NEW HAVEN, Conn. (March 24, 2019) – Scuffling a bit on the year so far, the Franklin Pierce University baseball team showcased a little resiliency while opening Northeast-10 Conference play on Sunday afternoon. The Ravens went to extra innings twice, but would sweep a cross-division doubleheader at Southern Connecticut State, by scores of 5-2 and 6-3, at The Ballpark at SCSU, with both games going 11 innings. Junior first baseman Jonel Ozuna (New York, N.Y.) cranked a leadoff homer in the 11th of the first game, which stood as the game-winning run, while junior right-hander Derek Duffy (Farmington, Conn.) logged the final four innings without allowing an earned run to pick up the win out of the bullpen in the second game.
With the sweep, Franklin Pierce improves to 9-9 (2-0 NE10), while SCSU falls to 9-12 (0-2 NE10).
Game 1: Franklin Pierce 5, Southern Connecticut State 2 (11 innings)
In the first game, Franklin Pierce opened the scoring with single runs in the top of the third and fourth innings. In the third, freshman second baseman Joel Lara (Boston, Mass.) struck out, but reached on a wild pitch with two outs, moved up on an error and scored on an RBI infield single by senior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.). In the fourth, junior shortstop James Boria (Massapequa, N.Y.) singled up the middle with two outs, stole second and later scored on an error.
SCSU answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth and, later, another in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. In the fifth, junior catcher Mike DeMartino led off with a single, before back-to-back fielder's choice plays left junior right fielder Nolan Cloutier at first base with two outs. Cloutier moved up on a bunt single by sophomore second baseman Anthony Zambito and scored on an RBI single down the right-field line by senior shortstop Jim Palmer. In the ninth, junior third baseman Connor Redahan led off with a double and scored as senior center fielder Mac Finnegan followed with a double of his own, to left-center.
Franklin Pierce rebounded nicely and plated three runs in the top of the 11th to claim the 5-2 victory. Ozuna provided the game-winning run, as he led off and cranked a solo home run to right field, his second of the season. Junior right fielder John Mead (Washington Township, N.J.) provided a two-out, two-run single later in the inning to plate the insurance runs.
Senior right-hander Shane Kittila (Warwick, R.I.) started and threw the first eight innings for Franklin Pierce. He allowed one run on eight hits, walked one and struck out seven. Graduate student right-hander Ryan Covelle (Medford, Mass.) allowed the tying run in the ninth, but would pick up the win (2-1) out of the bullpen after three innings of work. He surrendered just the one run on three hits, walked two and struck out six.
Freshman right-hander Brandon White threw the opening seven innings for SCSU and also did not factor in the decision. He allowed a pair of unearned runs on three hits, walked one, hit two batters and struck out eight. Freshman right-hander Tommy Hughes (2-2) was charged with the loss in relief. He allowed three runs (one earned) over three innings of work, walked two and struck out six.
Game 2: Franklin Pierce 6, Southern Connecticut State 3 (11 innings)
In the second game, SCSU took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning, before Franklin Pierce rallied with two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 3-2 lead late. Sophomore right fielder Nicholas Martino (East Brunswick, N.J.) was hit by a pitch leading off, advanced to second and third on a pair of passed balls and scored on a one-out triple to right-center by Roberto. Roberto later scored on another two-out, RBI single by Mead.
Once again, SCSU would force extra innings with a run in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Palmer reached with a double to right, moved to third on a two-out error, and scored an unearned run on an RBI single to center by Redahan.
As in the first game, Franklin Pierce bounced back, again with three runs in the top of the 11th, to claim the 6-3 victory. Mead opened the inning with a single through the left side, before junior catcher Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) provided a bunt single and freshman third baseman Jake Miller (Waltham, Mass.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Freshman center fielder Graham Smith (Wilmington, Mass.) put the Ravens ahead to stay with a sacrifice fly to right, and Lara followed with a sacrifice fly of his own to right to make it 5-3. Martino capped the inning with a two-out, RBI single to left to plate Miller and create the 6-3 final.
Senior right-hander Anthony Matarazzo (Medford, Mass.) started and took care of the first six innings on the mound for Franklin Pierce. He allowed two runs on four hits, walked two, hit two batters and struck out eight. Duffy surrendered an unearned run in the ninth to tie the game, but was otherwise unblemished and ultimately picked up the win (1-0) after four innings of relief. He surrendered three hits, did not issue a walk and struck out five.
Senior right-hander Ronnie Rossomando was also gone before the game was decided, as he threw the first 7.1 innings for SCSU. He was charged with three runs on three hits, walked two, hit three batters and struck out eight. Senior right-hander Quantique White (1-1) suffered the loss out of the bullpen. Over three innings, he allowed three runs on three hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out one.
The Ravens return to the field on Tuesday, March 26, when they travel to American International for a non-conference contest. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. at Bedard Field in Springfield, Mass.
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).