Suffolk University

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Baseball Claims Fifth GNAC Regular Season Crown Of Decade With League Sweep Of Johnson & Wales

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Adams Field, Quincy, Mass.

     123 456 789 10 R H E
Johnson & Wales (23-13, 11-2 GNAC)  010 010 010 0   - 3 6 6
Suffolk (22-8, 13-0 Great Northeast)  100 000 110 1   - 4 9 1
JWU: Erik Hufnagel, Josh Hodge (10) and Eric Rapuano, Mike MacKay (5)
SUF: Steve Durant, Greg DiMarco (9) and Bobby Barrett
WP: DiMarco (2-1) LP: Hodge (2-5)

     123 456 7  R H E
Johnson & Wales (23-14, 11-3 GNAC)  000 200 0 - 2 4 1
Suffolk (23-8, 14-0 Great Northeast)  305 210 x - 11 16 0
JWU: Jonathan Melendez, Mike Wengzn (4), Ryan Morgan (6) and Eric Rapuano, Mike Sarfati (6)
SUF: Dan D’Elia and Bobby Barrett
WP: D’Elia (5-2) LP: Melendez (5-2)
Home Runs: SUF – Rory Gentile (5), Nick Martinho (8)

QUINCY, Mass.--  Sophomore Bobby Barrett (Milton, Mass.) scored the winning run on a throwing error in the bottom of the 10th inning to propel Suffolk to a 4-3 opening game triumph over Johnson & Wales and gave the host Rams their fifth Great Northeast Athletic Conference baseball regular season championship of the decade Saturday afternoon at Adams Field.  Junior Dan D’Elia (Boston, Mass.) completed the sweep for Suffolk by tossing a complete-game four-hitter in the nightcap for an 11-2 victory.

The Rams (23-8, 14-0 Great Northeast), who claimed the league regular season crown for the first time since 2005, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat in the opener on a sacrifice fly by junior Keith Carter (Newburyport, Mass.), but the visiting Wildcats (23-14, 11-3 Great Northeast) evened matters in the second on an RBI single by junior Eric Rapuano (Clinton, Conn.) and grabbed a 2-1 edge in the fifth on a run-scoring single by senior Mike Wengzn (Manchester, Conn.).  That score held up until the bottom of the seventh when Suffolk forced extra frames on senior Nick Martinho’s (Middleton, Mass.) game-tying RBI single with two outs, and the two teams traded runs in the eighth, with senior Mike Ziman (Bridgeport, Conn.) giving Johnson & Wales a 3-2 advantage with a run-scoring single before junior Paul Vittozzi (North Reading, Mass.) plated Barrett with the tying run in the bottom of the inning with another two-out single.  The Wildcats had a chance to take the lead in the 10th with runners at second and third and two out but could not score, as Barrett led off the bottom of the frame with a single, advanced to second on an error, to third on a single by junior Anthony Iacopucci (Medford, Mass.) before scoring the game-winner on a error.

Martinho, Vittozzi and sophomore Tim Corcoran (Beverly, Mass.) each rapped out a pair of hits in the opening game win for Suffolk, as senior Greg DiMarco (Newton, Mass.) picked up his second win in relief of fellow senior Steve Durant (Malden, Mass.), who scattered four hits and fanned seven over the first 8 1/3 innings of play.  Rapuano collected two hits in the first contest for Johnson & Wales, as senior Erik Hufnagel (Sykesville, Md.) scattered nine hits and struck out 15 over nine-plus innings, with fellow senior Josh Hodge (Sherburne, N.Y.) taking the loss.

The Rams jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead in the nightcap when sophomore Rory Gentile (Gloucester, Mass.) hit his second homer to lead off a game this season (his fifth of the spring), while an error and a Corcoran RBI groundout accounted for the other two runs.  Suffolk extended its advantage to 8-0 in the third with a five-run rally, highlighted by Vittozzi’s two-run single and Martinho’s two-run homer, his eighth of the season.  The two squads traded two-run rallies in the fourth before Barrett closed out the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, as he was one of seven Rams to notch two hits in the nightcap triumph, joining Carter, Martinho, Iacopucci, Vittozzi, and juniors Nick Chioffi (South Burlington, Vt.) and Chris Barber (Falmouth, Mass.).  D’Elia took care of the rest on the mound for the hosts, scattering four hits and fanning three for his fifth win in seven decisions on the season.  Junior Jonathan Melendez (Providence, R.I.) suffered the setback on the mound for Johnson & Wales, allowing 12 hits in 3 1/3 innings, as both he and senior Mike Manley (Verona, N.J.) drove in runs in the second contest for the Wildcats.

Both teams will earn a bye into the Great Northeast Championships as the top two seeds in the tournament, which will begin on Tuesday with preliminary round action and move on to a double-elimination format on Thursday at Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H.  Complete playoff pairings will be announced by the conference office on Monday morning.