RINDGE, N.H. (April 27, 2018) – For the second time this year on its home field, the Franklin Pierce University baseball team picked up a win in its last at-bat at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field on Friday night. A two-out single in the last of the 10th by sophomore designated hitter Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) capitalized on a Bentley error and brought senior center fielder Adam Chase (Bridgewater, Mass.) home from second with the winning run in a 7-6 Ravens victory. Senior third baseman John Friday (Southborough, Mass.) and senior right fielder Zack Tower (Auburn, Mass.) each hit home runs in the Northeast-10 Conference, Northeast Division victory for Franklin Pierce, while junior right fielder Brandon Grover socked a grand slam for Bentley.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 25-12-1 (14-6 NE10, 9-5 NE Div.), while Bentley falls to 17-17 (11-8 NE10, 7-8 NE Div.). The two teams will meet again on Saturday for a doubleheader to wrap up the season series. First pitch is set for noon at Pappas Field, and the Ravens will honor their 12-player senior class prior to the start of play.
With the game tied 2-2 heading for the ninth inning, sophomore right-hander Derek Duffy (Farmington, Conn.) took over on the mound for Franklin Pierce and promptly retired the Bentley two, three and four hitters in order, with one strikeout, in the top half of the ninth. Franklin Pierce got a one-out single from junior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) in the bottom half, but he would get no further.
After Duffy retired the side in order again in the top of the 10th, with another strikeout in the mix, the Ravens won it with an unearned run in the last of the 10th. Chase led off with a ground ball to third base. Bentley freshman third baseman Charlie Auditore fielded cleanly, but his throw to first was high, and sophomore first baseman Ryan Berardino was forced to jump off the base to flag it down. Berardino attempted to slap a tag on Chase, but it came too late, and the latter was safe on the throwing error.
After senior catcher Stephen Octave (New Windsor, N.Y.) dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Chase to third, a wild pitch moved him up to third with one out for Tower. However, Tower struck out swinging on six pitches, which allowed the Falcons to move the defense back to normal depth with two outs, as Jones came to the plate. Jones wasted no time, as he went the other way with a first-pitch fastball and lined an RBI single over the head of the first baseman and down the right-field line to win the game and send the Ravens pouring out of the third-base dugout in celebration.
The run made a winner out of Duffy (1-2), who retired all six batters he faced over the ninth and 10th innings, with a pair of strikeouts. It also made a hard-luck loser out of Bentley junior right-hander Ryan Corriveau (3-1), who had taken over with one out in the seventh. Corriveau went the final 3.1 innings for the Falcons, allowed just the unearned run on three hits, threw a wild pitch and struck out three.
Earlier in the day, Franklin Pierce opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first. Sophomore shortstop Joe Napolitano (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) walked on eight pitches leading off, moved to second on another walk and went to third as a single through the left side by Friday loaded the bases with nobody out. The Ravens could convert just the one run from the situation, as Chase bounced into an RBI fielder's choice with one out.
Bentley picked up four runs in the top of the third, on the Grover grand slam, to jump to a 4-1 lead. A single back up the middle by sophomore left fielder Luke Figueira, a single into left-center by sophomore center fielder Max Troiani and a trickling infield single up the third-base line by Auditore loaded the bases with nobody out for Grover. Grover unloaded on the second pitch and drove it over the fence approximately 20 feet inside the right-field foul pole to clear the bases. His sixth homer of the season traveled an estimated 335 feet.
Franklin Pierce immediately answered with a pair in the bottom of the third to make it 4-3. Roberto doubled to left with one out, before graduate student first baseman Mike Coggeshall (Shrewsbury, Mass.) walked with two outs. It set the table for Chase again, who appeared to be hit on the hand by the first pitch of the at-bat, though it was ruled a foul ball. Chase bounced back immediately and drove the ball off the fence in the gap in right-center for a two-run double.
The Ravens got even with a run in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Friday clocked a 2-1 pitch over the fence deep in the left-center field gap for his fourth home run of the season, which traveled an estimated 375 feet.
Bentley reclaimed the lead with a run in the top of the sixth. Senior second baseman Mike Samko walked and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to right by junior designated hitter Austin Farry.
Franklin Pierce answered with two in the bottom half of the sixth to take the lead back, at 6-5. Chase walked leading off, but was erased at second as Octave reached on a fielder's choice. Tower was next and, after a big swing and miss at an 0-1 pitch, lined the 0-2 pitch over the fence down the left-field line for a home run of an estimated 335 feet, his seventh of the season.
Bentley tied things up in the top of the eighth to ultimately force the extra-inning heroics. Graduate student catcher Nathan Littman singled through the left side leading off, moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a double over the head of Tower in right field.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision on Friday. Junior right-hander Zach Hart (Wallingford, Conn.) took the ball for Franklin Pierce and threw 101 pitches (68 strikes) over the first 5.1 innings. He allowed five runs on six hits, walked two and struck out seven.
For Bentley, it was junior right-hander Llewellyn Jensen who took to the mound, and tossed 110 pitches (69 strikes) over 6.1 innings. He surrendered six runs on five hits, walked five, hit a batter and struck out six.
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).