PROVIDENCE, RI – Ivan Reyes drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Johnson & Wales University baseball team a 7-6 victory over Norwich in the opening round of the GNAC Tournament.
Johnson & Wales: 21-17
Down to its last at-bat, shortstop Lou Umberto (Cranston, RI) – who turned a key double play in the top of the ninth – drew a leadoff walk then moved up to second on a single. He scored the tying run on a Ryan Cabral (Scituate, RI) RBI single. Armani Henderson (Johnston, RI) was intentionally walked then Reyes (Cranston, RI) drew the free pass from Norwich reliever Billy Whaley with the winning run.
The Cadets pounded out three hits in the top of the first off JWU starter James Smiegocki (Lambertville, NJ), including a single by Andrew Fisher to score LaShawn Thomas. Fisher and Thomas each had a game-high three hits.
JWU took a 2-1 lead in the second without a hit. Norwich starter Kyle Farquharson walked the bases loaded then issued free passes to Dave Matthews (Newtown, Conn.) and Umberto to plate a pair of runs.
Matt Sirois capped a three-run fourth inning with a two-run single that gave the Cadets the lead back, 4-3.
JWU regained the lead in the sixth on a pair of Norwich miscues. Catcher Chris Baldwin (Pawtucket, RI) doubled down the right field line, moved up to third on a passed ball then scored on a wild pitch.
Johnson & Wales goes on the road now to start the double elimination portion of the GNAC Tournament. The Wildcats will take on the top seed St. Joseph's College at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.