SYRACUSE, N.Y. (May 9, 2019) – In a back-and-forth affair, the Franklin Pierce University baseball team did enough to stave off elimination on Thursday evening at the NE10 Championship, hosted by Le Moyne. The Ravens outlasted Southern Connecticut State, 9-5, as both teams piled up double-digit hits in the contest. Franklin Pierce took the lead for good on a three-run home run to left by senior designated hitter Ural Forbes (Freeport, Bahamas) in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With the win, Franklin Pierce – the fourth seed out of the Northeast Division – improves to 25-22, while Southern Connecticut State – the Southwest Division's fourth seed – sees its season come to a close at 20-28.
Franklin Pierce survives for another day and will face elimination again at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The Ravens will face off with the loser of Friday's first game, set for a noon start, which features Merrimack and Le Moyne.
The two teams traded runs in the opening innings. In the bottom of the first, junior catcher Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) walked, moved to second on a walk to senior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) and went to third on a fly ball to center field. Roberto then got in a two-out rundown between first and second, which allowed Jones to score from third with the opening run. In the top of the second for SCSU, senior designated hitter Tyler Criscuolo led off with a single to right, went first-to-third on a single to center by junior third baseman Connor Redahan and scored when junior catcher Mike DeMartino bounced into an RBI fielder's choice.
Franklin Pierce jumped back out front with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Freshman third baseman Jethro Hurt (New York, N.Y.) led off with a double into the gap in left-center, went to third on a single through the left side by freshman center fielder Joel Lara (Boston, Mass.) and scored on an RBI single pulled through the left side by Jones. Lara later scored with two outs when junior right fielder John Mead (Washington Township, N.J.) dumped an RBI single into right field.
SCSU evened things back up at 3-3 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. Senior center fielder Mac Finnegan led off with a long home run just to the left of straightaway center field, his fifth of the season. With two outs, senior shortstop Jim Palmer singled up the middle, moved to second on a single through the middle by sophomore first baseman Cam O'Toole and scored on yet another single back up the middle, by senior left fielder Nick Lamberti.
Franklin Pierce wasted no time reclaiming the lead, with a loud three-spot in the bottom of the fifth. It all happened with two outs, after Roberto walked and Mead did the same. Forbes then cracked a three-run home run to straightaway left field, his team-leading sixth of the season.
The two teams then traded single runs in the sixth. In the top half, junior second baseman John Spoto provided an RBI double over the head of Lara in center field for the Owls. Lara got it back in the bottom half, with an RBI single to center to make it a 7-4 lead for the Ravens.
SCSU closed the gap with a run in the top of the seventh, but also left the bases loaded. With one out, Lamberti was hit by a pitch, stole second, stole third and scored on an RBI single through the left side. After a single and a hit batsman loaded the bases, junior right-hander Ben Mallet (Athol, Mass.) came on and struck out junior right fielder Nolan Cloutier to end the inning.
Franklin Pierce tacked on a pair of insurance markers in the bottom of the eighth. The first came on the fourth home run of the season for Hurt, a towering solo shot to straightaway left field. The second came on an RBI double off the fence in left field by Jones.
Forbes' homer in the fifth helped make a winner (5-0) out of senior right-hander Zach Hart (Wallingford, Conn.), who took the ball and fired 82 pitches (57 strikes) over the first six innings on the hill for Franklin Pierce. He allowed four runs on 10 hits, walked one and struck out five. Senior left-hander Evan Glew (North Andover, Mass.) logged the final 1.2 innings to pick up his second save of the season. He did not allow a run on one hit and struck out three.
For SCSU, sophomore left-hander Joe Nemchek (3-3) suffered the loss after 4.2 innings of work. He threw 90 pitches (55 strikes), allowed five runs on four hits, walked four and struck out five.
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).