HARWICH, Mass. – The Endicott baseball team took another step further in their goal of winning the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament by defeating #8 Mitchell by a score of 4-2 on Thursday afternoon to remain unbeaten in the winners bracket. The Gulls (32-14) saw sophomore reliever Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass.) record a four-inning save and freshman Cam Farnam (Andover, Mass.) and senior Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) deliver in the top of the seventh with crucial RBIs to help secure a Gulls win.
Endicott moves on to face the #2 Southern Maine on Friday, May 16th at 4:30 PM at Whitehouse Field in Harwich, Massachusetts. This is the third time this season and Endicott and Southern Maine will play each other (1-1) with both teams defending their home fields. The Gulls defeated the Huskies 16-7 back on March 28th when Southern Maine was ranked #5 in the country while USM won at home 6-5 when ranked #6 nationally. This game is also a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Division III New England Regional Finals in which USM advanced to their eventually final standing as the NCAA runner-up.
Endicott started off the scoring in the top of the second as Gold singled and stole second to get into scoring position. After sophomore Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) was hit by a pitch to place runners on first and second with no outs, the Mariners forced a double-play ball to short that put two outs on the board and advanced Gold to third. With two outs, sophomore right fielder Steve Morganelli (Milford, Mass.) roped a single up the middle to score Gold, making it a 1-0 game.
The Gulls followed up the very next inning with another two-out RBI as Farnham reached on an error and got into scoring position on a Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) groundout to the pitcher. The next batter, senior first baseman Brett Holmgren (Middleboro, Mass.), saw his pop fly to shallow left fall just inside the foul line which plated Farnham from second base. Endicott took a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the third.
The Mariners came to bat in the bottom of the third and quickly got a runner on second base as junior Gavin LaLima (Waterford, Conn.) took the first pitch of the inning by Poland off the shoulder and then advanced into scoring position on a balk. Senior shortstop Marc Dorsi (West Haven, Conn.) delivered on the next play with a 1-0 hit up the middle to score LaLima coming around third to cut the Endicott lead down to one.
After Gulls sophomore lefty starter Zac Poland (Essex Junction, Vt.) pitched the first five innings, allowing just the one earned run in the bottom of the third, Poland gave up a leadoff single to center by Mariners senior Kenneth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.). Endicott went to the bullpen and Nova, who pitched in Wednesday's win over MIT, to eliminate the Mitchell threat. Nova pitched out of the jam, despite allowing runners to reach second and third on a double steal, to keep the score at 2-1 Endicott.
Nova would go on to pitch three innings of relief, allowing one run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh while striking out two batters.
Endicott plated two crucial runs in the top of the seventh as their bats came alive after three ineffective trips to the plate from innings four through six. Sophomore shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.) led off the inning with a bloop single down the right field line and advanced to second on a wild pitch with no outs. Farnham doubled to right on a 3-2 offering, extending his active hit-streak to 18 games, to bring Hall home from second base. After Mitchell struck out a batter for the first out of the inning, Gold singled through the right side to make it a 4-1 game as Farnham raced home.
With a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, Nova remained in the game with a chance to record the four-inning save and succeeded by recording a strikeout and two groundouts to end the game. Nova finished with a line of four innings pitched, three hits allowed, one earned run, one walk, and three strikeouts in recording his fourth save.
Poland (8-0) earned the victory as he left in the top of the sixth after facing one batter with a 2-1 lead that Nova preserved. Gold finished the game 2-for-4 with a run scored, a RBI, and two stolen bases to lead the Endicott offense.