FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (March 21, 2007) - Nova Southeastern University, ranked 7th in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II poll and 15th in the Collegiate Baseball magazine rankings, scored eight runs over the first two innings and withstood a rally down the stretch by Franklin Pierce, ranked 10th in the NCBWA poll and 12th in the Collegiate Baseball rankings, at the NSU Baseball Complex tonight.
Nova Southeastern scored eight of its ten runs in its first two at bats to open an 8-0 lead, but Franklin Pierce closed within three runs on two occasions before the Sharks closed the door. Sophomore right-hander Raymon Garcia (Sunrise, Fla.) improved to 4-0 on the mound, allowing six runs, five earned, on six hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in 7.1 innings. Relivers Nick Carris (Orlando, Fla.) and Shawn Langlois (West Palm Beach, Fla.) held Franklin Pierce to just a pair of walks in a combined 1.2 innings of no-hit shutout relief to thwart the Ravens comeback.
Langlois, who started at shortstop before pitching the ninth, led the NSU offensive attack, going 3-for-4 with a double, three stolen bases (including his 30th of the season) and three runs scored. Senior Chris Reynolds (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) was 2-3 with three runs scored, while sophomore Pete Simon (Lake Worth, Fla.) hit 2-5 with an RBI. Sophomore Rhys Roberts (Parkland, Fla.) and junior Jimmy Sposa (Coconut Creek, Fla.) added three and two RBI, respectively.
Five Franklin Pierce batters notched multi-hit games for the Ravens, who out-hit Nova Southeastern, 13-11, on the night. Junior Kevin Renaud (Southbridge, Mass./Southbridge), a transfer from Becker College, continues to swing a hot bat, finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Twin brother Keith Renaud (Southbridge, Mass./Southbridge), also a Becker transfer, was 2-4 with two runs scored, while junior Matt Anderson (Medford, Mass./Medford) hit 2-5 with a stolen base. Seniors Jake Christman (Newton, Mass./Newton South) and Cory Shepherd (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) both batted 2-4, with Christman scoring a run and Shepherd adding a double and RBI.
Sophomore Tom Cote (Swanzey, N.H./Monadnock Regional), a transfer from Massachusetts, suffered his first loss for the Ravens (2-1) as he was touched for eight earned runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout in 1.2 innings. The earned runs were the first against Cote this season as he had entered the game without yielding an earned run over his first 14.1 innings of work.
Sophomore Mike Adams (Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park) entered in the second and gave Franklin Pierce a chance at the comeback, holding NSU to an earned run on three hits with two strikeouts and two walks over the next 5.1 innings before being lifted after the game was halted for 66 minutes in the top of the eighth because of rain.
The first four Nova Southeastern batters reached base as the Sharks scored six times in their first at bat. Junior Matt Mindick (Boynton Beach, Fla.) starting things with an RBI single, before Sposa delivered a two-run double and Roberts capped it with a three-run home run. The Sharks added two more in the second to chase Cote as Langlois doubled and later scored on a double play before Simon notched an RBI single up the middle.
Franklin Pierce got back in the game with two in the third and three more in the fourth. Senior Vinny Pennell (Spencer, Mass./David Prouty) and Keith Renaud led off the third with singles before Kevin Renaud's first double of the night brought in the first run of the game. Freshman Kevin Rivers (Bristol, Connl./Bristol Eastern) added an RBI single through the left side. In the fourth, sophomore Cliff Hicks (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) drew a leadoff walk and later scored when Pennell reached on a fielder's choice. Kevin Renaud's second double home Keith Renaud (single).
NSU got a run back in the home half of the fourth with an RBI single from junior Bryan Cook (Rockledge, Fla.). Neither team scored until the eighth when Christman singled up the middle with one out and scored on a double from Shepherd down the line in left. Play ended there with the 66-minute rain delay and when the game resumed, the Ravens proceeded to load the bases after Carris struck out the first batter he faced with a walk and hit batter. However, Anderson was called out for batter's interference to end the inning.
The Sharks got that run right back in the bottom of the eighth as Langlois drew a lead off walk and came around to score with thanks to a pair of errors on failed pickoff attempts sandwiched around an single from Reynolds. Rivers drew a leadoff walk off Langlois in the top of the ninth, but the senior reliever settled down to retire the next three Franklin Pierce batters in order.
Franklin Pierce (13-3, 0-0 NE-10) closes out its spring break trip tomorrow night when it faces Palm Beach Atlantic University, at Palm Beach Gardens High School, at 6 p.m. Nova Southeastern (25-4, 2-1 SSC) opens a three-game Sunshine State Conference series with No. 7/12 Florida Southern College on Friday here at the NSU Baseball Complex at 6 p.m.