By Matt Williams
---- — The Endicott baseball team had lost to Southern Maine twice earlier this season, but the Gulls picked the perfect time to grab a victory.
Now, Endicott stands on the edge of school history, needing just one win to reach the Division 3 College World Series for the first time thanks to a 5-2 triumph over USM yesterday.
The Gulls (35-12) await the winner of this morning’s final loser’s bracket game in the NCAA Division 3 New England Regional being played in Harwich. That team (either Wheaton, WNEC or Southern Maine) will play Endicott at 4 p.m.
If Endicott wins, its onto the national finals in Appleton, Wisconsin. A loss would trigger a winner-take-all game to be played tomorrow because the Gulls are the only remaining unbeaten team in the double-elimination regional.
The resilient Gulls grabbed the lead for good in the top of the seventh, immediately after Southern Maine tied it 2-2. Colin Sitarz, Matt Paola and Tad Gold strung together three straight singles and Eric Lemke walked to push across the go-ahead run. E.J. Martinez grounded into a doubleplay to score another and Sitarz, who homered early in the game, drove in another in the eighth.
Tyler Hitchcock entered a bases loaded situation in the sixth and allowed just one hit in four innings of work to shut down the Huskies. J.J. Branch started and gave the Gulls five solid innings.
Sitarz had three of Endicott’s 10 hits and Gold had a pair. Cody Hall also had a hit a drove in a run.