NORTON, Mass. - Over five hours elapsed after the first pitch on Saturday thanks in part to a pair of lengthy lightning delays, as the Wheaton College baseball team ripped off six unanswered runs to close its seven-run deficit to one against visiting Suffolk University, but the Lyons were unable to force extra innings in dropping a 12-11 decision during a marathon game on Senior Day at Sidell Stadium.
Wheaton, which is ranked 16th nationally by D3baseball.com and first in the region by the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA), dropped its second straight game to fall to 29-10. Suffolk, which still has three regular season games left, improved to 21-19.
Senior Tad Skelley (Wolfeboro, N.H./Holderness School) went 3-for-4 with three runs for the hosts, while sophomore Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham), who wound up to be the game-tying run at second in the ninth, batted 3-for-4 with two walks, a pair of steals, a run and an RBI. Junior John Keating (Duxbury, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon School) was 2-for-3 with two runs, a pair of doubles and two walks.
Senior Rob Jenkins (Rochester, N.H./Spaulding) went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, while junior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H./Salem) had two hits with a pair of runs and two RBI. Seniors Sean Munley (Ewing, N.J./The Hun School of Princeton) and Hadi Raad (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y./Hastings) notched two RBI each, with Raad hitting his third home run of the season. Junior starter Nolan Corr (Somersworth, N.H./Saint Thomas Aquinas) went five innings in the no-decision, and senior D.J. McGee (Worcester, Mass./Saint Peter-Marian) allowed three earned runs while issuing two walks in 0.1 innings to take the loss.
Freshman Jake Cintolo (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip Regional) was 4-for-6 with three runs and two RBI for Suffolk, while classmate Devan Jones (Roslindale, Mass./Catholic Memorial) went 3-for-6 with four RBI, two runs and a homer. Three other Rams posted two hits apiece, while junior Mitch Monke (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield North) earned the win despite giving up five runs with six walks in five frames.
Wheaton drew three straight walks to open the first inning but came away with just one run. Suffolk scored on a wild pitch in the second to tie the game before the Lyons went ahead by a run with an unearned tally in the home half. The Rams pushed two across in the fourth for a 3-2 edge, but Wheaton answered with three runs on four hits in the bottom half to regain its advantage at 5-3.
Jones' run-scoring double in the fifth narrowed Suffolk's deficit to 5-4 before the Rams knotted the score the following frame, however a 50-minute lightning delay forced the teams inside. When play resumed, the visitors tacked on four additional runs for a 9-5 lead, as 11 batters came to the plate in the frame. After a Cintolo RBI single in the seventh stretched Suffolk's edge to 10-5, Jones' two-run blast over the left field fence made the score 12-5.
Wheaton battled back with four runs on five hits in the seventh on the strength of Raad's two-run dinger to left. Jensen and Landers then each recorded an RBI to pull the hosts within three. Keating led off the eighth with his second two-bagger of the game and fourth in two days before eventually scoring on Jenkins' groundout. Landers then singled to trim the Blue and White's deficit to one.
After the second delay, which lasted 1:10, Lyon freshman Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Avon Old Farms School) came into the game in the ninth with a runner on second and set down the three batters he faced. Jensen singled to lead off the ninth and stole second with two away, but a fly out to right subsequently ended the game.
The Lyons will make their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000 beginning on Wednesday, May 18, at Whitehouse Field in Harwich at a time and against an opponent to be announced a week from Monday. Wheaton returns to Harwich for the seventh time, as the Lyons have gone a combined 14-10 in their first six trips.