WORCESTER, Mass. – The Worcester State University baseball team scored four runs on four hits in the bottom of the eighth inning, including a two-RBI double from Jake Ryan (Northbridge, Mass.), to claim a 7-5 win over the Suffolk University Rams Friday afternoon at the Kevin D. Lyons Diamond.
The Lancers started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Adam Barry (Auburn, Mass.) hit a solo shot to right field with two outs on the board. Back-to-back singles from Mike Ferrara (Easton, Mass.), Kevin Larkin (Bristol, Conn.), and Seth Leslie (Phillipston, Mass.) plated two additional runs for the 3-0 advantage.
After a scoreless second and third inning, Suffolk reached the board in the top of the fourth when Luke Ronchi (Randolph, N.J.) hit an RBI single up the middle to score Seth Coiley (Arlington, Mass.) The Rams tallied another run moments later as the Rams completed a double-steal, cutting the Lancers' lead to just one (3-2).
Suffolk took its first lead of the game in the next inning, as they scored two runs on two hits and capitalized on one Worcester State fielding error. Kevin Higgins (N. Attleboro, Mass.) kicked off the top of the fifth with a double to left center. He then scored on an RBI single from Brady Chant (Warwick, R.I.). Chant eventually scored a run of his own after rounding the bases on a stolen base, throwing error, and a balk.
With the two runs in the fifth, and an additional unearned run in the top of the eighth, the Rams led 5-3.
Worcester State rallied back in the reverse side of the eighth as they plated four runs on RBI from Chadd Richardson (Bristol, Conn.), Kenan Kolanda (Sterling, Mass.), and two from Ryan. Pinch hitter, Richardson, began the inning with one out on the board as he plated Larkin on an RBI single to right-center. Two singles from Mike Powers (Weymouth, Mass.) and Kolanda scored pinch runner, Evan Wedlock (Fort Myers, Fla.) for the 5-5 tie. With two outs and runners on second and third, Ryan drove in the two game-winning runs on a single up the middle.
Larkin collected three hits on the occasion, while Ryan, Ferrara and Leslie picked up two apiece. For the Rams, Chant and Cameron registered two hits each.
Worcester State saw seven pitchers throughout the day. Relief Bradleigh Saltsman (Ayer, Mass.) earned the win, while Kyle Baker (Fresno, Calif.) was tabbed the save as he closed out the ninth and did not allow any Ram hits.
Suffolk's Chuck Gibson (Malden, Mass.) suffered his first loss of the season in a 7.2-inning performance. Gibson allowed seven runs (three unearned) and struck out four at the plate.
Both teams won their respective conference championships and have earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III baseball tournament, which will start next Thursday (May 18). The pairings for the tournament will be announced late Sunday (May 14) evening.