April 1, 2010

LaCroix Goes Deep Twice, No. 19 Baseball Sweeps Saint Michael’s, 5-1 and 8-4

Freshman center fielder drives in five runs in doubleheader

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

Nick LaCroix Nick LaCroix hit two home runs and drove in five runs in the doubleheader sweep of Saint Michael's on Thursday.

RINDGE, N.H. (April 1, 2010) – Freshman center fielder Nick LaCroix (Grafton, Mass.) hit two home runs as part of a 3-for-6, five-RBI afternoon on Thursday to lead the No. 19 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of Saint Michael's in non-conference play at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field. Franklin Pierce won the first game, 5-1, and took the nightcap, 8-4.

With the victories, Franklin Pierce improves to 16-8 (4-2 Northeast-10), while Saint Michael's falls to 1-10. Though Saint Michael's is a member of the Northeast-10 Conference in 17 other sports, its baseball team is not and plays as an independent. The first game of the doubleheader was a nine-inning contest, while the second was a seven-inning affair.

In the first game, Franklin Pierce opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, sophomore catcher Mike Dowd (East Bridgewater, Mass.) pulled a double inside third base and down the left-field line. He would move to third on a groundout and score when sophomore first baseman Isaac Wenrich (Westlawn, Pa.) pulled an RBI single through the right side of the infield.

The Ravens picked up another run in the bottom of the second to make it 2-0. Junior right fielder Phil Hendricks (Pittsfield, Maine) led off and drove a double into the gap in right-center field, then moved to third on line-drive single into center by sophomore designated hitter Tim Quinn (Paxton, Mass.). LaCroix followed, grounded a ball to third and reached with an RBI fielder's choice as Quinn was erased at second and Hendricks came in to score.

Franklin Pierce added another in the bottom of the third to push the lead to 3-0. Junior third baseman Derek Ingui (Sterling, Mass.) led off the inning with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and later scored on a wild pitch.

Saint Michael's got on the board with a run in the top of the fourth inning when senior center fielder Matt Beaulieu led off the inning with his first home run of the season, to the opposite field, just beyond the fence in right field.

Dan Kemp Dan Kemp hit 4-for-5 and drove in two runs in Thursday afternoon's doubleheader sweep of Saint Michael's.

Franklin Pierce pushed the lead up to four runs at 5-1 with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Quinn led off with a single off the foot of the pitcher and LaCroix followed with his first collegiate home run, a two-run shot well beyond the left-field fence and into the parking lot.

From there, the bats on both sides would go quiet; the remainder of the game went without a run and the Ravens went on to win by the 5-1 margin.

Freshman right-hander Joe Flynn (Plymouth, Mass.) started on the mound, tossed five innings and picked up the win (2-1) for Franklin Pierce. He allowed one run on two hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out five. The only baserunner sophomore right-hander T.J. Ferguson (Westmoreland, N.H.) allowed over the final four innings was a hit batsman in the ninth. He did not allow a hit or a run, struck out two and picked up his first career save.

Sophomore right-hander Austin Ziskie started on the hill and took the loss (0-3) for Saint Michael's. In six innings of work, he surrendered five runs on eight hits, walked four, threw a wild pitch and did not record a strikeout.

In the second game, Saint Michael's jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Senior third baseman Tim Pilczak led off the frame and pulled his first home run of the season into the left-center field power alley. Three batters later, sophomore shortstop Patrick Lawler punched a two-run double into the right-field corner which chased the Franklin Pierce starter, freshman left-hander Adam Keenan (Lowell, Mass.) from the game. Sophomore right-hander Nate Sermini (Great Barrington, Mass.) entered and walked the only two batters he faced to load the bases before being lifted in favor of freshman right-hander Rob Blanc (Sandy Hook, Conn.). Blanc was greeted with a two-run single back through the middle by Beaulieu before getting a strikeout to end the inning.

Franklin Pierce answered with three runs of its own in the bottom half of the second to tie the game at 3-3. Junior left fielder Mike Munoz (Bronx, N.Y.) led off with a walk, moved to second on a single into left by Quinn and went to third when Hendricks dropped a bunt single down the third-base line to load the bases. LaCroix followed and scorched a line drive to right that hung up long enough for the right-fielder to make the catch, while Munoz came in to score from third to give LaCroix the sacrifice fly and an RBI. After the remaining runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch, freshman shortstop Dan Kemp (Sturbridge, Mass.) lined a two-run single to center field to tie the game.

The Ravens then took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning. Dowd led off, yanked a single into left field and went to second when Ingui followed and dropped a bunt single down the third-base line. A sacrifice bunt by Munoz moved the runners to second and third and both Dowd and Ingui would later score on wild pitches to give Franklin Pierce a 5-3 lead.

Franklin Pierce made it 6-3 in the bottom of the fourth when LaCroix led off the inning with his second home run of the day, this one just beyond the fence to the left of straightaway center.

The Ravens tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to push the lead to 8-3. LaCroix led off with a single left, took second on a delayed steal and scored when Wenrich hammered a ball into the gap in left-center for an RBI double. Two batters later, Wenrich would move to third on a flyout to center and then scored on an RBI infield single deep in the hole at shortstop by Dowd.

Saint Michael's picked up a run on an RBI single back through the middle by sophomore catcher Chad Estey which scored sophomore left fielder Tim McDonnell from third after he reached on an infield single behind the bag at second earlier in the inning.

Keenan started on the mound for Franklin Pierce in the second game, threw 2.1 innings and did not factor in the decision. He allowed two runs on three hits, balked once and struck out two. Blanc earned the win (2-0) out of the bullpen with 3.1 shutout innings of relief. He gave up just two hits, hit a batter and struck out four.

Freshman left-hander Andrew Kelley started on the rubber and took the loss (0-1) for Saint Michael's. In five innings of work, he surrendered six runs on seven hits, walked three, threw four wild pitches and struck out one.

The Ravens return to the field on Saturday, April 3, when they travel to Southern Connecticut State for a Northeast-10 Conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for noon at The Ballpark at SCSU in New Haven, Conn. Franklin Pierce next plays at home on Monday, April 5 in a doubleheader against New Haven at 5 p.m.

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