BRISTOL, R.I. – Endicott baseball split their final CCC doubleheader of the regular season and in the process solidified their position atop the conference with a 12-4 league record. The Gulls will be named the top seed in next week's CCC Tournament for the second straight season after their 3-0 game one win clinched their playoff standing.
Endicott (21-13, 12-4), the fourth-ranked team in the New England region according to the NCAA's most recent release, will host the 10th-ranked UMass Dartmouth Corsairs on Sunday for a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m. The Gulls will also be celebrating the careers of four players – Michael Cahill (Plymouth, Mass.), Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.), Zac Poland (Essex Junction, Vt.), and Chase Sullivan (Cumberland, R.I.) – in Senior Day festivities prior to the start of game one.
Game One: Endicott 3, Roger Williams 0
A complete-game shutout by Gulls junior righty JJ Branch (Milford, Mass.) and RBIs from juniors Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) and Josh Drew (Intervale, N.H.) as well as freshman Michael DeDonato (Chelmsford, Mass.) helped Endicott secure a 3-0 win and the top seed in the upcoming CCC Tournament.
Branch tossed seven complete innings and allowed just five hits with three walks while striking out five. He improved to 5-2 on the year and lowered his season ERA to 1.70, 1.11 against conference opponents.
The Gulls scored single runs in three different innings starting with the top of the first as DeDonato walked to lead off the game, swiped second base for his 18th stolen base of the year, and advanced to third on a passed ball. Paola singled through the right side to bring DeDonato home for the first run of the game.
In the fifth, Gulls sophomore centerfielder Cam Farnham (Andover, Mass.) hit an infield single to lead off the inning and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by junior shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.). Freshman Dan Zabbo (Dracut, Mass.) followed by beating out a grounder to the first baseman to push Farnham up to third base. DeDonato's grounder to third got the force out at second base but brought Farnham home to push the lead up to 2-0.
One more Endicott run crossed the plate in the top of the sixth, on a sacrifice fly to center by Drew after junior designated hitter Anthony Serina (Portsmouth, R.I.) cracked a one-out triple to right.
Zabbo went 2-for-3 in the win while Paola reached base twice with his RBI single in the first and a walk later in the game.
Game Two: Roger Williams 5, Endicott 0
Hawks junior pitcher Troy DeLeon (East Hampton, Conn.) hurled seven scoreless innings, allowed just one hit and two walks, and struck out 10 batters as Roger Williams took game two to salvage a split with Endicott.
Endicott freshman starter Owen Bautze (Sudbury, Mass.) went toe-to-toe with DeLeon over the first three innings and got the first two batters of the bottom of the fourth to groundout to second base before Roger Williams executed a two-out rally to get the first run on the board. With runners on first and second, junior first baseman Shawn Cariglio (Milford, Conn.) single to right center to score Reid Nelson (Wallingford, Conn.) to put the Hawks ahead 1-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, a double by Jamie Timothy (Cohasset, Mass.) and a single by Kevin Baker (Wilbraham, Mass.) plated runs to push the Roger Williams lead up to 3-0. One inning later, two more hits including another RBI for Timothy with two outs capped off the scoring at 5-0.
A single to right center by Sullivan was Endicott's only hit in game two.