(STANDISH, ME)-- Saint Joseph's (18-2, 4-0 GNAC) defeated University of Maine-Presque Isle (2-17), 8-3, in non conference baseball action at Larry Mahaney Diamond on Thursday afternoon. St. Joe's, currently ranked first in New England (NEIBA) and 18th nationally in the latest ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Poll, trailed 2-0 after three innings as the Monks' bats sputtered early, but the Royal Blue put up seven unanswered runs with five scores off five hits in the fourth and two more in the fifth to gain a 7-2 lead.
The Owls staked a 2-0 advantage off four hits in the top of the third as center fielder Stephen Thorne (Jr./ Dalhousie, New Brunswick) and shortstop Jordan Duffy (Jr./ Fort Augustus, P.E.I.) rapped RBI singles to lift the visitors to an early advantage.
UMPI starting pitcher Dylan Worster (So./ Howland, Maine) held the Monks without a base hit through three frames but SJC sophomore right fielder Alex Lorenc (Nanuet, N.Y.) broke up the no-no by singling up the middle with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Junior second baseman Brandon Chase (Naples, Maine) reached via hit by pitch and sophomore catcher Willie Brown (Livermore Falls, Maine) followed with a single through the left side to load the bases. The following hitter, Dan Brown, ripped a single through the right side to plate Lorenc and Chase and sophomore left fielder Louie Vigars (Stratham, N.H.) drove in Willie Brown with a perfectly-executed bunt and run play to put his team ahead, 3-2, for good.
St. Joe's capped the five run inning with an RBI triple from junior center fielder Sam Butts (Saco, Maine) and a run-scoring base hit by senior shortstop Dan Achorn (Bow, N.H.). The Monks added two more runs in their next turn when Lorenc tripled home Mike Pratt (Dartmouth, Mass.), who reached with a single, and scored on a sacrifice fly hit by Chase.
Monks starting pitcher Jimmy Kennedy (York, Maine) settled in after a shaky third frame by tossing scoreless fourth and fifth innings to close out his outing. Freshman southpaw Anthony Zawistowski (Minisink, N.Y.) was first in relief but struggled with his command, plunking the first batter he faced before walking the bases loaded. Senior slinger Andrew Devereaux (Hope Valley, R.I.) was then called upon to clean up the situation and did just that, inducing a pop-out, strikeout and groundout to close shut the door.
The Owls managed to punch one more run across in the top of the seventh, as Duffy reached via one-out single and scored when first baseman Ted Walker (So./ Caribou, Maine) drove a double to right.
Saint Joseph's answered by scoring in the bottom of the eighth to account for the 8-3 final. Dan Brown led off the inning with a double to left-center and moved up a bag on a Vigars sac bunt. Sophomore catcher Andrew Cessario (Limerick, Maine), who entered the game defensively in the top of the frame, rapped the first pitch he saw to center for an RBI single.
Kennedy improves to 3-0 on the year after yielding two runs off five hits and a walk with five K's in five innings of work. Sophomore lefty Chris Bryant (New Gloucester, Maine) worked the final two frames on the hill and allowed one hit and a walk with a pair of strikeouts.
Worster, who gave up five runs off five hits and three walks while fanning two in four frames, was hit with the losing decision for the Owls. Relievers Andy Brown (So./ Princeton, Maine), Ryan Thompson (So./ East Millinocket, Maine) and Ghazaleh Sailors (Fr./ Santa Barbara, Calif.) combined to allow three runs off six hits and two walks over four innings of work. Presque Isle plays a pair at New England College, starting at 1:00 PM, on Friday.