Pitching Continues to Struggle as Baseball Falls Twice to Conclude North Carolina Trip

Pitching Continues to Struggle as Baseball Falls Twice to Conclude North Carolina Trip

NOTE: Box scores still subject to change as of press time.

CARY, N.C. (March 14, 2019) – The Franklin Pierce University baseball team surrendered 27 runs on 38 hits across two games on Thursday, as the Ravens fell twice at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Franklin Pierce closed out its trip to North Carolina on a four-game losing streak, and losers of five of six, as the Ravens dropped a 17-9 decision to Slippery Rock and a 10-6 contest to Nyack.

With the losses, Franklin Pierce falls to 6-7. Slippery Rock improved to 6-5 with the win, while Nyack now stands at 3-9-1. For Franklin Pierce, it marks the latest in the season the team has been under .500 since the 2009 squad finished the month of March at 10-11. The Ravens went just 2-6 on their eight-game North Carolina trip.

With the victory, Slippery Rock head coach Jeff Messer became the 18th coach in NCAA Division II history to record 1000 career wins.

Slippery Rock 17, Franklin Pierce 9

In the first game of the day, Franklin Pierce faced a 9-6 deficit through six innings, before plating three runs in the bottom half of the seventh to level things at 9-9. Sophomore right fielder Nicholas Martino (East Brunswick, N.J.) walked leading off, moved to second on a single by freshman third baseman Jake Miller (Waltham, Mass.) and scored on an RBI single through the right side by senior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.). Four batters later, freshman center fielder Graham Smith (Wilmington, Mass.) would cash in both Miller and Roberto with a two-run single through the right side.

Much like Wednesday, the late innings would severely hurt the Ravens in Thursday's opener. Slippery Rock was able to bang out four runs in the top of the eighth and added four more in the top of the ninth to sprint away to the 17-9 win. Freshman third baseman Colin Cain had the big blow in the eighth with a two-run double, while senior left fielder Ray Scala provided an RBI infield single and another run scored on a wild pitch. In the ninth, Cain clubbed a two-run triple into the gap in right-center, Scala provided an RBI double down the left-field line and freshman second baseman Jon Kozarian dumped an RBI single into right-center.

Sophomore right-hander Matt Braga (Taunton, Mass.) started on the mound for Franklin Pierce and scuffled through the opening three innings. He was ultimately charged with seven runs (five earned) on nine hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out three, but did not factor in the decision. Freshman left-hander Connor Houle (Waterford, N.Y.) later worked 2.2 innings out of the bullpen and suffered the loss (0-1). He was charged with three runs on two hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out one.

Senior right-hander Tanner Stanz took the ball for Slippery Rock and went six innings, though he did not fare any better than Braga. Stanz was tagged for eight runs on seven hits, walked four, hit a batter and struck out two, but also did not factor in the decision. Senior right-hander Wyatt Daugherty (2-0) threw the final three innings to pick up the win. He allowed one run on three hits, walked three and struck out three.

Nyack 10, Franklin Pierce 6

In the second game, Franklin Pierce surrendered three runs in the top of the second, but answered with a five-spot in the bottom half of the inning to jump to a 5-3 lead. Junior right fielder John Mead (Washington Township, N.J.) had the big blow in the inning with a two-run double, while freshman second baseman Joel Lara (Boston, Mass.) drove in two runs as well with a single.

The lead would not last long though, as Nyack plated three runs in the top of the fourth to jump out front, 6-5, and take the lead for good. Senior shortstop Austin Fischer provided a two-run single to tie the game, while senior catcher Herman Alvarado followed with an RBI single to put the Warriors out front. Nyack added two more in the top of the sixth, on an RBI triple by senior second baseman Gabriel Vasquez and a sacrifice fly by Alvarado to push the lead to 8-5.

Franklin Pierce would scratch out a run in the bottom of the seventh, on an RBI double by junior first baseman Jonel Ozuna (New York, N.Y.), but Nyack tacked on insurance runs in the eighth and ninth to pull away and create the 10-6 final.

Senior right-hander Anthony Matarazzo (Medford, Mass.) started on the mound and logged the first seven innings for Franklin Pierce. He allowed eight runs (five earned) on 12 hits, walked one, struck out three and suffered the loss (2-1).

The Ravens will not have much time to lick their wounds, as they return to action with a three-game, non-conference weekend series at Felician on Saturday and Sunday. The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by a single game at 1 p.m. Sunday. 

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).