MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (February 23, 2018) – It turned into a late night in the Palmetto State on Friday, as delays at the Ripken Experience pushed back the start time of the first of two games to 6 p.m. for the Franklin Pierce University baseball team. Not to be deterred, the Ravens made the most of the circumstance, as they hung 14 runs on Bridgeport in a 14-5 win, before coming back to defeat Queens (N.Y.) in the nightcap as well, 3-1, in a game which did not end until well after midnight.
With the wins, Franklin Pierce improves to 3-0 and has scored 31 runs over its first three games. Both Bridgeport and Queens fell to 0-2 with their respective losses to the Ravens.
In the first game of the night, Franklin Pierce opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning. Junior center fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) -- who had ended Thursday night's game with a walk-off single -- opened Friday's play with a solo home run to right-center field. It was his first collegiate home run.
The Ravens picked up four runs in the top of the fourth to open the lead up to 5-0. Senior catcher Stephen Octave (New Windsor, N.Y.) worked a walk leading off and moved to second three batters later on a single to center by sophomore designated hitter Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.). After a two-out walk to sophomore shortstop James Boria (Massapequa, N.Y.) loaded the bases, a passed ball allowed Octave to score and moved everybody else up a base. Sophomore left fielder John Duffy (Stratford, Conn.) followed with a two-run single to right field, and wound up on second base, thanks to an error by the Bridgeport right fielder. Duffy would score from second on an RBI double into the gap in right center by Roberto.
Bridgeport picked up single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to close the gap to 5-3. In the fourth, senior shortstop Jose Negron led off with a double down the right-field line and later scored on a sacrifice fly by senior left fielder Isaiah Rivera. In the fifth, senior right fielder Ben Torres lashed a one-out single to left, moved up on a wild pitch and came around to score when Negron reached on a dropped fly ball by Roberto in center. In the sixth, junior catcher Aiden Burton socked a one-out, solo home run to left field, his first of the season.
The two teams traded runs in the eighth inning to make it a 6-4 game. In the top half, senior second baseman John Friday (Southborough, Mass.) led off with a double to right, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by junior first baseman Jonel Ozuna (New York, N.Y.). In the bottom half of the frame, freshman third baseman Logan Allen tripled to right-center leading off and scored when freshman first baseman Vincent DeRubeis followed with an RBI double down the left-field line.
Franklin Pierce broke the game wide open with an eight-spot in the top of the ninth, as the Ravens sent 12 men to the plate. They needed just four hits to produce the eight runs, as they capitalized on three walks, one hit batsman and one error. Senior right fielder Adam Chase (Bridgewater, Mass.) provided the key blow of the inning, as he came up with the bases full and laced a two-run single into left field to push the 6-4 lead out to 8-4. Boria later capped the inning's scoring with a two-run double down the left-field line, with a third run scoring on the play, via an error.
Bridgeport scratched together one last run in the last of the ninth to create the 14-5 final. Freshman Conall Roberts reached on a pinch-hit, infield single leading off, moved to second on a groundout and then came around to score as junior pinch hitter Mark Hirschbeck reached on an error.
Junior left-hander Evan Glew (North Andover, Mass.) started on the mound in his Ravens debut, but did not factor in the decision. Over 4.2 innings of work, he allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits, walked three, threw a wild pitch and struck out five. Freshman right-hander Zachary Player (East Hampton, Conn.) -- who came on in a tense situation and put out a fire to pick up the win on Thursday night -- was the winning pitcher on Friday night as well (2-0). He logged the final 4.1 innings, allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, did not issue a walk and struck out six.
For Bridgeport, sophomore right-hander Matt Alicki (0-1) took the ball and the loss after throwing four innings. He surrendered five runs (four earned) on seven hits, walked three, hit a batter and struck out four.
The second game was much quieter from an offensive standpoint. Franklin Pierce jumped out front first, with a run in the top of the second inning. Jones singled with one out, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single by Duffy.
Queens answered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the second. With one out, junior right fielder Matthew Stepnoski cranked a triple, and then scored when senior left fielder Thomas Parish dropped down a sacrifice bunt on the squeeze play.
Franklin Pierce took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the top half of the fourth. Senior third baseman Zack Tower (Auburn, Mass.) and Jones went back-to-back with solo home runs deep to center field. It was the first homer of the season for both players, and Tower's first home run as a Raven.
Queens' best threat the rest of the way came in the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Knights loaded the bases with one out. The Ravens turned to senior left-hander Adam Goss (Waterford, Conn.), who got a pop up on the infield from senior first baseman Jonathan Temenak for the second out. His job done, Goss exited in favor of the closer, junior right-hander Anthony Matarazzo (Medford, Mass.), who came on looking for the four-out save. Matarazzo struck out sophomore third baseman Louis Antos looking to end the threat and strand the bases full.
Matarazzo surrendered a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth, but then rolled up a double play to finish off his first collegiate save.
Junior right-hander Zach Hart (Wallingford, Conn.) started the night's second game for the Ravens and fired seven innings on the way to the win (1-0). He allowed one run on four hits, walked two and struck out six.
On the other side of the ledger, sophomore right-hander Dylan Hughes (0-1) took the ball and tossed the first six innings for Queens. He surrendered three runs on eight hits, hit one batter and struck out five.
The Ravens return to the field on Saturday, Feb. 24, when they meet up with Molloy for a non-conference contest. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. at the Ripken Experience.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce baseball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).