St. Joe’s stayed cool under pressure in Game One of the Georgetown Cup finals Monday night at Coca-Cola Field. The Marauders battled a resilient St. Mary’s team for a 7-5 win and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Ryan Sutherland and CJ Falk drove in the first two Marauders runs in the second inning with an RBI single and RBI groundout, respectively, and then St. Joe’s got creative.
With Mark Gilbert on third and Luke Pierce at the plate, Falk took off for second. The throw wasn’t in time, but the Lancers seemed to have forgotten about Gilbert, who ran home easily for the Marauders’ third run.
"I just kinda took off," Gilbert said. "I knew that once I started running, that I was in the clear. So I’m happy I did because it was a big run for our team."
"It was just the right pitch count, the right situation," St. Joe’s coach Paul Nasca said. "Gilbert read the throw down. He was able to break for the plate and that was a terrific read by him."
St. Mary’s got one back in the third, but St. Joe’s added three more in the fourth – Gilbert scored one after reaching base on a bunt – for a seemingly comfortable 6-1 lead.
But St. Joe’s starter Gavin Collura ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning. He did what he could to get through the fourth, but after two errors allowed Jon Pasternak to score the Lancers’ second run and a walk and single loaded the bases, Collura was pulled in favor of Matt Colucci.
"Gavin wasn’t as sharp as we would have liked today, but he battled and battled and gave us a chance to win the game," said Nasca. "He just gutted it out. He got us to Matthew, and Matthew was terrific in relief."
"It was a lot of pressure coming in, but I know my fielders will get it done," Colucci said. "I have a lot of confidence in them, and that makes it a lot easier."
Colucci allowed two inherited runners to score before getting a fly out and strikeout to end the inning.
He struck out the side in the fifth and allowed just one run the rest of the way. Dennis Gagliardo drove in the Marauders’ seventh run in the fifth inning, and Colucci held the lead.
And the rest of the Marauders kept their composure to finish strong.
"This group’s got a lot of coolness about them," Nasca said of his team. "We talk about one pitch, one out, one inning, and that’s what they did today. They made it last – a little nerve-wracking, but you gotta credit St. Mary’s for that. They played their butts off today."
"We were all composed," Gilbert said. "We’ve been in a lot of those games this year. We’ve won and lost a lot of games by one or two runs, and I think having that experience and being used to that situation really helped us out today."
Game Two is scheduled for today at 4 p.m. at Coca-Cola Field. If necessary, Game Three will be at the same time on Wednesday.