MANCHESTER, N.H. (April 24, 2018) – A Sunday afternoon nightmare extended into a full-on night terror on Tuesday for the Franklin Pierce University baseball team at Penmen Field. In the bottom of the first, the first four Southern New Hampshire batters reached via an error, a walk, another error to score two runs, and a two-run homer, giving the Penmen a 4-0 lead before the Ravens even recorded an out. It was all part of a six-run first inning for SNHU, which went on to a 12-4 victory in Northeast-10 Conference, Northeast Division play.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 23-12-1 (12-6 NE10, 7-5 NE Div.), while Southern New Hampshire improves to 26-12 (13-5 NE10, 12-2 NE Div.). With the win, the Penmen completed a sweep of the three-game regular-season series between the two teams for the second year in a row.
Looking to bounce back after coughing up a late lead on Sunday at Stonehill, the Ravens did anything but that out of the gate on Tuesday night at SNHU. After a scoreless top of the first, the Penmen sent 11 men to the plate and scored six runs in the home half of the inning to take much of the drama out of the game. Of the six runs, only two were earned, as errors continued to prove costly for the Ravens, much like in their first two meetings with their intrastate rival this spring.
Things started ominously, as graduate student first baseman Mike Coggeshall (Shrewsbury, Mass.) made a solid backhand pick on a sharp bouncer to first, but then made a low throw to the bag. The pitcher covering, junior right-hander Anthony Matarazzo (Medford, Mass.), got his glove to the ball, but could not corral it, which left sophomore third baseman Tom Blandini safe at first on the throwing error. After a five-pitch walk to graduate student left fielder Thomas Buonopane, senior first baseman Ryan Sullivan came to the plate with runners at first and second and attempted to sacrifice bunt.
The bunt went back towards the mound, and Matarazzo fielded cleanly, but then airmailed the throw over Coggeshall at first base and down the right-field line. While the defense was giving chase, both Blandini and Buonopane came around to score, while Sullivan wound up all the way at third base. Freshman catcher Dakota Mulcay made sure the errors hurt even more, as he turned on the fourth pitch of his at-bat and clubbed a two-run home run to right field, his seventh of the season.
After a strikeout for the first out, senior right fielder Caleb Potter started the onslaught again, with a double into the gap in right-center. Sophomore designated hitter Jake Coro followed and hit a sharp ground ball back up the middle. Sophomore second baseman James Boria (Massapequa, N.Y.) dove and got a glove to it, but was only able to deflect it. The ball escaped into shallow left-center and went for an RBI double as Potter came across to score. Coro would move to third on a groundout and later scored on a balk to cap the six-run frame.
Franklin Pierce had a chance to eat into the deficit immediately, as the Ravens loaded the bases in the top of the second. However, sophomore shortstop Joe Napolitano (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) was rung up on a looking strikeout and all three runners were left on base.
SNHU pushed the lead out to 8-0 in the bottom of the fourth, on a two-run homer to center field by Potter, his seventh of the season.
The Ravens would cut the margin in half with four runs in the top of the sixth. Senior right fielder Zack Tower (Auburn, Mass.) had the big blow of the inning, with a long, three-run home run to center field, his sixth of the season. Later in the frame, Boria tripled to center as both Potter and junior center fielder John Stanton lost the ball in either the twilight or the lights. Boria would score on a sacrifice fly to center by Napolitano.
SNHU re-extended the lead right away, with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the sixth. Potter singled and later scored on an RBI single back up the middle by senior shortstop Kyle Pangallo. Pangallo then later scored on a single dropped inside the right-field line by sophomore second baseman Joshua Goldstein.
The Penmen added two more in the eighth to create the 12-4 final. Stanton reached at third on an error by Tower in right, and then scored on an RBI double over the head of the center fielder by Pangallo. Meanwhile, Coro was hit by a pitch and later scored on an RBI single to center by Goldstein.
Matarazzo (3-2) faced seven batters and recorded just one out before exiting. He was ultimately charged with six runs (two earned) on three hits, walked one and struck out one while taking the loss.
On the other side of the ledger, senior right-hander Mitchell Powers (3-2) threw 102 pitches (69 strikes) over six innings of work on the way to the win for SNHU. He allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits, walked one and struck out five. Junior right-hander Jake Walkinshaw threw scoreless ball over the final three innings, allowed one hit and struck out two to pick up his second save of the season.
Powers started all three games for SNHU against Franklin Pierce this season. Across 20 total innings, the Ravens succeeded in plating nine runs (seven earned) on 26 hits against the Penmen ace, but won none of the three contests.
The Ravens return to the field on Thursday, April 26, when they travel to Assumption for an NE10, Northeast Division contest. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. 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).