April 20, 2013

Walsh Three-Homer Day Leads No. 29 Baseball to Doubleheader Sweep of Stonehill, 6-1 and 8-4

Kemp adds home run in first game

Walsh Walsh hit his first three home runs of the season in Saturday's doubleheader sweep of Stonehill.

RINDGE, N.H. (April 20, 2013) – Sophomore catcher/designated hitter Matt Walsh (Plymouth, Mass.), who had hit just .226/.310/.258 over 17 games since returning from Florida, put a ringing end to his slump on Saturday afternoon, when he went 4-for-8 with three home runs and a double to lead the No. 29 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of Stonehill in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division play at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field. Franklin Pierce took the first game, 6-1, before plating four runs from the sixth inning on to come away with an 8-4 win in the second game.

With the wins, Franklin Pierce improves to 26-12 (16-3 Northeast-10, 9-3 Northeast Division), while Stonehill falls to 20-16 (8-10 Northeast-10, 6-6 Northeast Division). The two teams will meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Pappas Field to wrap up the three-game weekend series.

In all, Walsh nearly doubled his career home run output with his Saturday afternoon bombardment of Stonehill. He hit four round-trippers as a freshman in 2012 and had been homerless through the first 35 games of the 2013 campaign. Walsh hit two home runs in the first game of the day to record the second multiple-home run game of the season for the Ravens. Junior first baseman Zach Mathieu (Derry, N.H.) hit two home runs in a 12-5 win at Lynn on March 19.

Franklin Pierce opened the scoring in the first game with a run in the bottom of the first inning. With one out and nobody on, senior shortstop Dan Kemp (Sturbridge, Mass.) got a first-pitch fastball over the middle of the plate, turned on it and ripped a solo home run over the left-field fence, his third of the season.

The Ravens doubled the lead to 2-0 with an unearned run in the bottom of the third. Junior left fielder Calvin Graves (Boston, Mass.) opened the inning with a line-drive single to center field. He stole second and went to third on the play as an errant throw from Stonehill sophomore catcher Matt Anziano skipped away into shallow center field. Graves would score from third two batters later on an RBI groundout by Mathieu.

Franklin Pierce tacked on three more in the bottom of the fourth to push the lead to 5-0. Walsh led off and drove the first pitch the other way, over the 365-foot sign in right-center field for his first home run of the season. Later, with two outs and nobody on, sophomore third baseman Matt O'Herron (Springfield, Mass.) worked a six-pitch walk and came all the way around to score when freshman second baseman Justin Brock (Latham, N.Y.) poked an RBI triple the other way down the right-field line. Brock would later score on a wild pitch.

The teams traded single runs in the eighth inning to create the 6-1 final. In the top half, Anziano led off with a double into the gap in right-center, moved to third on a single through the right side by freshman second baseman Chris Hoyt and scored on an RBI single into right-center by senior center fielder James DeAlto. In the home half of the frame, Walsh launched his second home run of the game, this one a one-out solo shot just to the right of the 365-foot sign in left-center field.

Junior right-hander Kevin McGowan (Nashua, N.H.) took the ball for Franklin Pierce in the first game on Saturday and scattered eight hits over eight innings. He allowed one run, walked one and struck out six while expending 113 pitches on the way to the win (5-0).

Stonehill countered with sophomore right-hander Jim Duff, who was knocked out after four innings. He allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, walked three, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and struck out three while taking the loss (4-4).

Stonehill opened the scoring in the second game with a run in the top of the first inning. Hoyt led-off the game with an eight-pitch walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Freshman designated hitter Brian Campbell followed with a four-pitch walk of his own to put runners at first and second with one out, but then Hoyt was picked off second base. Campbell went first-to-third on a hit-and-run single to left field by junior third baseman Dan Fratus, which spelled the end of the day for senior right-hander Ryan Thompson (Calgary, Alberta), who exited in the first inning for his second straight start, after leaving after three pitches due to injury at Bentley a week ago. Junior right-hander Ryan Leach (Farmingdale, Maine) was greeted by a ground ball by junior first baseman Anthony Pagano which snuck inside the bag at third base and down the left-field line for an RBI double.

The Ravens would respond an inning later with four runs in the home half of the second to take a 4-1 lead. Walsh opened the frame with his third solo home run of the day, this one a high fly ball to straightaway left field. Later, with two outs and the bases empty, O'Herron started things up again with a full-count single into left-center and took second on a wild pitch before Brock was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Graves followed and drove a ball into the gap in left-center field which one-hopped the fence for a double to drive in both runs. Graves would score from second on an RBI single through the left side by Kemp.

Stonehill would tie the game with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Campbell led off with a single into left-center and moved to second when Fratus followed and looped another single into left-center. Both runners would score when Pagano clubbed a three-run home run to left-center field, the first of his career.

Franklin Pierce immediately answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth to reclaim the lead at 5-4. With one out, junior designated hitter Marty Dunlap (Dorchester, Mass.) reached on an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop, took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundout. This brought Brock back to the plate with a runner at third and two outs. He pushed a safety-squeeze bunt into no man's land between first base, second base and the pitcher and legged out an RBI single while Dunlap came home to score.

Next time up, the Ravens would tack on a trio of insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh to create the 8-4 final. With one out, senior right fielder Nick LaCroix (Grafton, Mass.) worked an eight-pitch walk. Walsh followed and narrowly missed his fourth home run of the doubleheader by driving a ball the other way and knocking a double off the top of the fence in straightaway right which moved LaCroix to third. LaCroix scored on an infield RBI single deep in the hole on the left side by Dunlap, which put runners at first and third for O'Herron. The Ravens put Dunlap in motion on a 2-1 pitch, and O'Herron hit a sinking line drive to shallow center field. DeAlto read the ball well off the bat and was close enough to make a diving attempt which finished with the ball in his glove. However, the base umpire ruled he trapped the ball -- a decision Stonehill did not protest -- which allowed Walsh to score, and Dunlap to come all the way around from first to score as well, with two outs and a head start on the play.

Leach logged 6.1 innings and threw 108 pitches in what amounted to a spot-start situation after taking over for Thompson in the first. He allowed three runs on five hits, walked three and struck out five while picking up the win (4-3). Sophomore right-hander Doug Willey (Shelburne, N.H.) took over with runners on second and third in a four-run game with two outs in the eighth and went the rest of the way, allowing one hit -- which he immediately erased on a double play -- to pick up his third save of the season. Franklin Pierce pitching did not record a flyball out in the second game, as the staff got groundouts on each of its 17 outs which came on a ball put in play.

Junior left-hander Zach Soulier started the second game for Stonehill. Over 5.2 innings, he allowed five runs on eight hits, walked two, threw six wild pitches, hit a batter and struck out five while taking the loss (3-3)

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). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce baseball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).

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