RINDGE, N.H. (April 11, 2018) – In a game in which it made five errors, the Franklin Pierce University baseball team still managed to hang around into extra innings on Wednesday night, at home against intrastate rival Southern New Hampshire, thanks in large part to a pitching staff which piled up 15 strikeouts without issuing a walk. In the end, the only earned run allowed by Ravens pitching would stand as the game-winning run, as the visiting Penmen pulled out a 3-2, Northeast-10 Conference, Northeast Division win in 11 innings at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 19-9-1 (9-3 NE10, 4-2 NE Div.) and sees its winning streak snapped at six games, while Southern New Hampshire improves to 18-11 (6-4 NE10, 5-1 NE Div.). SNHU has now taken the first two games of the three-game regular-season series between the two teams, and has won the last five regular-season meetings between the two squads.
The drama began in earnest in the seventh inning, with the score tied 1-1. In the top half of the inning, SNHU opened the frame with back-to-back singles off of senior right-hander John Amendola (Wallingford, Conn.), courtesy of senior right fielder Caleb Potter and sophomore designated hitter Jake Coro. Senior shortstop Kyle Pangallo was next and dropped a sacrifice bunt up the third-base line, but was safe at first as the throw from sophomore third baseman J.R. DiSarcina (Barnstable, Mass.) pulled the covering second baseman off the bag.
With the bases now full and still nobody out, Amendola got the nine-spot hitter, sophomore second baseman Joshua Goldstein, to lift a pop-up into shallow right-center field. This nearly proved to be a problem with the infield pulled in, but senior right fielder Adam Chase (Bridgewater, Mass.) came charging in and made a sliding catch just behind the second baseman's normal position. With back-to-back left-handed hitters due up, Franklin Pierce turned the game over to senior left-handed specialist Adam Goss (Waterford, Conn.), who locked up sophomore third baseman Tom Blandini with a 1-2 fastball on the outer half for a six-pitch strikeout and the second out.
The wheels of strategy now firmly in motion, SNHU sent up a right-handed pinch hitter, graduate student Thomas Buonopane, which prompted Franklin Pierce to bring senior right-hander Ryan Covelle (Medford, Mass.) in from the bullpen. Covelle blew away Buonopane, striking him out on three pitches to strand the bases full.
His team barely settled back into the dugout, DiSarcina immediately put a charge into the bottom of the seventh inning. The second pitch of the inning, from senior right-hander Mitchell Powers, was right over the heart of the plate, and DiSarcina deposited it an estimated 365 feet away, in straightaway left field, for his second home run of the season.
After Covelle retired the side in order in the top half of the eighth, the Ravens left a runner at second base in the home half of the eighth. SNHU then struck for an unearned run to tie the game against Covelle in the top of the ninth. Potter reached leading off on an errant throw across the diamond from DiSarcina, who committed three errors on the night. Potter immediately claimed second, as Covelle airmailed a pickoff attempt to first base. After Coro struck out, Pangallo came to the plate and clubbed the third pitch into the gap in left-center for an RBI triple. Franklin Pierce pulled the infield in again, Covelle got Goldstein to bounce to shortstop, and then the Ravens caught a break. Despite the drawn-in infield, Pangallo broke for the plate on the throw to first, and was cut down by a wide margin by graduate student first baseman Mike Coggeshall (Shrewsbury, Mass.) to complete the unconventional, 6-3-2 double play.
Franklin Pierce got a runner to second with two outs in the last of the ninth, but left him out there. SNHU then threatened in the top of the 10th. Starting at the top of the order, Blandini and freshman center fielder Idelson Taveras poked back-to-back singles back through the middle of the infield to greet junior right-hander Anthony Matarazzo (Medford, Mass.) rudely. Matarazzo clamped down from there though, as he used a total of 13 pitches to strike out senior first baseman Ryan Sullivan, freshman catcher Dakota Mulcay and junior right fielder John Stanton, all looking.
In the bottom of the 10th, it was SNHU's turn to wiggle out of damage. Junior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) reached with a leadoff single and then wound up with a lucky steal of second, as the Penmen called a pitchout, but Mulcay dropped the ball attempting to transfer it to his throwing hand. Ultimately, a strikeout, a groundout and a pair of intentional walks would lead to a bases-loaded, two-out situation for DiSarcina. He could not come up with his second go-ahead RBI of the ballgame though, as he struck out swinging on three pitches against junior right-hander Jake Walkinshaw.
The Penmen then struck for what would stand as the winning run in the top of the 11th. Things did not start until there were two outs, as Pangallo took an 0-2 pitch and rapped it into left field for a single. He came all the way around to score as Goldstein followed and drove the second pitch of his at-bat the other way and into the gap in right-center field for a triple. Goldstein tried to take home as the relay throw briefly escaped the Franklin Pierce defense, but DiSarcina, now playing second, recovered in time to throw out Goldstein at the plate.
The damage was already done though. The Ravens went in order against Walkinshaw in the bottom of the 11th, as the Penmen pulled out the 3-2 victory.
Earlier in the day, Franklin Pierce opened the scoring in the bottom of the second. Chase reached on an infield single with two outs and later scored on an RBI single by sophomore center fielder Jack Duffy (Stratford, Conn.).
SNHU responded in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 1-1. Sullivan reached on a DiSarcina throwing error with two outs and scored from first as Mulcay followed with a towering fly ball which dropped inside the left-field line for an RBI double.
Neither starting pitcher would factor in the decision of the extra-inning contest. Amendola threw 98 pitches (71 strikes) over the first 6.1 innings. He allowed just one unearned run on five hits and struck out seven. Sophomore right-hander Derek Duffy (Farmington, Conn.) took over for an injured Matarazzo during the first batter of the 11th and suffered the loss (0-2). He allowed the one run on two hits and struck out one.
Meanwhile, Powers threw 91 pitches (58 strikes) over seven innings on the hill for SNHU. He allowed two runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out two. In two outings against the SNHU ace, the Ravens have a combined 17 hits off of Powers, but have won neither game. Walkinshaw (1-0) came on in the eighth and worked into and out of trouble multiple times over the final 3.1 innings. He eventually picked up the win after refusing to allow a run on one hit and three walks (all intentional), while piling up six strikeouts.
The Ravens return to the field on Saturday, April 14, when they travel to Assumption for an NE10 Northeast Division doubleheader. First pitch is set for noon at Rocheleau Field in Worcester, Mass.
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).