Jabs, DiTondo, Brock all hit home runs
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (February 28, 2016) – Before leaving town on Sunday, the No. 4/5 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University baseball team capped its five-day trip to South Carolina with an early-season statement win, pounding out 15 hits at The Ripken Experience, en route to a 12-4 win over Wilmington (Del.), the defending East Region champion. Making his first collegiate start, senior left-hander Gage Griffin (Moosup, Conn.) fired 7.2 innings of one-run ball.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 5-0 to start the season, while Wilmington falls to 1-3. It marks the second straight year the Ravens have opened the season with five wins in Myrtle Beach, and they did so while outscoring opponents by a combined 46-10.
After a scoreless first, Franklin Pierce got all the runs it would need in the top of the second on Sunday, as it plated five runs on four hits. Senior shortstop Justin Brock (Latham, N.Y.) had the big blow of the inning, with a two-run, inside-the-park home run, his first of the season. The home run also drove in sophomore catcher Christopher Stanford (Quebec City, Quebec), who had just clubbed a two-run double to score senior second baseman Kurtis White (Nahant, Mass.) and senior right fielder Max DiTondo (Marshfield, Mass.). Also in the inning, DiTondo had an RBI single to score senior first baseman Matt O'Herron (Springfield, Mass.).
The Ravens added three more runs in the third inning to push the lead to 8-0. With two outs, DiTondo socked his second home run of the season, a solo shot to right field. Stanford followed with a two-out walk, stole second and scored on an RBI double to left by Brock. Brock would score when senior center fielder Maxx Sheehan (San Jose, Calif.) followed with an RBI single to right.
Wilmington picked up a run in the bottom half of the third to cut the lead to 8-1. With two outs and nobody on, freshman center fielder Julian Kurych hit a double and then scored on an RBI triple to right by freshman second baseman Max Carney.
Franklin Pierce answered immediately with a run in the top of the fourth to reclaim the eight-run lead, at 9-1. Jabs led off the inning with his second home run of the season, a solo shot to right field.
Each team would score twice in the eighth and once in the ninth to create the 12-4 final. For Franklin Pierce in the eighth, Sheehan tripled and scored on an RBI single by graduate student left fielder Matt Burns (Plantation, Fla.), who would score on a pinch-hit, RBI triple by sophomore John Friday (Southborough, Mass.). In the ninth, Brock reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on a passed ball.
For Wilmington in the eighth, freshman shortstop Dan Hyatt reached on an error and later scored an unearned run as freshman first baseman Kendall Small reached on an error, while freshman Regan Hidalgo worked a pinch-hit walk and later scored an unearned run when freshman right fielder Brad Scull was hit by a pitch to force in a run. In the ninth, Kurych knocked a double into the gap in left-center and then scored on an RBI single to left by Hyatt.
Making his first collegiate start after three years in the bullpen, Griffin (1-0) allowed just one run on five hits over 7.2 innings. He walked one, threw a wild pitch and struck out three on the way to the victory.
For Wilmington, junior right-hander John Hetterman (0-1) took the baseball, but he lasted just two innings on the hill. He was touched for five runs on five hits, walked two and struck out one.
The Ravens return to the field on Saturday, March 5, when they travel to Adelphi for a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is set for noon at Bonomo Field in Garden City, N.Y.
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).