February 25, 2012

Roche, Walsh Lead No. 16/16 Baseball to Doubleheader Sweep of Chestnut Hill

Ravens steal 12 bases in twinbill

Roche Roche clubbed his first home run as a Raven on just the second day of the season on his way to a four-hit doubleheader.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (February 25, 2012) – Freshman catcher Matt Walsh (Plymouth, Mass.) hit 4-for-7 with a double, scored two runs and drove in two more, while graduate student center fielder James Roche (Arlington, Mass.) went 4-for-8 with a solo home run and a double on Saturday afternoon, as the No. 16/16 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University baseball team swept a doubleheader from Chestnut Hill in non-conference play at The Ripken Experience.

With the sweep, Franklin Pierce improves to 3-1 (0-0 Northeast-10), while Chestnut Hill falls to 0-4 (0-0 Central Atlantic). The doubleheader marked the first-ever meetings between the two schools on the baseball diamond.

In the first game, Chestnut Hill opened the scoring with a run in the top of the second inning. Junior shortstop Joe Crane worked a lead-off walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored two batters later on an RBI double by junior catcher Timothy DiMonte.

Franklin Pierce answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-1 lead and never looked back. With one out, junior third baseman Anthony Peguero (Hyde Park, Mass.) reached on an error and moved to second when Walsh followed with a single. Peguero scored when junior designated hitter Eric Romano (North Branford, Conn.) hit an RBI single that eventually left Walsh on third and Romano on second after the throw came to the plate in an attempt to throw out Peguero. Walsh and Romano would both score on a two-run single to right by sophomore left fielder Calvin Graves (Boston, Mass.).

Chestnut Hill cut the deficit in half with a run in the top of the third. Senior second baseman Jesse Daywalt started the frame with a single and set about manufacturing a run on his own by stealing second base and then third. He would score from there on a sacrifice fly by Crane.

The Ravens responded immediately with a run in the bottom half to make it a 4-2 game. Junior shortstop Dan Kemp (Sturbridge, Mass.) mirrored Daywalt's one-man show by hitting a single and then stealing second and third as well, then scored when Roche followed with an RBI single.

Franklin Pierce tacked on runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to push the lead to 6-2. In the sixth, junior right fielder Nick LaCroix (Grafton, Mass.) led off with a walk, then stole second and moved to third as Dimonte's throw to second went wild. Two batters later, Walsh brought in LaCroix with an RBI single. In the seventh, Roche hit his first home run as a Raven, a one-out, solo shot.

The Griffins clawed out a pair of runs in the top of the ninth to create the 6-4 final, as their rally ultimately came up short. Senior first baseman Andrew Koziol and freshman pinch hitter Nick Naumann opened the inning with back-to-back singles, and the former scored on an RBI single by sophomore center fielder Desmond Lites. Senior left fielder Alex Latchum was next and hit another RBI single that pushed Lites around to third and left the tying run at first base with nobody out.

From there, baserunning would finish off Chestnut Hill, as Lites was caught stealing home on a botched first-and-third play, and Latchum was eventually picked off of first to end the ballgame.

Freshman right-hander Dan Gilchrist (Medford, Mass.) started and did not factor in the decision on the mound for the Ravens. Over 1.1 innings, he allowed one run on two hits, walked three and committed a balk. Junior right-hander Matt Horan (Boston, Mass.) took over from there and eventually picked up the win (1-0) out of the bullpen. Over 3.1 innings, he allowed one run on four hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out two. Senior right-hander Rob Nicholas (Southborough, Mass.) recorded the final two outs to pick up his first save of the season. It was his 23rd career save, a number that is believed to be a program record.

Junior right-hander John Flack started on the hill and took the loss (0-1) for Chestnut Hill. In three innings of work, he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, walked one and struck out three.

In the second game, Franklin Pierce took the lead for good right out of the gate with three runs in the top of the first inning. Senior second baseman Dan Hennigan (Downingtown, Pa.) opened with a lead-off single, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI double by Kemp. Roche made it back-to-back doubles and drove in Kemp, while LaCroix followed two batters later with an RBI single to score Roche.

The two teams traded runs in the fourth inning to stake the Ravens to a 4-1 lead. In the top half, Walsh started the inning with a double, stole third and later scored on a wild pitch. In the bottom half, freshman third baseman Taylor Steen worked a lead-off walk, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a groundout and scored on an RBI groundout by sophomore designated hitter Ray Puskar.

The teams again traded runs in the sixth to create the 5-2 final. In the top half, Peguero hit a one-out single, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Walsh. In the bottom half, Latchum worked a lead-off walk and would eventually score an unearned run while Daywalt reached on an error.

Sophomore left-hander Vladimir Camacho (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) picked up the win (1-0) in his first Franklin Pierce start after spending last season with Western Oklahoma State. Over six innings of work, he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, walked three, hit a batter and struck out three. Freshman right-hander Kris Doyle (Millbury, Mass.) walked the first two batters he faced, but then retired the next three in the bottom of the seventh to tally his first career save.

Freshman right-hander Seamus Finnegan took the loss (0-1) on the hill for Chestnut Hill.

The Ravens return to the field on Sunday, Feb. 26, when they wrap up their season-opening trip to Myrtle Beach with a non-conference contest against West Virginia Wesleyan. First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at The Ripken Experience.

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).

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