HARWICH, Mass. — Graduate student Colin Sitarz (West Hartford, Conn./Hall) went 3 for 5, including a home run, with two runs scored and two RBI as the third-seeded Endicott College Gulls defeated the top-seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies 5-2 Friday afternoon in a winners’ bracket game of the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament being played at Whitehouse Field.
The victory moves the Gulls into the championship round needing one win to claim their first regional title. The Gulls, who came through the losers’ bracket of the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament to win that title, have won seven straight games and are now 35-12 on the season.
Southern Maine will face the winner of tonight’s elimination game between Wheaton College and Western New England University on Saturday (12:00 p.m.) with the winner moving on to face Endicott needing two wins for the championship. USM had its seven-game winning streak snapped and slips to 39-8 on the season.
In earlier elimination games on Friday, Western New England University held of Saint Joseph’s College, 5-3, and Wheaton edged Daniel Webster College 3-1.
Sitarz gave the Gulls a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when he slammed a pitch from USM rookie right-hander Shyler Scates(Jefferson, Maine/Erskine Academy) over the left field fence for his fourth home run of the season.
Endicott added a single run in the fifth as junior Tad Gold (Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.) singled, moved to second on a sacrifice by senior Eric Lemke (Southington, Conn.), and scored on a two-out single by junior EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y./Poly Prep).
USM loaded the bases against Endicott freshman starter JJ Branch(Milford, Mass.) in the sixth. Senior Tyler Hitchcock (Abington, Mass.) came on in relief of Branch and hit USM senior Tucker White (Deerfield, N.H./Coe-Brown Northwood) to force home the Huskies’ first run. Hitchcock got a double play ball that allowed freshman Sam Dexter(Oakland, Maine/Messalon-skee) score. Hitchcock got out of the inning by striking out the next batter to escape without further damage.
The Gulls struck right back in the seventh against USM sophomore reliever Andrew Richards (South Portland, Maine) who was making his record 28th appearance of the season. Sitarz led off the inning with the first of three straight singles that loaded the bases for Lemke. Lemke worked Richards for a walk to force Sitarz across with the go ahead run. Freshman Matt Paola (Middlebury, Conn./Pomperaug) scored the second run of the inning on Martinez’s double-play ground ball giving the Gulls a 4-2 lead.
Hitchcock was in command silencing the Huskies offense. After hitting White, the right-hander would only give up a walk to junior Troy Thibodeau (Danvers, Mass./New Hampton) in the seventh and a two-out single to junior John Carey (South Portland, Maine) in the ninth. Hitchcock, who struck out two, got the win to improve to 9-1 on the season.
The Gulls added an unearned insurance run in the eighth against Richards when Sitarz singled home sophomore Harry Oringer(Dartmouth, Mass./Coyle Cassidy) who reached base on an error.
For USM, Dexter was the lone repeat hitter with a double and single. Dexter’s first-inning double was his 22nd two-bagger of the season, setting a new school single-season record. Dexter had been tied with former All-American Bob Prince who had 21 doubles in 1991. Scates went six innings allowing two runs on four hits. He did not walk or strike out a batter.
Senior Mike Rubino went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and sophomore Nick Salerno turned in a strong pitching performance as Western New England eliminated Saint Joseph’s.
The fourth-seeded Golden Bears (33-12) played again Friday at 8 p.m. against the winner of No. 2-seed Wheaton (Mass.) and eighth-seeded Daniel Webster.
Salerno struck out six batters and scattered 11 hits while giving up three runs in 7-2/3 innings of work to improve to 5-1 on the season. Senior Kevin Jefferis earned his sixth save by throwing 1-1/3 scoreless innings and he did not surrender a hit.
Mike Pratt led the Monks, who end their season at 31-14, with three hits and two RBI, and Alex Lorenc, Sam Butts and Nic Lops all had two hits.
Western New England took a 1-0 in the top of the first on a Rubino sacrifice fly to right field until Pratt had a RBI-single to right center field to tie it up in the home half of the inning.
But the Golden Bears broke the game open with four runs in the next inning on the benefit of two Monks errors, four straight walks and just one hit.
Saint Joseph’s got two runs back in the fifth, but couldn’t get any closer than the two-run final margin.
The Monks outhit WNE 11-7, but allowed six walks. Only two of the Golden Bears’ runs were earned as the Monks committed three errors.
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Carlos Villoria of the University of Maine-Presque Isle has been named an honorable mention to the 2013 United States Collegiate Athletic Association All-American Baseball Team.
The senior first baseman from Caracas, Venzuela, set team single-season records for hits (62) and batting average (.446). He led the Owls in doubles (16), triples (3), RBI (34), and on-base percentage (.487).
WATERVILLE, Maine — Thomas College Athletic Director David Roussel ’93 has announced the hiring of Jon Hayes as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach.
Hayes, who was an assistant coach last season, will fill the position vacated by former Head Coach T.J. Maines, who stepped down earlier this month after leading the Terriers for the past seven seasons.
Coach Hayes brings an extraordinary resume of coaching experience to the program, beginning his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater University of Maine at Farmington for five seasons under legendary Head Coach Dick Meader. After spending one year as the assistant and Director of Basketball Operations at NCAA DI University of Maine, Hayes spent three seasons as the Head Coach at University of New England.
Hayes went on to become an assistant at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington for two seasons, where he helped guide the Pirates to two trips to the NCAA DIII Sweet 16. Hayes returned to New England for the 2010-11 campaign in his first tenure as an assistant at Thomas, before his second stint at Farmington for one season assisting Coach Meader in 2011.
“We are very excited to have Jon become the head men’s basketball coach at Thomas College,” states Roussel. “Coach Hayes has a strong passion and love for the Thomas program, and we look forward to his tenure as our men’s basketball coach.”
A graduate of the University of Maine-Farmington, Hayes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History, while attaining his Master of Arts, Sports Administration Degree from Central Michigan University.