St. Mary’s kept putting on the pressure but St. Joe’s kept finding a way to get the job done.
The Marauders delivered some key hits, squashed a number of Lancers rallies and took Game 1 of the Georgetown Cup with a 7-5 win on Monday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field.
“This group’s got a lot of coolness about them,” St. Joe’s coach Paul Nasca said. “We’ve had a lot of guys in the program a long time and they’ve worked hard. You practice and then in the games, you just have to let them go. And they’ve proved time and time again how proud of them we are.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is set for 4 p.m. today back at Coca-Cola Field. Game 3, if necessary, is on Wednesday.
“It makes the whole tournament a lot better for us; takes a lot of the pressure off,” St. Joe’s relief pitcher Matt Colucci said. “All we have to do is play our game and hopefully we’ll be fine.”
Colucci pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief of Gavin Collura and gave up one run and two hits while striking out six. It was his third straight save.
“It helps a lot having real good fielders behind you,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in my guys. When you know you’re hitters are going to get it done, you know you’re fielders are going to get it done, it makes your job a lot easier.”
St. Joe’s led by as much as 6-1 in the fourth but the Lancers refused to go quietly. The Lancers left the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings and had the tying runs in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh but Colucci got the game-ending ground out.
“A little nerve-wracking, but you’ve got to credit St. Mary’s for that,” Nasca said. “They played their butts off today. That’s a terrific team.”
The Lancers (16-5) are trying for their first Georgetown Cup since 1980. St. Mary’s proved it belonged but fell short against the large-school Marauders when it mattered most.
“We had men on base, we just couldn’t get the key hit,” St. Mary’s coach Mike Wagner said. “That’s the game. We were down and we clawed back and made them think. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Two good teams that deserve to be here.”
Dennis Gagliardo was 3-for-4 with two RBI, Ryan Sutherland was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and Matt Gilbert also added a pair of hits.
Joe Barberio was 2-for-3 with three runs scored, while Alex Bish was also 2-for-3 for the Lancers.