The Salem News
---- — The Endicott College baseball team was sitting in prime position as the only undefeated team heading into this weekend’s NCAA Division 3 New England Regional Tournament.
Needing only one win to advance to the Division 3 College World Series, however, the Gulls lost back-to-back games to Southern Maine, 5-2 on Saturday and 9-0 yesterday, to get eliminated.
Even though Endicott came up short in its Division 3 World Series bid, the Gulls did have a phenomenal season. They set a new program record with 35 wins and won their first Commonwealth Coast Conference title since 2006.
Endicott’s Colin Sitarz and Tyler Hitchcock were each named to the New England Regional All-Tournament team. Sitarz hit .350 for the tournament, scored three runs and drove in three, including a home run. He also delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 10th inning in the team’s win over Wheaton last week.
Hitchcock, a pitcher, started the team’s tourney opener, throwing 5 1/3 innings and allowing only one run against St. Joseph’s College of Maine. He also picked up the win with four shutout innings of relief in Endicott’s 5-2 win over Southern Maine on Friday.
Freshman third baseman Matt Paola went 4-for-4 yesterday against Southern Maine to lead Endicott’s offense. The Gulls stranded seven runners, with their best chance to score coming in the second inning. Paola and Tad Gold each beat out infield singles and moved to second and third base, respectively, with no outs. Southern Maine got out of the jam with a strikeout and two ground outs.
Endicott also had two runners on with no outs in the first inning after Conor Ressel and Brett Holmgren each singled, but a double play and pop out kept the Gulls in check.
Southern Maine right fielder Troy Thibodeau of Danvers smashed a two-run homer in the ninth inning for the Huskies. Southern Maine (42-8) is headed to the Division 3 College World Series in Appleton, Wis., for the seventh time and first time since 2001.