BEVERLY, Mass. – On a day in which the Endicott baseball program honored eight players from their senior class, the Gulls also swept CCC and North Shore Cup rival Gordon in a conference doubleheader to move one day closer to securing the top seed in the upcoming CCC Tournament. Even with a split in tomorrow's regular season conference finale at Nichols, Endicott will earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Endicott (24-11, 12-2 CCC), ranked fourth in the NCAA's New England poll, travels to Dudley for a 2:00 pm start with the Bison (5-23, 4-8 CCC). The Gulls are 24-5 all-time against Nichols including an 11-1 record with seventh-year head coach Bryan Haley at the helm. Last year's regular season doubleheader ended with 9-0 and 13-1 victories in Endicott's favor.
Gordon (18-14, 7-9 CCC) saw their recent four-game winning streak come to an end and currently sit in fifth place, tied with Wentworth, in the CCC standings with only a non-conference game against Saint Joseph's (Maine) remaining on the schedule before playoffs. That game will be played on Tuesday, April 29th at 5:00 pm in Standish, Maine.
Game One: Endicott 7, Gordon 0
Sophomore starter JJ Branch (Milford, Mass.) threw a one-hit gem, striking out seven batters without a walk as the righty improved to 6-1 on the season. Branch allowed a one-out single up the middle to Scots junior right fielder Alonzo Martinez (El Paso, Texas) in the top of the fourth but forced a fly out and a strikeout to end the only offensive threat by Gordon.
The only offensive production Endicott needed in game one came from one swing of the bat by sophomore right fielder Steve Morganelli (Milford, Mass.) who sent an opposite field blast over the right field wall for a two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth. Later in that same frame, Endicott tacked on two more runs on a bunt single by freshman left fielder Cam Farnham (Andover, Mass.) that plated sophomore shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.) from third base with an errant throw by the Scots pitcher trying to throw out Farnham allowing sophomore catcher Josh Drew (Intervale, N.H.) to reach home to make it a 4-0 game.
The Gulls put three runs on the board in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by senior centerfielder Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.), a sacrifice fly to right by senior catcher EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y.), and a single through the right side of the infield by Drew to put the game out of reach at 7-0.
Gold and Hall each had doubles in the game both Gold, Drew, and senior first baseman Brett Holmgren (Milford, Mass.) registering two hits.
Game Two: Endicott 3, Gordon 1
EJ Martinez roped a two-RBI double to left center and Steve Morganelli hit a sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the fourth to give Endicott a 3-0 and senior reliever Connor McLaughlin (Clinton, Mass.) got a four-out save to become the program's all-time leader (10) as the Gulls held on to complete the two-game sweep over the Scots.
Gulls sophomore lefty Zac Poland (Essex Junction, Vt.) started game two and pitched 4 2/3 solid innings, scattering seven hits and walk while escaping a dangerous one-out bases loaded situation in the top of the second. Poland remained unbeaten on the year at 6-0 as the sophomore also recorded a strikeout in the win.
After a fly out to center to lead off the top of the second, Gordon loaded the bases on a bunt single by junior Mark Fitzgerald (Camarillo, Calif.), a hit through the left side by sophomore Alex Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.), and a single through the right side by junior Carlos Pichardo (La Romana, Dominica Republic) to threaten early in the game. Poland recovered, however, by recording his only strikeout of the game and forcing a groundout to third to keep the scoreboard knotted at 0-0.
Endicott put up three runs in the fourth, but in the top of the fifth Gordon loaded the bases again with two outs. Haley called on sophomore righty Davarn Nova (Wareham, Mass.) to get the final out and his got the next batter to hit a groundball to short that went to third base for the force.
With Nova still on the mound in the sixth, Gordon saw Smith double then advance to third on a groundout to get within 90 feet of scoring. Scots pinch-hitter, freshman Edison Thayer (Boxford, Mass.), flew out to centerfield deep enough to allow Smith to score for the sacrifice fly making it 3-1. McLaughlin came on in relief and allowed a walk, but got the final out of the frame on a pop up to end any further damage.
McLaughlin would get the final three outs of the game in the top of the seventh despite allowing a runner to reach second base to secure his fourth save of the season.