RINDGE, N.H. (May 4, 2019) – After a furious Friday night rally, the Franklin Pierce University baseball team still had a job to do on Saturday afternoon to punch its 19th consecutive postseason ticket, and do the job it did at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field. The Ravens collected three runs in the bottom of the first and ultimately piled up a season-best 17 hits on the way to a 10-0 win over Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division opponent Assumption in the regular-season finale. Junior right fielder John Mead (Washington Township, N.J.), senior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) and senior designated hitter Ural Forbes (Freeport, Bahamas) all hit home runs, while graduate student right-hander Ryan Covelle (Medford, Mass.) and senior left-hander Evan Glew (North Andover, Mass.) combined to author a seven-hit shutout.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 23-21 (15-12 NE10, 12-9 NE Div.) and clinches the Northeast Division's final spot in next week's NE10 Championship. The Ravens have now qualified for the NE10 Championship in each of their 19 seasons in the league. With the loss, Assumption falls to 26-18 (14-12 NE10, 11-10 NE Div.), misses out on the NE10 Championship, and will have to wait to see if its 26 wins will be enough to earn an NCAA Championship berth.
Franklin Pierce will be the Northeast Division's fourth seed, and will play on the road against the top seed on Tuesday in the first round of the NE10 Championship. Southern New Hampshire and Merrimack were set to square off in a doubleheader later on Saturday, at SNHU. With a win in either game, SNHU would claim the top seed, while Merrimack would win the division by sweeping the twinbill.
On a day where the seniors carried a heavy portion of the workload following the pregame Senior Day ceremony, it was a junior who landed the first blow for the Ravens, as part of a three-run bottom of the first. After a two-out, seven-pitch walk to Roberto, Mead got every last bit of a 1-0 pitch and launched it an estimated 380 feet, just to the left of straightaway right field, for a two-run home run, his fifth of the season, and his second in as many days. The Ravens continued the two-out rally for another run, as Forbes singled to right-center, moved to third on a single through the right side by junior first baseman Jonel Ozuna (New York, N.Y.) and then scored on a first-and-third double-steal play.
Meanwhile, Covelle (6-4), who had closed out Friday night's one-run, season-saving victory, came back to throw shutout ball over five innings and 80 pitches (48 strikes) to get things started on the right foot. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out seven while picking up the win. Assumption loaded the bases with two outs in the second – their biggest threat of the day – but Covelle struck out the leadoff hitter, junior second baseman Jared Brescia, on five pitches to strand the bases full and came off the mound visibly fired up on his way back to the dugout.
The Ravens put runners in scoring position in the second and fifth, but finally extended the lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Senior second baseman Carmine Giordano (New Rochelle, N.Y.) led off with a single into left-center and moved around to third on an errant pickoff throw. He scored from there on an RBI single to right by junior shortstop James Boria (Massapequa, N.Y.). The biggest blow of the inning came with two outs, off the bat of Roberto, who clubbed the first pitch he saw deep into the gap and off the fence in right-center for an RBI triple. Roberto would score on an RBI double off the fence in right-center by Mead, as both of Franklin Pierce's corner outfielders drove in three runs on the day.
Though six would wind up being more than enough, the Ravens went into full-on party mode in the last of the eighth, as a pair of home runs keyed a four-run inning and broke the game wide open to create the 10-0 final. Freshman center fielder Joel Lara (Boston, Mass.) tripled into the gap in left-center with one out to cap a 3-for-5 day and scored immediately on an RBI single to center by junior catcher Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.). Roberto cranked the celebration into high gear, as he jumped on a 1-0 pitch and socked his fourth home run of the season an estimated 350 feet to straightaway right. Two batters later, Forbes hit a towering fly ball an estimated 340 feet to straightaway left for his fifth homer of the season to cap the scoring.
Glew took over for Covelle to start the sixth inning and fired scoreless ball on 54 pitches (33 strikes) over the final four innings. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out three to finish off the shutout and notch his first save of the season.
With its season on the line, Assumption turned to graduate student right-hander Mike Curtis (4-2), who piled up 70 pitches (47 strikes) over just the first four innings. He was charged with three runs on six hits, walked two, threw a wild pitch and struck out four while taking the loss. From there, sophomore right-hander Cole Chudoba, senior right-hander Colton King and senior right-hander Mike Keinz combined for four largely ineffective innings of relief. They combined to allow seven runs on 11 hits with just a pair of strikeouts.
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).