Ravens cap back-and-forth game with two in ninth to win
Munoz pulled a single down the left-field line in the bottom of the ninth to win Franklin Pierce's first game in the NCAA East Regional on Thursday afternoon.
RINDGE, N.H. (May 19, 2011) – Junior catcher Mike Dowd (East Bridgewater, Mass.) hit a game-tying single and senior right fielder Mike Munoz (Bronx, N.Y.) came up with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon to give the second-seeded and No. 15/25 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University baseball team a 4-3 win over fifth-seeded Massachusetts Lowell on the first day of the NCAA Baseball Championship East Regional, hosted by Franklin Pierce at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field. Sophomore right-hander Ryan Thompson (Calgary, Alberta) went the distance for Franklin Pierce to pick up his 11th win of the season (11-1) matching a program record.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 39-12 and will play at 7 p.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday's final game, which features third-seeded Wilmington and fourth-seeded Southern Connecticut State. With the loss, Massachusetts Lowell falls to 36-13 and faces elimination at 11 a.m. Friday against sixth-seeded Dowling.
After four scoreless innings, the Ravens opened the scoring with a pair of runs, one unearned, in the bottom of the fifth. The inning started at the top of the order, where junior second baseman Dan Hennigan (Downingtown, Pa.) worked a lead-off walk and moved to second on a single through the right side of the infield by senior designated hitter Derek Ingui (Sterling, Mass.). Dowd followed and dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but reached safely at first when Lowell sophomore third baseman James Katsiroubas threw the ball away. The error allowed Hennigan to score the game's first run and Ingui to move to third. Ingui would later score from there on a sacrifice fly to center by freshman first baseman Zach Mathieu (Derry, N.H.).
Lowell would cut the lead in half with a run in the top of the seventh. Senior left fielder Sean Burns opened the inning with a lead-off walk, moved to second on a single to left field by junior shortstop Cam Kneeland and took third on a sacrifice bunt. Burns would score from there on an RBI groundout by freshman designated hitter Dylan Flynn.
The River Hawks jumped to the lead with two more runs in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs, senior second baseman Connor Burnham dumped a single into left field, stole second and moved to third when Dowd's errant throw escaped into center field. The error proved academic however, as sophomore right fielder Pat Devlin followed and launched his first home run of the season over the left-field fence to give Lowell the lead.
After the bottom of the eighth and top of the ninth went scoreless, Franklin Pierce picked up two runs to win the ballgame in the bottom of the ninth. Hennigan started things with a lead-off walk and moved to second on a groundout before Dowd yanked a single over the head of the third baseman to drive home Hennigan and tie the game. Dowd moved to second while Mathieu reached on an error and moved to third when sophomore left fielder Nick LaCroix (Grafton, Mass.) bounced into a fielder's choice that saw Mathieu erased at second base, but also set the table for Munoz. Munoz eventually pulled a ball inside the bag at third and down the left-field line to score Dowd with the winning run.
Thompson threw his fourth complete game of the season to pick up the win on the mound for Franklin Pierce. He allowed three runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out one. He regularly got Lowell hitters to swing at breaking pitches on the outer half of the plate, leading to nine groundballs to shortstop by the River Hawks. The win matches a program record for wins in a season, originally set by Mike Adams in 2008.
Junior left-hander Jack Leathersich started, threw eight innings and did not factor in the decision for Massachusetts Lowell. He allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits, walked five, threw a wild pitch and struck out 11. Senior right-hander Dustin Ramey took the loss (2-5) out of the bullpen for the River Hawks. Over two-thirds of an inning, he allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). 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).