PREVIEW: Baseball to Open 15th NCAA Championship Appearance Against Adelphi

PREVIEW: Baseball to Open 15th NCAA Championship Appearance Against Adelphi

NCAA East Regional Championship Central (Adelphi)
NCAA East Regional Championship Central (Southern New Hampshire)

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (May 15, 2019) – Following a dramatic run to the Northeast-10 Conference title last week, the Franklin Pierce University baseball team is set to open its 15th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championship on Thursday. The Ravens' road to their eighth NCAA Regional title begins against sub-regional host Adelphi, on the front end of a four-team, three-day, double-elimination tournament. First pitch is set for noon at William J. Bonomo Field in Garden City, N.Y.

Franklin Pierce (28-22) has been among the best the East Region has to offer over the last decade-and-a-half. The Ravens did not make their first NCAA Championship appearance until 2003, but have now qualified for 15 national tournaments over a span of 17 years. With their seven regional titles (2016, 2013, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2003), the Ravens have captured just shy of half of the regional crowns since they made their NCAA Championship debut. The Ravens were national semifinalists in 2003, 2006 and 2010. Franklin Pierce holds a 43-33 (.566 winning percentage) all-time record in NCAA Championship play.

Meanwhile, Adelphi (34-7-1) returns to the NCAA Championship after a seven-year hiatus, as the Panthers last qualified for the national tournament in 2011. A regular in the tournament in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the Panthers are set to make their 17th all-time NCAA Championship appearance, though just their fifth since the calendar flipped to the 2000s. Adelphi is a four-time regional champion (1999, 1997, 1996, 1993) and has a pair of national semifinalist appearances to its record (1996, 1993). The Panthers sport an all-time NCAA Championship record of 32-33 (.492). 

NCAA Baseball Championship East Regional
Hosted by Adelphi University
William J. Bonomo Field – Garden City, N.Y.
(Seeds in parentheses)

Thursday, May 16
Game 1: (8) Franklin Pierce at (1) Adelphi – Noon
Game 2: (4) Wilmington (Del.) vs. (5) NYIT – 3:30 p.m. 

Friday, May 17
Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 9 a.m.
Game 4: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser – Noon (loser eliminated)
Game 5: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner – 3 p.m. (loser eliminated) 

Saturday, May 18
Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner – Noon
*Game 7: Game 6 rematch
* Game 11 only necessary if Game 5 Winner wins Game 6.

Scouting the Ravens

Franklin Pierce heads into the NCAA Championship after a dramatic run to the NE10 title out of the loser's bracket in Syracuse, N.Y., last weekend. The Ravens were shellacked in their weekend opener by host Le Moyne on Thursday, 16-2, but bounced back to stave off elimination against Southern Connecticut State on Thursday night, 9-5. Franklin Pierce then returned the favor with a pasting to eliminate Le Moyne on Friday, 12-1, before defeating Merrimack twice on Saturday, 8-5 and 3-0, to claim the league crown.

On the field, All-NE10 First Team selection and senior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) has been the clear leader at the plate for Franklin Pierce all season. In his final go-around at the collegiate level, the Golden State native has put together a .349/.475/.511 slash line over 186 at-bats (65-for-186), which have largely been split between the leadoff spot and the three-hole. Roberto has tallied 10 doubles, four triples and four home runs, scored 45 times and driven in 33 runs. He has drawn 46 walks against just 24 strikeouts. The Ravens have also gotten a .305/.382/.442 slash line over 190 at-bats (58-for-190) out of junior first baseman Jonel Ozuna (New York, N.Y.), who has contributed 16 doubles, two triples and a pair of home runs while scoring 26 runs and driving in 41.

Scouting the Panthers

On the other side of the ledger, Adelphi has been idle for over a week, as the Panthers were ousted in the first round of the NE10 Championship. Despite being the top seed out the Southwest Division, the Panthers were upset at home by fourth-seeded Southern Connecticut State, 9-6, last Tuesday. It was the first loss of the season for Adelphi on Bonomo Field, where the Panthers own a 14-1 record.

Adelphi is led at the plate by a pair of senior outfielders, both of who landed on the All-NE10 Second Team, in Brandon Morse and Jonathan Iadevaia. Morse boasts a .349/.459/.459 slash line with seven doubles, one triple and one home run. He has scored 33 runs and driven in 20. Meanwhile, Iadevaia has slashed .355/.457/.393 with four doubles, 30 runs scored and 15 runs batted in.

