PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. (May 17, 2018) – A two-out error by sophomore shortstop Joe Napolitano (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) led to three unearned runs, as part of a four-run bottom of the second inning, which put the fifth-seeded Franklin Pierce University baseball team behind for good on Thursday night, on the first day of the NCAA Championship East Regional. The miscue was part of a four-error showing by the Ravens, who tallied just five hits at Peter X. Finnerty Field, on the way to a 7-2 loss to fourth-seeded and No. 23 nationally ranked Southern New Hampshire in each team's first game of the double-elimination tournament, which is being hosted by the University of New Haven, on the campus of Pace University. Making only his third start of the season, junior right-hander Jake Walkinshaw went the distance on 122 pitches for the Penmen.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 32-14-1 and will face elimination in its next outing, which will not come until Saturday at 3 p.m. The Ravens will meet the loser of a Friday night game between second-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas and third-seeded Le Moyne. Both the Spartans and Dolphins were victorious in their tournament openers on Thursday.
With the win, SNHU improves to 36-15 and will advance to play at 3 p.m. on Friday. The Penmen will meet the top seed and host, New Haven, which will be opening its East Regional.
Four runs -- three of them unearned -- in the bottom of the second would be all Walkinshaw needed on Thursday night. Freshman catcher Dakota Mulcay led off for the Penmen and drove the second pitch of the inning the other way and over the fence in straightaway left field for a solo home run, his eighth of the season. Two batters later, freshman left fielder Sam Henrie reached on an infield single and moved to second on a balk.
After senior right-hander John Amendola (Wallingford, Conn.) got a flyout for the second out of the inning, things fell apart behind him. Batting in the eight spot, senior shortstop Kyle Pangallo bounced a routine grounder to short, which Napolitano fielded cleanly, but then threw away. The error allowed Henrie to score and moved Pangallo to second. Sophomore second baseman Joshua Goldstein followed and dumped an RBI single into center field to score Pangallo, and wound up on second base as senior center fielder Adam Chase (Bridgewater, Mass) elected to heave the ball to the plate without the throw passing anywhere near the cutoff man. Goldstein would then score from there on an RBI single into center by sophomore third baseman Tom Blandini.
Franklin Pierce used single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to cut the gap in half, at 4-2. In the fourth, graduate student first baseman Mike Coggeshall (Shrewsbury, Mass.) worked a two-out walk in front of Chase. Chase followed and went the other way with a pitch, driving a fly ball all the way to the warning track in the gap in right-center field. SNHU freshman center fielder Idelson Taveras impressively ran the ball down in the gap and got it into his glove, but could not complete the catch as he tumbled to the ground. It went for an RBI triple for Chase, as Coggeshall came around to score from first.
In the fifth, junior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) drove a one-out, second-pitch home run to right-center field, his third of the season.
SNHU picked up insurance runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth to create the 7-2 final. In the sixth, Taveras singled to right with one out and later scored when Blandini bounced into an RBI fielder's choice. In the seventh, senior right fielder Caleb Potter was hit by a pitch leading off and ultimately scored on a sacrifice fly by Henrie. In the eighth, Pangallo notched a leadoff single, stole second, stole third and scored on an RBI fielder's choice by sophomore designated hitter Ethan Harris.
Meanwhile, Walkinshaw (6-0), who had thrown just 25 innings on the year, was busy authoring the third complete game of his career. He used 122 pitches (79 strikes) to dispatch the Ravens, allowed two runs on five hits, walked one and struck out five. Walkinshaw finished strong in his longest outing of the season, as he retired the final seven batters of the game.
For Franklin Pierce, Amendola (6-2) started and threw 89 pitches (67 strikes) over 5.1 innings of work. He was charged with five runs (two earned) on eight hits, hit a batter, balked once and struck out three.
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).