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NCAA Championship Regional Game 13
Tufts 6, St. Joseph's, ME 5  (11 inn.)

At Willimantic, CT
Saturday, May 22, 2010

Game Box Score

Senior Nate Bankoff finished with three hits and four RBI for the Jumbos

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- In the final elimination contest of the 2010 NCAA Division III regional hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University here today, Tufts University senior first baseman Nate Bankoff (Lynnfield, MA) knocked in senior catcher Alex Perry (Danvers, MA) with the go-ahead run in the 11th and junior relief pitcher Ed Bernstein (Foxboro, MA) completed five shutout innings of work with a one-two-three inning in the bottom of the 11th to secure the 6-5 victory for the Jumbos over eighth-seeded St. Joseph's College (Me.).

Top-seeded Tufts now takes on undefeated seventh-seed University of Massachusetts Boston for the regional title. If UMB wins the game later today, they will claim the crown and earn their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin in their first appearance in the national tournament. Tufts, making its third trip to Nationals, has yet to win a regional and needs to defeat UMB twice for that honor. The second game between the teams, if needed, will be played Sunday at 1 pm.

Perry began the top of the 11th with a walk off senior losing pitcher Pat Moran (Winterport, ME) and was advanced to second by senior second baseman Alex Grzymala's (East Setauket, NY) sacrifice bunt. Moran got the second out of the inning on a fly ball to center before Bankoff launched a deep fly to right-center field. The ball appeared playable at first, but ended up landing between the St. Joe's outfielders near the fence for a double, the second two-bagger of the game for Bankoff and his third hit. He also knocked in four of the Jumbos six runs.

Bernstein, making his 18th relief appearance of the season for Tufts, got a pair of routine fly balls to right field and his eighth strikeout of the game in the bottom of the 11th to improve his seasonal record to 4-0. Moran fell to 7-2. He had pitched nine innings on Thursday in a no-decision outing during St. Joe's 5-4 win over Worcester St. in 12 innings.

St. Joe's got it rolling in the bottom of the first inning as junior shortstop Chris Campbell (Rochester, NH) picked up his fifth hit of the tournament, a line double into the left-center field gap. After moving to third on a fine sacrifice bunt by senior second baseman Mike Burdin (Gardiner, ME), Campbell scooted home on a bouncer up the middle by senior first baseman Ben Grant-Roy (Biddeford, ME) which squirted through for an RBI single.

The Monks got a solo shot over the right-field fence from senior catcher Travis Adams (Saco, ME) in the second, his fourth home run of the 2010 campaign, to up St. Joe's lead to 2-0. In the meantime, starting Monk hurler freshman Chad Rafferty (Keene, NH) retired six of the first seven Jumbos he faced, two by strikeout, to establish a good rhythm.

A slight loss of control to begin the top of the third came back to hurt Rafferty as he issued a walk to Tufts leadoff batter Perry, then uncorked a wild pitch to put Perry at second. Two outs later with Perry at third, Bankoff drove him in with a double to left-center field, cutting the margin in half at 2-1.

Grant-Roy added a single to center in the third, advancing junior right fielder Todd Keneborus (Hollis Center, NH) to third base. Keneborus had picked up his tenth hit of the regional with a single to right with two outs. Tufts starter junior Pat O'Donnell (Worcester, MA) got out of the jam with a groundout to shortstop.

Such was not the case in the fourth as O'Donnell was chased from the mound when the Monks pushed over their third run and had runners at first and second with two outs. O'Donnell gave way to sophomore Jake Crawford (Boise, ID). Crawford then walked Burdin to load the bases and threw a pitch into the dirt that eluded Perry for another run before striking out Keneborus to leave it 4-1 in favor of St. Joe's. A double off the right-field fence by Adams was followed by a fielding error on a grounder by freshman third baseman Mike Pratt (Dartmouth, MA), allowing Adams to score. Pratt made it home on the wild pitch.

After yielding the RBI double to Bankoff in the third, Rafferty settled back in to put down seven Jumbos in a row in support of the 4-1 St. Joe's edge. Rafferty entered the game with a lofty 6.21 ERA in 10 previous appearances with eight starts, but looked masterful through five innings with two hits allowed, six groundouts and six strikeouts.

Tufts ended Rafferty's run when junior shortstop Dave LeResche (St. Louis, MO) blooped a single into center field leading off the sixth. The Jumbos eventually got runners to second and third in the frame with two outs, but Rafferty threw a brilliant pitch on a 3-2 count to whiff junior left fielder Ian Goldberg (Lake Forest, IL) for his seventh strikeout.

When Tufts opened the seventh with a single by junior center fielder David Orlowitz (Wakefield, MA) and a walk to senior designated hitter Corey Pontes (Milton, MA), Rafferty gave way to junior reliever Mason Roberge (Franklin, NH). Roberge lasted just four batters as Perry met him with a single through the right side to load the bases. A sacrifice fly to center field by Grzymala brought in Orlowitz with the second Jumbo run. Then with two outs, Bankoff made it a new game with a two-run single up the middle, tying the game 4-4 as Pontes and Perry crossed the plate. Roberge exited in favor of senior lefty Andrew Keirstead (Westbrook, ME), who gave up a single to center field to sophomore third baseman Sam Sager (Cranston, RI), sending Keirstead to the bench. Junior Kevin Chamberlain (Scarborough, ME) took to the hill and struck out junior right fielder Chase Rose (Scottsdale, AZ) to end the inning. Rafferty gave up five hits and three runs in his six innings on the mound, but ended up with no decision.

St. Joe's regained the lead in the seventh as Burdin scored following his single to left, a walk to Keneborus and an RBI grounder past second base for the 5-4 lead by Grant-Roy, who leads all players in the tournament for hits with 12. Though Bernstein gave up the go-ahead RBI after entering the game with a runner at first, he proceeded to strike out the side to avoid further damage.

Tufts came right back to even the count at 5-5 in the eighth with a pair of safeties after two outs. Pontes lashed a double down the left-field line and was pulled for pinch-runner Derek Miller (Whitman, MA). Perry then got the job done with a line single into center field to plate Miller. Moran, who had started the game as the designated hitter, came in to pitch for the Monks and got the final out on a strikeout with runners at second and third.

Though the Monks got their leadoff man on, and senior center fielder Craig Woodbrey (Gorham, ME) sacrificed him to second, Bernstein upped his strikeout total to five with a pair of K's to end the stanza. Neither team got a man into scoring position again until extra innings.