Bullpen Falters as Baseball Drops Pair in North Carolina

Bullpen Falters as Baseball Drops Pair in North Carolina

CARY, N.C. (March 13, 2019) – A pair of late-inning meltdowns cost the Franklin Pierce University baseball team a pair of wins on Wednesday afternoon, on the team's penultimate day at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. In the first game, the Ravens held an 8-6 lead through seven innings, but surrendered a run in the eighth and eight more in the ninth to fall to St. Thomas Aquinas, 15-8. Later, Franklin Pierce held a 3-0 lead through seven, allowed three runs in the eighth, scored one of its own in the top of the 10th, but then allowed two runs in the bottom half of the 10th to drop a 5-4 decision to Nyack.

With the losses, Franklin Pierce falls to 6-5. St. Thomas Aquinas improved to 5-7 with the victory, while Nyack notched just its second win of the year to improve to 2-9-1.

St. Thomas Aquinas 15, Franklin Pierce 8

In the first game of the day, the Ravens used a four-run third to land the biggest blows, as they built up a 7-2 lead early on. Freshman third baseman Jethro Hurt (New York, N.Y.) had a two-run single in the frame, while junior first baseman Jonel Ozuna (New York, N.Y.) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force home a run and junior catcher Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) knocked in a run with an RBI single.

St. Thomas Aquinas used two in the fourth to cut into a then 5-0 deficit, and then plated four in the sixth to trim a 7-2 gap down to 7-6. The four-run sixth was accomplished with some help, as one run scored on a passed ball and another scored via a balk. Junior first baseman Brian Donnelly doubled to lead off and later scored on an RBI single by junior right fielder Dylan Klock, while sophomore second baseman Jonnathan Cepeda knocked in a run with a fielder's choice.

A run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by Ozuna made it 8-6, but then things fell apart for the Ravens late. After trimming the lead in the eighth, STAC used eight runs in the top half of the ninth to surge to the 15-8 win. It was a bases-loaded walk to freshman Paul DeVito which gave the Spartans the lead for good, but the inning was not without its big hits. Freshman third baseman Andrew Jemison and Donnelly each socked two-run doubles in the frame, while Klock provided an RBI single and junior left fielder Anthony Maisano drove in a run with a fielder's choice. The inning's remaining run was plated via a passed ball.

Senior left-hander Evan Glew (North Andover, Mass.) started on the mound for the Ravens and did not factor in the decision, as he departed after five innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits, walked one, hit two batters and struck out four. Freshman right-hander Danny Gracia (Wilmington, Mass.) eventually suffered the loss (0-2) out of the bullpen. Over two-thirds of an inning of work, he surrendered three runs on two hits, walked one and struck out one.

Junior right-hander John Greeley started on the mound for St. Thomas Aquinas and left after 4.2 rough innings. He was tagged for seven runs (five earned) on nine hits, walked two, hit three batters and struck out five. The eventful ninth made a winner out of freshman right-hander Thomas Gregory (1-0), who logged the final three innings. He did not allow a run on four hits and struck out two.

Nyack 5, Franklin Pierce 4 (10 innings)

In the second game, Franklin Pierce opened a three-run lead in the top of the second, and Nyack responded much later, with three of its own in the last of the eighth. For the Ravens, back-to-back doubles did the damage, as junior second baseman James Boria (Massapequa, N.Y.) and sophomore right fielder Nicholas Martino (East Brunswick, N.J.) combined to drive in the three runs. For Nyack, senior center fielder Jeremiah Alonzo had an RBI double, before senior second baseman Gabriel Vasquez cranked an RBI triple and later scored on a passed ball.

Things were looking up in the top of the 10th inning, as the Ravens plated a run to take a 4-3 lead. Jones singled, stole second and then scored on an RBI single by freshman center fielder Graham Smith (Wilmington, Mass.).

It all came unraveled in the bottom of the 10th though, as Nyack scored twice without recording an out to steal the 5-4 victory. A walk, a single and another walk loaded the bases for senior catcher Herman Alvarado, who walked as well, to force in a run, move the tying run to third and move the winning run into scoring position. Sophomore left fielder Matthew Johnson followed and finished off the comeback with an RBI, game-winning single.

Junior right-hander Derek Duffy (Farmington, Conn.) started and fired seven shutout innings before the bullpen wasted his effort. He allowed five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six. Freshman right-hander Zack Brundage (Wellington, Fla.) suffered the loss (0-1) out of the bullpen. Over two innings of work, he allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits, walked one and struck out four.

The Ravens wrap up their eight-game trip to North Carolina with a pair of games on Thursday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Franklin Pierce will take on Slippery Rock at 11 a.m. and then close out the trip with a rematch against Nyack at 2:30 p.m. 

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuravens.com). 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 (https://www.fpuravens.com/store).