Downing Four-Hitter Leads Way as No. 15/22 Baseball Slips Past No. 29 Massachusetts Lowell, 3-2, to Stave Off Elimination at Northeast-10 Championship

Downing Four-Hitter Leads Way as No. 15/22 Baseball Slips Past No. 29 Massachusetts Lowell, 3-2, to Stave Off Elimination at Northeast-10 Championship

Downing fans 11; Dowd, Mathieu key two-run sixth

Dowd Dowd drove home the tying run and scored the eventual winning run in the sixth inning on Friday night against Massachusetts Lowell.

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (May 13, 2011) – Junior left-hander Gregg Downing (Queens, N.Y.) threw a four-hitter and struck out 11 on Friday night to lead the second-seeded and No. 15/22 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University baseball team to a 3-2 win over third-seeded and No. 29 Massachusetts Lowell in an elimination game on the first day of the Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Championship, hosted by Adelphi at Jackie Robinson Athletic Complex on the campus of SUNY Old Westbury. Junior catcher Mike Dowd (East Bridgewater, Mass.) and freshman first baseman Zach Mathieu (Derry, N.H.) each drove in a run in a two-run sixth that gave Franklin Pierce the lead for good.

With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 37-12 and will play another elimination game at 4 p.m. Saturday against the loser of tomorrow's first game, which features top-seeded Southern Connecticut State and second-seeded Adelphi. The Owls and Panthers will play at noon. With the loss, Massachusetts Lowell falls to 36-12 and is eliminated from the Championship.

Lowell opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning. Junior center fielder Matt Jacobs led off the game with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and took third on a groundout before scoring on a wild pitch.

Franklin Pierce would tie the game at 1-1 with a run in the bottom of the second. Senior right fielder Mike Munoz (Bronx, N.Y.) led off with a double to right field and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore shortstop Dan Kemp (Sturbridge, Mass.). Munoz would score two batters later on an RBI single to right by freshman third baseman Josh Rouse (Milford, Conn.).

Lowell jumped back in front, 2-1, with a run in the top of the fifth. With two outs, senior second baseman Connor Burnham reached on an error by Rouse at third and moved to second on a bunt single by junior catcher Bryan Deuel. Burnham would take third and score on back-to-back walks to Jacobs and senior left fielder Sean Burns.

Franklin Pierce would strike for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the 3-2 lead that would hold up as the final score. Junior second baseman Dan Hennigan (Downingtown, Pa.) led off the frame with a walk and moved to second on a groundout. He would score the tying run on an RBI double to the gap in left-center field by Dowd, which chased the Lowell starting pitcher, sophomore left-hander Vinny DePierro, from the game in favor of junior right-hander Dallas Nunes. Mathieu greeted Nunes with an RBI single through the right side of the infield that scored Dowd and would prove to be the game-winning hit. Mathieu has the game-winning RBI in both of Franklin Pierce's wins in the Northeast-10 Championship.

Downing went the distance on the hill to pick up the win (9-1) for Franklin Pierce. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, walked five and struck out 11, the sixth time this season he has reached double digits. Downing has both of the Ravens' wins in the tournament, as he picked up the victory out of the bullpen on Wednesday night against Stonehill.

DePierro started on the rubber and took the loss (4-2) for Massachusetts Lowell. Over 5.1 innings, he allowed three runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four.

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