On the Mound

The Ravens are expected to give the ball to junior right-hander and All-NE10 Second Team selection Derek Duffy (Farmington, Conn.), who will be making his third career postseason start, but his first NCAA Championship appearance. Duffy started an elimination game against Le Moyne last Friday at the NE10 Championship and was brilliant, as he went the distance on just 102 pitches (68 strikes), allowed just a ninth-inning run on five hits, did not issue a walk and struck out eight to keep Franklin Pierce's season alive.

On the season, Duffy has made nine appearances, including eight starts, and logged 55.1 innings. He has allowed 17 runs (11 earned) on 47 hits, walked just four and struck out 63 (10.25 per nine innings) to put together a 1.79 ERA and a 5-2 record. He leads the nation in fewest walks per nine inning (0.65) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (15.75).

Duffy has only one previous appearance against Adelphi, which was a brief relief appearance in an extra-inning loss at Bonomo Field on March 3, 2018. He allowed one run on two hits over two-thirds of an inning of work.

Adelphi is expected to counter with the NE10 Pitcher of the Year, senior right-hander Ed Baram. He will be making his second career postseason start and third appearance, as well as his NCAA Championship debut. Baram's first career postseason start came last Tuesday in the first round of the NE10 Championship, when he was roughed up by Southern Connecticut State over six innings. He surrendered five runs on eight hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out six without factoring in the decision.

The Panthers' ace, Baram has made 11 starts on the season, totaling 68.1 innings. He has surrendered 11 runs (nine earned) on 47 hits, walked 13 and struck out 69 (9.09 per nine innings) on the way to a 1.19 ERA and a 7-1 record. Baram is the national leader in ERA.

Baram has made three career starts and one relief appearance against Franklin Pierce. Over 18.2 innings of work, he has allowed six runs (two earned) on 16 hits, walked five and struck out nine, on the way to a 1-1 record.

Last Meetings

Franklin Pierce and Adelphi have not yet met in 2019, though the two teams did play five games against each other in 2018. The Ravens and Panthers split a doubleheader at Pappas Field on March 24, with Adelphi taking a 5-2 win in the opener and Franklin Pierce answering with an 8-3 win in the nightcap. Strangely, the two also managed to split a three-game series at Adelphi in 2018, on March 3-4. Adelphi took the opener, 4-3 in 10 innings, Franklin Pierce took the second game, 10-3, and then the third game ended in a 2-2 tie after it was called due to darkness.

Previously in the NCAA Championship

Franklin Pierce and Adelphi have met twice previously in the NCAA Championship, but have not done so in more than a decade. The Ravens and Panthers clashed in the 2005 and 2007 editions of the Northeast Regional, both of which were held at Franklin Pierce.

In 2005, Franklin Pierce got a pair of homers as part of a 3-for-4 day from Shawn Hayes, as the Ravens knocked off Adelphi in an elimination game, 12-4. Two years later, the two met in what amounted to a regional semifinal, with the Ravens again sending the Panthers into the offseason, 7-2, as Andrew McNulty and Clay Jenkins combined to author a four-hitter and strikeout nine.

Headed to the Game?

If you plan on making the trip to Long Island on Thursday, directions to Adelphi University and maps of the Garden City campus can be found here: https://visit.adelphi.edu/travel-info/

Ticket prices are set as follows: 

Adults - $8
Children/Seniors - $5
Students (with valid ID) - $3

Per NCAA policy, no complimentary admissions will be issued.

How to Follow Along

If you prefer to follow the action from home, from work or from elsewhere, live stats and video will be available. 

Live stats: https://aupanthers.com/sidearmstats/baseball/summary
Video: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/adelphi/

Up Next

The winner of Thursday's contest will advance into the winner's bracket and will play on Friday at 9 a.m., against the winner of Thursday's 3 p.m. game, which features fourth-seeded Wilmington (Del.) and fifth-seeded NYIT.

The losers of Thursday's two games will meet at noon on Friday, in the first elimination game of the tournament.

Meanwhile, the other East Regional site gets underway on Thursday as well, at Penmen Field in Manchester, N.H. Thursday's matchups in the Granite State feature second seed and host Southern New Hampshire against seventh-seeded Assumption at 3:30 p.m., followed by third-seeded LIU Post against sixth-seeded Felician at 7 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).