WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior Joe Sullivan (East Sandwich, Mass.) hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday evening to propel fourth-seeded Lasell College to a 7-4 defeat of fifth-seeded Albertus Magnus College in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Baseball Tournament at Stein Diamond.
The Lasers improve to 23-15 overall and advance to the double-elimination portion of the GNAC tourney. Lasell will play on Thursday, May 2, at top-seeded Suffolk University at 7:00 p.m., and will also play on Saturday, May 4, at Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass., against an opponent and game time to be determined. Albertus Magnus winds up its season at 20-14 overall.
Junior Brandon Clark (Cheshire, Conn.) put the Falcons on the board in the top of the first inning with a one-out solo home run to left field. The Lasers responded in the bottom half of the inning with consecutive singles by seniors Evan Michalek (Berlin, Conn.), David Marsell (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) and Andre Marchesseault (Cheshire, Conn.) and Sullivan's towering blast to right field, his fourth home run of the season.
Both teams tacked on single runs in the second inning. Senior Tyriq Harris (Waterbury, Conn.) doubled for Albertus and later came home on an infield single by classmate Mike Browne (New Fairfield, Conn.). The Lasers answered with singles by senior Zach Herring (Fresno, Calif.) and sophomore Wyatt Sihvonen (Lebanon, Conn.), a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single by Marsell.
Lasell scored its final two runs in the third inning when senior Chris Maringo (Farmingville, N.Y.) led off with a double and Herring and Sihvonen later hit back-to-back RBI doubles.
The Falcons plated single runs in the sixth and ninth innings; Harris scoring on a passed ball in the sixth inning and junior Matt Warren (Wolcott, Conn.) added an RBI single in the ninth.
Senior Dan Petr (East Haven, Conn.) earned the win for Lasell, working six innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks, striking out four. Junior Chris O'Connor (Duxbury, Mass.) earned his fourth save, pitching the final two innings and surrendering a run on two hits, fanning one.
Sophomore Brandon Fowler (Lexington, S.C.) lasted just two innings for the Falcons and took the loss (4-2). Freshman Brendan Clark (North Haven, Conn.) pitched six impressive innings of relief, allowing just one run on six hits, striking out seven.
Herring finished with three hits for Lasell, and Marsell, Sullivan, Maringo and Sihvonen had two hits each. Harris had three hits for the visitors.
Top-seeded Suffolk (22-16-1), which had a first-round bye on Tuesday, has won the last four GNAC championships, while second-seeded Saint Joseph's College of Maine (29-9), captured the previous five from 2010-2014.
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