NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL: No. 1 Wheaton Eliminates No. 5 Suffolk

NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL: No. 1 Wheaton Eliminates No. 5 Suffolk

MANSFIELD, Conn. - Top-seeded Wheaton College eliminated fifth-seeded Suffolk University from the NCAA Division III New England Regional double elimination tournament with a 6-5 triumph on Thursday afternoon at Eastern Baseball Stadium in just the second ever meeting between the two sides in post-season play. 

Wheaton improves to 31-12 on the season, while Suffolk concludes its 2016 campaign at 33-13, the second most wins in program history, and making the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and sixth time overall. 

Senior right-hander Eric Dumas collected his first win of the season, and fourth of his career, after closing out the game having pitched two innings without surrendering a hit, while striking out one. Wheaton starter Brady Furdon sailed through the first five innings, giving up only two hits and facing only three batters over the minimum. Furdon was on the long end of a 5-0 lead entering the sixth before the first five Suffolk batters reached safely, an infield throwing error igniting the five-run rally. 

Wheaton jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first on two hits, two walks and two hit batters and added single runs in the second on Joshua LaJoie's one-out home run, another in the sixth on two hits, a walk and wild pitch to move out to the 5-0 lead.

The Rams rallied to tie the game in the sixth behind a three-run home run from Seth Coiley and game-tying, two-run blast from losing relief pitcher Jake Frasca (2-1).

With the game tied in the eighth, Dumas entered the game with a runner on first and kept things knotted up by getting two ground balls and an inning-ending strikeout.

With one out in the top of the ninth, senior Mike Beneduce doubled down the left field line, which was followed by a RBI single to center by Joey Santigate, allowing Beneduce to score easily. 

Dumas then preserved the one-run lead with a 1-2-3 ninth which included a one-handed catch of a foul ball near the restraining fence by Beneduce for the first out of the inning.

LaJoie had three of Wheaton's 11 hits and scored two runs, while Jared Sharkey reached three times with two hits and a walk. Jon Lapolla was Suffolk's only player with as many as two hits.

Wheaton will now take on the loser of the No. 3 Tufts/No. 2 Oswego State contest at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, May 20. 

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