Top ranked Endicott sweeps Johns Hopkins, return to College World Series (2024)

BEVERLY — This is what a team of destiny looks like.

It’s getting five full innings of relief work from a righthander with a fastball that cooks and a slider that dropped down and away from enemy bats. It’s a player who came to the school to get his MBA and is sometimes called ‘Gramps’ by his teammates jacking a mammoth home run to right field, adding to his single-season school mark. It’s a multi-position standout who found his way back to second base and made a leaping grab with potential trouble looming in the top of the ninth.

It’s the 46-2, top ranked Endicott College baseball team, which defeated Johns Hopkins Saturday at North Field, 5-2, to sweep their best-of-3 NCAA Super Regional and return to the Division 3 College World Series for a second straight year.

The nation’s No. 1 team, which celebrated on the field with their families, friends and program alumni, will be one of eight squads headed to Eastlake, Ohio starting May 31 for the Div. 3 College World Series.

“Just pure joy right now,” head coach Bryan Haley said after the game. “It’s kind of overwhelming a little bit emotionally when you have these moments etched in time forever. We’ll never forget it.”

Endicott, which finished 25-0 at home, broke the school record for wins in one season with Saturday’s triumph.

Brady Stuart, a sophom*ore righty, relieved starter Nicholas Cannata with one out in the fourth inning and his team trailing, 2-0, and proceeded to fire five innings of 3-hit, no-run baseball with six strikeouts.

It was a near-carbon copy of the effort he turned in the previous Sunday against Husson in the regional final, when Stuart went 5 1/3 innings in relief of Cannata and gave up just two hits and one run in a 4-3 victory.

He admitted not getting enough time in the bullpen beforehand to work on his changeup, so Stuart stuck strictly with his fastball and slider.

“Any situations where you have a chance to win a game and finish a team, I’m always going for the kill,” said Haley. “Nick competed very well but there were a lot of barrels today, to a point where the top of their lineup was about to turn over again. Stu had done just an amazing job, and I told him last week in a similar situation he’s one of the best pitchers in the country when he believes in himself ... and I knew he had that from last week.”

“I think he was locating his pitches, something you don’t always see. (He) located every single pitch for the most part,” Johns Hopkins center fielder Isaiah Winikur added. “His fastball was commanding that outside corner, which set up well that breaking ball, and we didn’t get the best swings on it.”

Trailing 2-0 in the fourth, Endicott tied things up when Danny MacDougall worked a walk and, after drawing several throws over to first base, he trotted home when 6-foot-2, 230-pound lefty Brendan O’Neil bashed his 16th home run of the season off the Post Center far past the right field fence, tying the game at 2-2.

“Danny does a great job applying pressure on the basepaths, and that leads to pitchers making mistakes to me ... which is pretty great,” said O’Neil, who once blocked for former Patriots quarterback Mac Jones as a high school football player in Florida.

The Gulls, who finished with 10 hits, drove Johns Hopkins starter from the game in the fifth. Dylan Pacheco belted a triple to right-center and scored on Nicolas Notarangelo’s single to center. MacDougall followed that up with his team’s second long ball in as many innings, launching a two-run shot to left.

Endicott is now 40-0 on the season when leading after six innings.

Ranked sixth in the country, the Blue Jays (35-11) made one final push in the ninth. Jimmy Stevens singled and took second when Jake Siani reached safely on a sacrifice bunt. Leadoff hitter Dylan Whitney then smoked a ball that seemed destined for right-center before Pacheco made a leaping catch, drawing a thunderous ovation from the Gulls’ faithful.

“I didn’t really know I could jump that high, to be honest,” Pacheco joked.

A walk loaded the bases, and Evan Scully relieved Stuart (91 pitches, 60 for strikeouts). He struck out the next hitter on three pitches before inducing a short fly to Pacheco at second, and was immediately rushed by the rest of his teammates in a celebratory pigpile on the mound.

O’Neil reached base all four of his plate appearances with two hits and two walks to go with his two RBI. Robbie Wladkowski and catcher John Mulready of Peabody both went 2-for-4. Center fielder Brendan Walsh also hit safely and stole a base.

Liponis, the shortstop, made a terrific defensive play in the seventh when he went into the hole to snag a backhand, fired to first and watched as MacDougall scooped it on a short hop to get the speedy Alex Shane.

Contact Phil Stacey

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Top ranked Endicott sweeps Johns Hopkins, return to College World Series (2024)
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