HARWICH, Mass. – Behind eight solid innings on the mound by freshman lefty Luke Morse (Westford, Mass.) and timely hitting by junior second baseman Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) and sophomore shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.), the Endicott baseball team will be competing for the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championship for the second straight season as the #4 seed Gulls defeated #5 MIT 7-3.
Endicott (33-15) moves on to face #2 Southern Maine for the second time in the regional needing two victories over the Huskies to advance into the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. The Gulls and Huskies will play at 5:30 PM on Saturday and with a victory will force a deciding game on Sunday at noon.
Morse (6-5) pitched eight innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts, before handing the ball over to sophomore Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass.) who got the final three outs in a non-save situation.
Offensively for Endicott, Oringer provided two important RBI hits early in the game before Hall came through late in the game with a 2-for-4, three RBI effort in the batter's box.
Endicott scored the first run of the ballgame in the top of the second after freshman designated hitter Mike Kochiss (Fairfield, Conn.) singled on the first pitch he saw from Wang and stole second to get into scoring position. Junior second baseman Oringer delivered a RBI hit to the opposite field that allowed Kochiss to round third and score to put the Gulls up 1-0.
Two innings later, Oringer delivered another opposite field RBI with Hall sitting on second base to make it a 2-0 game. Hall had reached earlier in the inning as he and Kochiss his back-to-back one-out singles to start the Endicott rally.
In the bottom of the fifth, MIT looked to get their offense going as the Engineers saw junior K.J. Parent (Knoxville, Tenn.) drop a bunt single with one out to get on base. The next batter, junior Phil Reiser (Alpharetta, Ga.) pounded a Morse offering into right center but Endicott senior centerfielder Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) sprinted into the gap, left his feet, and laid out for the diving grab. MIT got another base hit by sophomore catcher Kendall Helbert (St. Louis, Mo.) but Morse ended the fifth by forcing a groundout to second base.
The Engineers cut Endicott's lead in half in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out rally that started with a hit batsman, then a single by junior outfielder Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) to right that right fielder Steve Morganelli (Milford, Mass.) fielded and threw to third trying to gun down the runner, Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah). Both runners were safe to put Morse in a second and third situation with one out. Engineers sophomore Nate Rodman (Corvallis, Ore.) singled to center to score Mangrum and advance Cornwell to make it 2-1, but the Gulls defense came up big with as Cornwell was caught trying to advance home after a passed ball that was thrown around the infield. Hall eventually made the putout from second base with an accurate throw to senior catcher EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
Endicott produced an important insurance run in the top of the seventh to make it a two-run lead for the Blue and Green at 3-1. Morganelli led off the inning with a double off the right field wall off Wang (5-2), forcing the sophomore out of the game. After Kochiss reached on an error to put runners on first and third with no outs, a pinch-runner for Endicott was thrown out trying to steal second, but a slow grounder to first by Hall pushed Morganelli home.
Morse continued to pitch well on the mound for Endicott and was aided by solid defense behind him as Hall helped turn an eighth inning, one-out double play to preserve the two-run lead going into the final inning.
Endicott's offense erupted in the top of the ninth with four runs as the Gulls got a RBI double by Martinez that scored sophomore third baseman Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) all the way from third base and then proceeded to load the bases with no outs on the board. Senior captain Taylor English (Barre, Vt.) came to the plate as a pinch-hitter and drove a single through the left side to put Gulls on each base. Hall singled to right to plate two runs and Farnham followed with a RBI single down the third base line to push the Endicott lead up to 7-3.
The extra runs in the top of the ninth proved to be useful as MIT started off their final at bat with a walk and a double down the left field line by junior Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C.) to force Morse out of the game. Sophomore righty Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass.) came into the game in relief of Morse, looking to get the final three outs. Parent singled in MIT's second run of the game to make it first and third with no outs, but another unassisted Hall double play gave Endicott two outs despite another runner crossing home. Nova struck out Helbert swinging to end the game and send Endicott back into the NCAA New England Regional Finals.