RINDGE, N.H. (April 9, 2017) – To put it simply, runs were not at a premium on Sunday afternoon at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field. Over the course of a doubleheader, the Franklin Pierce University baseball team and Southern Connecticut State combined for 52 runs on 56 hits, while a combined 24 pitchers needed 658 pitches to get through the afternoon. In the first game, SCSU used eight runs in the fourth to key a 15-11 victory, while Franklin Pierce answered with a 17-9 win after nine in the fifth and five in the sixth in the second game.
With the split, Franklin Pierce moves to 16-9 (8-3 NE10) on the season, while SCSU now stands at 16-7-1 (5-3 NE10).
In the first of what would be two games of three-plus hours each on Sunday, SCSU jumped on the board with three runs in the top of the first inning. The first three batters of the game all reached, as junior shortstop Jim Palmer singled into left-center, before sophomore designated hitter Nick Lamberti and sophomore first baseman Tyler Criscuolo took back-to-back walks to load the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout, senior center fielder Kyle Hart knocked in the game's first run with an RBI groundout, and then sophomore catcher Mike DeMartino lined a two-out single to center field to plate Lamberti and Criscuolo.
Franklin Pierce picked up an unearned run in the bottom of the second to make it 3-1. Junior catcher Stephen Octave (New Windsor, N.Y.) led off and drove a fly ball deep into the gap in left-center, which one-hopped over the fence for a ground-rule double. He would score three batters later, when freshman left fielder J.R. DiSarcina (Barnstable, Mass.) reached on an infield single. On what would have been a bang-bang play at first, the throw from Palmer was low and skipped passed the first baseman, which allowed Octave to come home to score.
SCSU broke the game wide open with an octet of runs in the top of the fourth inning. The Owls sent 12 men to the plate and collected six hits along the way. Only four SCSU players picked up RBIs in the frame, as three runs scored on wild pitches and another came across on an error. Freshman left fielder Nolan Cloutier had an RBI single, both senior third baseman Greg Zullo and DeMartino had RBI doubles, and Hart drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, after he had already doubled and scored earlier in the inning. It would take five Franklin Pierce pitchers to get through the frame, two of which would not record an out.
Franklin Pierce cut into the gap in the bottom of the fourth, as junior third baseman John Friday (Southborough, Mass.) launched his first of two home runs in the game. He turned on the first pitch of his at-bat and drove his second homer of the season an estimated 370 feet to left-center field.
The Ravens made things more interesting with five runs in the home half of the sixth to trim the deficit to 11-7. All nine batters came to the plate in the inning, and Friday had the big blow of the frame with another home run. This one was a two-run shot the other way, of an estimated 355 feet to straightaway right field. Also in the inning, junior center fielder Adam Chase (Bridgewater, Mass.) drove in a run with a ground-rule double, while freshman left fielder Richard DiMartino (Yonkers, N.Y.) and freshman second baseman John Duffy (Stratford, Conn.) both knocked in runs with groundouts.
With the gap closed to a more manageable amount, the pitching staff immediately allowed SCSU to reclaim three runs in the top of the seventh, pushing the lead back out to 14-7, and all but putting the game away. Both Palmer and Zullo provided RBI singles in the frame, while another run scored via a first-and-third double steal.
Franklin Pierce picked up two runs in the home half of the seventh to make it 14-9. Chase was hit by a pitch and later scored on a wild pitch, while Friday doubled to the gap in left-center and ultimately scored on an RBI single to center by junior first baseman Dalton Davis (Birmingham, Ala.).
SCSU extended the lead to 15-9 with an insurance run in the top of the eighth. Freshman catcher Trevor Whalen walked leading off and eventually scored as Palmer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. It was the third batter hit by Ravens pitching in the inning. Franklin Pierce hurlers would combine to hit five batters and walk eight in the game.
Franklin Pierce put together single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to create the 15-11 final. In the eighth, graduate student right fielder Anthony DeDona (Bethpage, N.Y.) was hit by a pitch with two outs and came all the way around to score on a triple into the gap in right-center by senior shortstop Lucas Luopa (Keene, N.H.). In the ninth, Friday doubled leading off -- his fourth hit of the game -- and later scored for the fourth time in the contest on a sacrifice fly to center by Davis.
Sophomore right-hander Zach Hart (Wallingford, Conn.) started on the mound in the first game for Franklin Pierce and needed 65 pitches (40 strikes) to get through 3.1 innings. He allowed six runs on six hits, walked two, struck out four and suffered the loss (2-2).
