WINGATE, N.C. (March 15, 2017) – It has often been a struggle to string together offense for the Franklin Pierce University baseball team on the young 2017 season, but it was not a problem on Wednesday afternoon. Senior shortstop Lucas Luopa (Keene, N.H.) went 6-for-6 and senior second baseman Kyle Hood (Arlington, Mass.) scored five times, as the Ravens hammered out 17 hits to post a 15-9 win over Wingate in non-conference play at Ron Christopher Stadium.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 7-6, while Wingate falls to 13-12.
In what would turn into somewhat of a wild affair on Wednesday afternoon, Wingate opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, freshman left fielder Joseph Mason singled through the left side of the infield, moved to second on a single to center by junior designated hitter Bradley Brown and scored when sophomore catcher Andrew Llewellyn clubbed a double to the fence in right-center field.
Franklin Pierce responded forcefully, taking control of the game with seven runs in the top of the second inning. Though Wingate was charged with just one error in the inning, the Bulldogs also failed to cover first base on a bunt attempt and failed to turn over a tailor-made double play ball, giving the Ravens extra outs and resulting in the big inning.
Franklin Pierce sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning and collected seven hits. Junior left fielder Adam Chase (Bridgewater, Mass.) opened the inning with a single to right field and would later cap the frame's scoring by pulling a two-run single down the left-field line. Luopa and junior right fielder Harrison Smoske (Burlington, Mass.) had RBI singles in the inning, while junior third baseman John Friday (Southborough, Mass.) knocked in a run with a fielder's choice and junior center fielder Tim Going (Islip, N.Y.) drove in a run while reaching on an error.
The Ravens picked up two more unearned runs in the top of the third to push the lead as high as 9-1. Going and Hood reached on back-to-back errors by Wingate sophomore shortstop Reece Daniel to open the inning. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Luopa would cash them both in with a two-run double down the left-field line.
Wingate plated four runs in the home half of the third to cut the gap to 9-5. Things started with a one-out single through the left side by Mason, who went first-to-third on a single through the right side by Brown. An RBI single down the left-field line by senior third baseman Colby Barnette brought home Mason, before junior right fielder Trent Wynn cashed in a pair of runs with a double down the right-field line. Freshman second baseman McCann Mellett capped the inning's scoring with an RBI single back through the middle.
The Bulldogs picked up two more runs in the home half of the fourth to make it a 9-7 game. With one out, Mason doubled over the head of Chase in left field and scored two batters later, as Llewellyn followed with a two-run home run just to the left of the scoreboard down the left-field line, his fourth homer of the season.
Franklin Pierce answered with two runs in the top of the fifth to push the lead to 11-7. Hood started things by going the other way and knocking a one-out double into the gap in right-center field. He would score two batters later on an RBI single to center by Luopa, who would steal second and then score on an RBI double to center by Friday.
The Ravens made it a 12-7 game with a run in the top of the sixth. Junior first baseman Dalton Davis (Birmingham, Ala.) led off the inning and clubbed a long, solo home run to right-center field, his second of the season.
Two more runs in the top of the seventh pushed the lead back up to 14-7. Hood singled to center leading off, moved around to third on a double down the right-field line by Smoske and scored on an RBI single into right-center by Luopa. Smoske moved to third on the Luopa single and would score on a passed ball.
Wingate picked up a run in the home half of the seventh to make it 14-8. Mellett worked a one-out walk, moved to second on a single through the right side by junior center fielder Ty Andrus, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch.
The two teams traded runs in the ninth inning to create the 15-9 final. In the top half, Hood was hit by a pitch and later came home to score while Friday reached on an error. In the bottom half, Mellett singled leading off and ultimately scored on an RBI groundout by Andrus.
Senior right-hander Cody McPartland (Sound Beach, N.Y.) took the ball for the Ravens, but lasted just four innings on the hill and did not factor in the decision. He allowed seven runs on 12 hits, hit a batter and struck out two. Fellow senior right-hander Ben Collincini (Freehold, N.J.) took over from there, threw a scoreless fifth with one walk and one strikeout, and was ultimately credited with the win (1-0).
On the other side of the ledger, McPartland's starting counterpart had things even worse, as freshman right-hander Alex Rodriguez (0-1) lasted just two innings on the rubber for Wingate. He was tagged for seven runs (four earned) on eight hits, threw one wild pitch and struck out three.
The Ravens are currently scheduled to return to the field on Tuesday, March 21, with a non-conference contest at Post. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m. at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury, Conn., but the upcoming schedule remains subject to change in the wake of Winter Storm Stella.
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).