***UPDATE (Saturday, 7:30 a.m.): Saturday's championship round has been postponed, to to anticipated heavy rain. It has been rescheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on SUNDAY.
RINDGE, N.H. (May 12, 2017) – After a day off to do wet weather on Saturday, on Sunday at Frank Vieira Field at the University of New Haven, the Franklin Pierce University baseball team will look to finish off its league-record sixth Northeast-10 Conference Championship. If necessary, the Ravens will have two cracks at beating the host Chargers, with only one win necessary to bring home the trophy.
Play will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, with a second game to follow 35 minutes after, should New Haven win the first game. Results from the tournament thus far have been as follows.
Northeast-10 Baseball Championship
Hosted by University of New Haven
Frank Vieira Field
West Haven, Conn.
(Seeds in parentheses)
Thursday, May 11
Game 5: (NE2) Franklin Pierce def. (SW4) Pace, 14-1
Game 6: (NE1) Southern New Hampshire def. (SW2) New Haven, 1-0
Friday, May 12
Game 7: New Haven def. Pace, 6-3 (Pace eliminated)
Game 8: Franklin Pierce def. Southern New Hampshire, 6-4
Game 9: New Haven def. Southern New Hampshire, 3-0 (SNHU eliminated)
Sunday, May 14
Game 10: Franklin Pierce at New Haven -- 11 a.m.
Game 11: Game 10 rematch* -- 35 minutes following conclusion of Game 10.
* Game 11 only necessary if New Haven wins Game 10.
Scouting the Ravens
Franklin Pierce (33-13) -- the Northeast Division's second seed -- authored its signature win of the season thus far on Friday afternoon. After dropping all three regular-season meetings between the two, the Ravens finally knocked off No. 4/5 nationally ranked and intrastate rival Southern New Hampshire, 6-4, in Friday's winner's bracket game. Making a spot start after Mike Lundin was a late scratch, graduate student right-hander Tanner Bird (Adams, Mass.) turned in four innings without allowing an earned run on short notice. It was junior right-hander Ryan Covelle (Medford, Mass.) and senior right-hander Miles Sheehan (Madison, Conn.) who stole the show on the mound for the Ravens though. The duo combined for 4.1 innings of one-run ball and struck out four in high-pressure situations down the stretch. The Franklin Pierce offense picked up single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to turn a 3-3 tie into the 6-4 win.
The Ravens are hopeful their three wins thus far in the NE10 Championship are enough to have punched their ticket to next week's NCAA East Regional, as many of the teams around them in the regional rankings have not seen nearly as much success this week. Still, with Franklin Pierce very much on the bubble entering the week, the only way for the team to be sure of its selection is to lay claim to the NE10's automatic bid. The Ravens will have two chances to beat New Haven once, in order to do exactly that.
Scouting the Chargers
After dropping its opener on Thursday against SNHU, 1-0, New Haven (28-11) -- the Southwest Division's second seed -- bounced back with a pair of wins on Friday to join the Ravens in the championship round. The Chargers first finished off Pace, 6-2, in Friday's first game. Later, after Franklin Pierce had beaten SNHU, New Haven did so as well, securing a 3-0 victory to advance to play again on Saturday. Against Pace, the Chargers plated four runs in the first two innings and got 6.2 innings of one-run ball from senior left-hander Vincent Aprea to eliminate the Setters. In the second game, two runs in the first and seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball from freshman right-hander Devon DiMascio paved the way to the title round.
The Chargers boasted a quintet of All-NE10 selections earlier in the week. Landing on the First Team were junior right-hander David Palmer and senior shortstop Tom Walraven. Meanwhile, Second-Team accolades went to junior right-hander Tim Kennedy, senior left fielder Robert Petrillo and senior third baseman Jack Zagaja.
On the Mound
The probable starters for both teams on Sunday are the same hurlers who threw the teams' respective First Round contests on Tuesday.
Franklin Pierce is expected to give the ball back to senior right-hander Cody McPartland (Sound Beach, N.Y.) for his second postseason start as a Raven. On Tuesday night at Pappas Field against Merrimack in the First Round, he turned in 7.2 scoreless innings, allowed six hits, walked one and struck out six on the way to the win.
On the season this spring, McPartland has now made 11 appearances, including nine starts, three complete games and one shutout. Over 69.2 innings of work, he has allowed 22 runs (16 earned) on 62 hits, walked 13 and struck out 84 (10.85 per nine innings) to post a 2.07 ERA with a 7-0 record and one save.
McPartland started the first game of an April 8 doubleheader against New Haven at Pappas Field. Over six innings, he allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, walked one, hit three batters and piled up 10 strikeouts, but did not factor in the decision.
The Chargers are expected to counter with junior right-hander David Palmer, who would be making his third career postseason start. Palmer also threw in the first round on Tuesday, when he logged seven scoreless innings in New Haven's 3-0 win at home over Le Moyne. He surrendered six hits, did not issue a walk and struck out 10.
On the season, Palmer has made 11 appearances, including nine starts, to total a team-high 63.2 innings. He has surrendered only nine runs on 47 hits, walked just nine and struck out 65 (9.19 per nine innings) on the way to a 1.27 ERA and a 7-0 record with one save.
Palmer matched up with McPartland in the first game of the aforementioned doubleheader on April 8 in Rindge, but did not factor in the decision either. He went seven innings, allowed three runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out four. The Ravens are responsible for one-third of the runs scored against Palmer so far this season.
Earlier this Season
The Ravens and the Chargers met twice this season, as mentioned, in a doubleheader on April 8 at Franklin Pierce. With the first game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, freshman designated hitter Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) led off with a single up the middle and eventually scored the winning run on a walk-off wild pitch by junior right-hander Colin Keyes. In the second game, junior right-hander John Amendola (Wallingford, Conn.) spun 7.1 scoreless innings and struck out six to lead the Ravens to a 3-0 win and the sweep of the twinbill.
Previously in the Postseason
Sunday will be the seventh all-time postseason meeting between Franklin Pierce and New Haven. The two have met four times in the NE10 Championship, with Franklin Pierce holding a 3-1 advantage, and the two have split a pair of NCAA Regional meetings.
The most recent postseason meeting between the two came in 2015, also at Frank Vieira Field, on the first day of the NE10 Championship. After the Ravens surrendered a pair of early runs, Paul Fahey settled things down with 4.2 innings of scoreless relief, and Matt Walsh unloaded on a sixth-inning grand slam as the Ravens rallied for a 6-2 victory on their way to their eventual NE10 title two days later.
Headed to the Game?
If you plan on making the trip to West Haven on Sunday, New Haven's Championship Central page, which includes directions and ticket information, can be found here.
Ticket prices are set as follows:
Adults - $6
Children/Seniors - $4
Students (with valid ID from NE10 institutions) - $1
Per Conference policy, no complimentary admissions will be issued.
How to Follow Along
If you prefer to follow the action from home, from work or from elsewhere, both live video and live stats will be available.
As outlined above, if necessary, Franklin Pierce will have two opportunities to win one game to claim the title on Sunday. The winner of the NE10 Championship will claim the league's automatic bid into next week's NCAA Championship East Regional. Meanwhile, the loser on Sunday will have to wait to find out their fate, which will be determined via the NCAA Championship selection show, which is slated to air on ncaa.com at 10 p.m. Sunday.
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).