WEST HAVEN, Conn. (May 14, 2017) – Senior right fielder Nick Perrelli went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs on Saturday, to key a 7-3 win for New Haven over the Franklin Pierce University baseball team at New Haven's Frank Vieira Field. The win for the Chargers forced a decisive, winner-take-all title game on the final day of the Northeast-10 Conference Championship, with the league's automatic berth to next week's NCAA Championship East Regional on the line.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 33-14, while New Haven improves to 29-11.
New Haven took control of what had been a 3-3 game with a four-spot in the bottom half of the seventh to jump to a 7-3 lead. Sophomore first baseman Andrew Garcia led off with a single to center, but was erased at second as sophomore second baseman James Myers reached on a fielder's choice on a failed sacrifice bunt. After a balk moved the runners to second and third, a walk to freshman center fielder Matt Chamberlain loaded the bases with one out for senior shortstop Tom Walraven. Walraven hit the eighth pitch of the at-bat back to the mound, and off the left foot of senior right-hander Cody McPartland (Sound Beach, N.Y.). McPartland gathered and flipped to the plate to force out Myers for the second out.
However, things would fall apart for the Ravens with two outs. The Franklin Pierce dugout thought about going to the bullpen with senior left fielder Robert Petrillo coming to the plate, but McPartland convinced them he was good for one more batter. Instead, Petrillo took the first pitch the other way and down the left-field line for a two-run double and a 5-3 New Haven lead. Graduate student right-hander Jared Habershaw (Kingston, R.I.) took over on the mound and jammed senior right fielder Nick Perrelli with the first pitch he threw. Perrelli managed to muscle the ball past the dive of senior second baseman Kyle Hood (Arlington, Mass.) and into right field anyway, for a two-run single to make it 7-3.
Earlier in the day, after the first three innings had gone by without a hit, New Haven opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Walraven opened the inning and dumped a flare into right field for a single. He moved to second on a balk and third on a sacrifice bunt, before Perrelli cashed in the game's first run with a single through the left side of the infield.
The Ravens immediately got the run back and then some, as they plated three in the top of the fifth to stake McParltand to a 3-1 lead. The inning started with junior first baseman Dalton Davis (Birmingham, Ala.), who went the other way with a 2-2 pitch for a lead-off double. Senior designated hitter Chris LaVorgna (North Haven, Conn.) was next and drove a 1-1 pitch over the head of the center fielder to score Davis and tie the game.
Looking to, at a minimum, sacrifice LaVorgna to third, freshman left fielder Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) did one better, and dropped a bunt single up the third-base line to put runners at the corners with nobody out. The Ravens put on the safety squeeze to take the lead, as senior second baseman Kyle Hood (Arlington, Mass.) pushed a bunt up the first-base line. The bunt made sure the only play for New Haven was on Hood at first, as LaVorgna scored to make it 2-1. Two batters later, the Ravens got a gift. Senior shortstop Lucas Luopa (Keene, N.H.) legged out an infield single, but the throw to first got away, which allowed Jones to score from second on the misplay.
New Haven later struck for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 3-3 and set up the seventh-inning heroics. Walraven started things with one out, as he was hit by a pitch. He later stole second and then the Chargers got things done with two outs. Perrelli picked up his second RBI single of the day with a line-drive to left field. Perrelli then came around to score from first as senior third baseman Jack Zagaja ripped an RBI double off the fence in left field.
McPartland (7-1) made the start on four days' rest for the Ravens and looked dominant early, but faded in the seventh inning. In all, he threw 97 pitches (68 strikes) over 6.2 innings of work, allowed seven runs on seven hits, walked two, hit two batters, balked twice and struck out just one while taking the loss.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, junior right-hander David Palmer (8-0), also on four days of rest, fired 92 pitches (67 strikes) over seven innings on the hill for New Haven. He allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits, walked one, threw a wild pitch and struck out seven on the way to the win.
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).