Meanwhile, junior left-hander Griffin Bremer (4-1) took the ball for SCSU and threw 73 pitches (49 strikes) over five innings, plus six batters in the sixth without recording an out. He was tagged for seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, walked one, threw a wild pitch and struck out three, but picked up the win anyway. Sophomore right-hander Quantique White logged the final four innings, allowed four runs on four hits, hit two batters, threw a pair of wild pitches and struck out one while picking up his second save of the season.
In the second game, SCSU again opened the scoring immediately, this time with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Palmer led off with a double to center and Lamberti followed with a double to right field, with Palmer only advancing to third after holding to make sure the ball was not caught. The second double spelled an early end of the day for the Franklin Pierce starter, freshman right-hander Thomas Sperino (Mendon, Mass.), who left due to injury after just four pitches. Senior right-hander Ben Collincini (Freehold, N.J.) took over and allowed an RBI groundout to Criscuolo, before uncorking a wild pitch to score Lamberti as well.
Franklin Pierce cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second inning. DeDona worked a seven-pitch walk with two outs, moved to second on an infield single by senior second baseman Kyle Hood (Arlington, Mass.), and then scored on a sharp single to center by freshman shortstop Joe Napolitano (Port St. Lucie, Fla.).
The Owls pushed the lead out to 5-1 with a trio of runs in the top of the third. A single by freshman designated hitter John Spoto, a single by Lamberti and a walk to Criscuolo loaded the bases with one away for Zullo. Zullo welcomed junior right-hander Ryan Covelle (Medford, Mass.) to the game by going the other way and driving a three-run triple down the right-field line and into the corner.
Franklin Pierce closed the deficit to 5-3 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Davis singled to center leading off and moved to third on a double to right field by freshman catcher Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.). Davis scored on an RBI groundout by DeDona, while Jones then scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Hood.
SCSU got the runs right back in the top of the fifth to make it 7-3. Lamberti reached on an infield single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Zullo, while Criscuolo reached on an error and later scored on an RBI double to right-center by freshman right fielder Connor Redahan.
Franklin Pierce took the lead for good with a nine-spot in the bottom half of the fifth to surge in front, 12-7. The Ravens sent 15 men to the plate in the inning, as they hammered out seven hits and capitalized on five walks along the way. Every man in the lineup scored at least once in the inning, except Napolitano, who did drive in a run with a bases-loaded walk. In addition, every man in the lineup drove in at least one run in the inning, with the exception of DeDona, who did walk and score. Chase and Octave each had two hits in the inning, with the latter providing the only two-run hit of the frame, a two run single inside the bag at third and down the left-field line. Chase and Davis both had RBI singles, Hood and Napolitano both drew bases-loaded walks, Friday hit a sacrifice fly and Luopa bounced into a fielder's choice which plated a run. Jones had an RBI double in the inning as well.
SCSU kept things close with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to cut the deficit to 12-9. Palmer and Lamberti each cracked one-out singles, and both would later score on a two-run single to right-center by Zullo. Later, with the bases full and the tying run on first, graduate student right-hander Jared Habershaw (Kingston, R.I.) rolled up a 5-2-3 double play to escape further damage.
The Ravens put the game away with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, which would also stand as the final runs of the game, creating the 17-9 final. Davis had the key blow, with a two-run single to right-center field. Octave drove in his third run of the game with an RBI single and Chase bounced into an RBI fielder's choice, while the remaining run scored on an error.
Sperino started, threw just the four pitches, did not record an out and did not factor in the decision. He was charged with two runs after his departure and allowed two hits. Graduate student right-hander Adam Fournier (Dartmouth, Mass.) was the beneficiary of the Franklin Pierce offensive breakout in the fifth inning. He was ultimately credited with the win (1-0) after two-thirds of an inning of work, during which he allowed two runs (one earned) on three this, walked two and struck out one.
Senior right-hander Cole Bryant made the start for SCSU in the second game and also did not factor in the decision, after using 77 pitches (47 strikes) to get through four innings, plus four batters without recording an out in the fifth. He was hit for seven runs on eight hits, walked two, balked once and struck out two. Junior right-hander Christopher Ramos (0-1) took the loss for the Owls, after a relief outing in which he did not retire a hitter. He faced four batters and was eventually charged with four runs on two hits and a pair of walks.
The Ravens return to the field on Tuesday, April 11, when they remain home to host Saint Michael's in an NE10 Northeast Division contest. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Pappas Field.
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).