St. Joseph's

HARWICH, Mass. — Ian Lee may have only had one hit in the game.

But it may have been the most important hit of the season.

Lee doubled to the right-center gap in the 11th inning to lift sixth-seeded Saint Joseph’s (Maine) to a thrilling 4-3 walk-off win against No. 1 seed Tufts on Friday in Game 10 of the 2011 NCAA Division III New England Regional Championship at Whitehouse Field. With their second loss in the regional, the No. 15-ranked Jumbos are eliminated and close their season with a 27-9-1 record.

Joe Gruntkosky, the third Monks pitcher of the afternoon, picked up the victory in relief and is now 4-2. He allowed three hits, no walks and a run while garnering a strikeout in 2.1 innings.

In the top of the 11th, Eric Weikert lined a one-out single to left field for a 3-2 Tufts lead, scoring David Orlowitz – who had reached on a hit by pitch – from second base.

That set the stage for the exciting finish in the bottom of the inning.

After a fly-out, Sam Butts reached on a fielding error by the second baseman and advanced to third on a single by Todd Keneborus. Two batters later, Lee – who was 0-for-4 going into the at-bat – sent a 3-2 pitch to the opposite field, scoring Butts and Keneborous with two outs. Both of the runs were unearned.

Tufts struck first in the top of fourth inning when David LeResche led off with a hit by pitch, Orlowitz singled and Sam Sager doubled to left field to bring home LeResche from second base. Sager had three of the team’s nine hits, while Orlowitz and Nate Izzo chipped in two each.

The Tufts defense snuffed out several Monks scoring opportunities in the early going by turning two double plays and throwing out a runner at home on an attempted double steal. But Saint Joseph’s finally broke through in the sixth with a Keneborus triple to deep right-center that scored Nate Martin from second.

Saint Joseph’s pounded out 12 hits, including three by both Keneborous and Martin.

Both teams scored a run in the eighth. Orlowitz had an RBI single to left field for the Jumbos while Chris Campbell countered with a sacrifice bunt to bring home pinch-runner Brandon Chase that was an unearned run.

The Jumbos’ defense came up big again in the 10th. With a runner on third base and one out, Martin popped up into a double play to the pitcher on an attempted suicide squeeze.