desai (Shrewsbury, Mass.) was the hard-luck loser in this one as he allowed just three runs over seven innings of work, but surrendered three runs to the Golden Bears in the bottom of the fifth.
The big blow of the inning was a two-run triple off the bat of Steve Buckley to put WNEC up, 3-1. Suffolk would close the gap to one in the fifth with an RBI groundout from JC Collette (Amesbury, Mass.) but that would be as close as they got in the 3-2 loss to open up the week. They went down one-two-three in the top of the ninth as Kevin Jefferies picked up the save.
On Wednesday, the Rams hosted the Lasell Lasers in a GNAC doubleheader. They won the first game handily, 12-2, behind a four-run first and a five-run second.
Jonathan Richard (North Reading, Mass.) improved to 5-0 with his team-leading fifth win of the season. Over 5.1 innings, the junior southpaw allowed two earned runs on eight hits while striking out six.
Twenty minutes later, the teams were back on the field for the nightcap and this one was a lot closer than the first.
Through the first six and a half the score was tied at one with Suffolk taking the lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Mac Jacobson (Norfolk, Mass.) and the Lasers tying it up in the top of the sixth.
After a botched bunt play and an intentional walk to shortstop, Justin Knight (Hackettstown, N.J.), Jones singled home the winning run and Suffolk walked off as winners for the second time this season.
On Saturday, the team began a four-game weekend stretch of conference games as they took on Norwich University in a doubleheader at Adams Field. They took the first game, 6-1, behind six strong innings from starter, Cal Carroll (Methuen, Mass.), who improved to 1-0 in his first start of the season. He allowed just three hits and one unearned run over six innings while striking out two.
The Rams scored two runs in the second, third and fourth innings with Knight driving in James McConville (Medford, Mass.) for the game-winning run in the second. Stanley led the team with two of their five total hits and picked up an RBI. Brad Hudson fell to 0-5 on the season for the Cadets.
In the second game, Suffolk took control with a six-run second and never looked back. They won their fourth straight, 9-0, and improved to 17-3 on the season behind four innings of three-hit ball from starter, Dan Shields (Haverhill, Mass.).
The bottom of the order combined for eight of the team’s 13 hits in the contest and Jack Sullivan (Hamilton, N.Y.) led the way going 4-for-4 with an RBI. Alex Gabler (Uniontown, Pa.) and Adam Johnson (Georgetown, Mass.) added two hits apiece for the Rams.
Jones had four RBIs on the day including the first two of the game with a two-run double in the second. He would add another in the fifth and now has 17 on the season.
The bullpen combination of T.J. Fearon (Colchester, Conn.) and Paul Pollano (North Andover, Mass.) kept the Cadets off the board in the final three innings as the pair allowed just one hit. Pollano walked one and struck out one in the seventh as he made his first appearance of the year.
The week concluded with another conference sweep, this time on the road against Rivier. McConville and Mike Cunningham (Syosset, N.Y.) each homered and drove in three runs in Game 1 and it was McConville’s sac fly with one out in the top of the eighth that gave the Rams the lead and ultimately the victory, 7-6. It was Suffolk’s second extra-inning GNAC win of the season.
Desai picked up his third win of the season as he went all eight innings and struck out five. Aramis Velez knocked in all six runs for the Raiders with a grand slam in the third and a two-run shot in the fifth. Suffolk scored single runs in the sixth and seventh to force extras. Johnson was 3-for-4 for the game for the visitors.
The final game of the week saw four more home runs for the Rams as they cruised to a 14-0 win over Rivier to improve to 19-3 and 8-0 in the GNAC. Cunningham, Collette and Johnson all had two hits and an RBI, but it was a fifth-inning grand slam from Stanley in the eight-run frame that stole the show. Every Suffolk starter had at least one hit and the team’s four homers give them 13 for the year. Sullivan and Collette each picked up their first and Cunningham launched his second of the day and team-leading fifth of the season.
Joe Saia (Everett, Mass.) got the win for the Rams as he allowed just one hit over five shutout innings of work. He struck out seven and walked just two, improving to 3-0 on the year.
Through about a month of the season, the team sits in first place in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference as the only undefeated team left. Jake Cintolo (Wrentham, Mass.) leads the team in average at .432 followed by Mike Muse (Milton, Mass.) at .422 and Stanley at .393. Cintolo also leads the team in hits (38) and doubles (13).
Stanley is the team leader in RBIs with 28 through 22 games, and Jacobson is on top with 26 runs scored. Suffolk has outscored its opponents, 190-84, this season and is on top of their opponents in all but one offensive category.
Desai has logged the most innings so far for the Rams with 33.1 and has the most strikeouts with 23. Richard is a perfect 5-0 and Steve Chamberland (Bristol, Conn.) is leading the way with a 0.98 ERA through two starts.
The infield has combined for a .943 fielding percentage, making 24 of the team’s 28 errors. Sullivan, Jacobson, Desai and Shields are among those perfect in the field thus far.
The Rams will be back in action on Wednesday as they host Anna Maria in a GNAC doubleheader and travel to Becker on Friday before their biggest test of the year Sunday at St. Joe’s in Maine.
Follow Andy on Twitter: @RealAndyLarmand.