Suffolk, the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Division III New England Regional, lost its tournament opener 7-6 to Worcester Polytech Institute and will face Eastern Connecticut State in an elimination game at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Eastern Connecticut State University Outdoor Complex in Willimantic, Conn.
WPI junior Joe Walsh (Weymouth, MA) hit a check swing single over the first base bag in the eighth inning to knock in the go-ahead run as the Engineers squashed a late rally by the Rams to take the opener of the tournament.
Down 6-2 in the top of the eighth, Suffolk put together a huge inning scoring four times on three hits and taking advantage of a key error to even the score. Senior Keith Carter (Newburyport, MA) doubled in the right center gap with the bases loaded to clear the bases and later came around to score on a single to left by sophomore Jon Handy (South Burlington, VT) in the rally for the Rams.
Carter finished the game 3-for-5 with four RBI, including a towering home run in the seventh. The senior right fielder would finish just a single shy of hitting for the cycle.
The Rams had a chance to tie the game in the ninth. Sophomore Nick Travelyn (Bedford, NH) led the inning off taking a pitch off the ankle from WIP reliever Sean Minor (Los Angeles, CA). After advancing on a passed ball, junior Rory Gentile (Gloucester, MA) sacrificed Travelyn over the third. Travelyn was then thrown out at home trying to score on a ground ball to short with the infield drawn in off the bat of senior Paul Vittozzi (North Reading, MA). After a single by junior Bobby Barrett (Milton, MA), Carter came to the plate but was unable to do any more damage flying out to the right field warning track to the end the game.
Senior Tim Doyle (Milton, MA) got the start on the mound for the Rams. Doyle allowed seven hits over six innings over work, giving up four earned runs. Doyle struck out a pair, but allowed three walks, all coming in the sixth inning which led to an Engineers’ run.
Junior Paul Galligan (Weymouth, MA), junior Matt Moreau (Manchester, NH), and sophomore Bryan Watkins (Belmont, MA) each had two hits a piece for WPI, as the Engineers collected 11 on the day. Moreau added an RBI single in the third and an RBI double in the seventh. Junior Mark Dingum (Albany, NY) connected on his fifth home run of the season in the third.
Senior Dan Delia (Boston, MA) took the loss in relief for Suffolk. Delia entered the game in the seventh in relief of sophomore Alex Torres (Framingham, MA) with two runners on base, but fielded a comebacker to the mound to get out of the jam. Delia’s appearance in the game was his 57th all-time appearance in a Rams uniform, which sets the career record in Suffolk’s 62-year program history.
Senior Conor Fahey (Cumberland, RI) started for WPI and punched out 11 Rams’ hitters. Fahey was tough on the Rams hitters, but fatigued towards the end as the Suffolk lineup worked him for 129 pitches in the game before chasing him in the eighth. Junior Thomas Whiting (Farmington Hills, MI) retired the one batter he faced, ending the Rams threat in the seventh picking up the win.
Thursday's game will be available online with live stats and video streaming at the NCAA New England Regional website.