Franklin Pierce Beats Merrimack Twice on Saturday for Sixth NE10 Baseball Title.
Franklin Pierce 3, Merrimack 0 - Box Score
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Graduate student right-hander Ryan Covelle, graduate student right-hander Anthony Matarazzo, senior left-hander Evan Glew and senior right-hander Zach Hart combined to author a nine-hit shutout on Saturday afternoon, as the Franklin Pierce baseball team claimed its league record sixth Northeast 10 Conference title. Two runs in the first were all the Ravens needed on the way to a 3-0 win over Merrimack to finish off their climb out of the loser’s bracket to the NE10 crown. Hart picked up his second save of the day to nail down the final game of the Northeast 10 Championship, hosted by Le Moyne at Onondaga Baseball Complex.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 28-22 and continues to extend its season, while Merrimack falls to 28-20. It is the sixth NE10 title for Franklin Pierce, which also took home the hardware in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2015. The Ravens become the first NE10 baseball team to claim six league titles. Hart was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player at the conclusion of play.
Franklin Pierce has earned the NE10’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship, which will begin next week with the East Regional. The Ravens will find out their seed and where they will be headed on Sunday night, when the selection show airs on ncaa.com at 10 p.m. Merrimack still has a shot at an at-large bid, but will have to wait for the selection show to find out if its season will continue.
Franklin Pierce opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the first inning, and it would be all the Ravens needed in the winner-take-all title game. Freshman center fielder Joel Lara opened the game with a double down the left-field line, before a single by junior catcher Dylan Jones and a sacrifice bunt put the runners at second and third with one away. Junior right fielder John Mead – who had five hits between the day’s two games – provided the opening salvo, with an RBI single to center field to score Lara. Senior designated hitter Ural Forbes followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to double the lead to 2-0.
The score would remain stuck at 2-0 until the top of the seventh inning, when the Ravens tacked on an insurance run. Freshman third baseman Jethro Hurt led off with a single to center, moved to second on a single by junior first baseman Jonel Ozuna and went to third on a double-play ball. Freshman shortstop Zach Landry then cashed in the run with a two-out single to right field to create what would stand as the 3-0 final.
Meanwhile, the Franklin Pierce pitching staff was busy holding Merrimack scoreless in the title game. Covelle (7-5) got things started on just one day of rest with four scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, hit two batters and struck out three. Matarazzo scattered four hits over the next two innings with a trio of strikeouts as well. Glew put together two scoreless innings with three hits and four strikeouts before Hart came on to nail down his second save of the day (and his third of the tournament). Hart got all three outs in the ninth, including back-to-back strikeouts to end things and send the Ravens spilling out of the first-base dugout in celebration.
Merrimack’s best chance came in the bottom of the sixth inning against Matarazzo, when the Warriors loaded the bases with nobody out on a trio of singles. Matarazzo was able to bear down from there though. He got freshman left fielder Michael Golankiewicz to bounce back to the mound for a fielder’s choice which erased a runner at the plate. Matarazzo then notched back-to-back strikeouts of sophomore right fielder Thomas Crowley and freshman catcher Kurtis Stadnicki to strand the bases full of Warriors.
Merrimack would also load the bases in the seventh, but did so with two outs this time, and came up empty again. The Warriors would not seriously threaten to turn the tide of the game in the eighth or ninth innings.
Merrimack gave the ball to senior right-hander Cam Monagle (7-1), who probably deserved better from what could stand as his final collegiate start. He went the distance in defeat on just 103 pitches (81 strikes), allowed three runs on 10 hits, did not issue a walk and struck out six.
Franklin Pierce 8, Merrimack 5 - Box Score
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A five-run fifth inning turned the tide for good on Saturday afternoon, as the Franklin Pierce baseball team extended its season yet again at the Onondaga Baseball Complex, on the final day of the Northeast 10 Conference Baseball Championship, hosted by Le Moyne. Junior right fielder John Mead went 4-for-4, as the Ravens posted an 8-5 win over Merrimack to force a winner-take-all final game later on Saturday.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 27-22 and staves off elimination for the third straight game. With the loss, Merrimack falls to 28-19. The two teams will meet again at 3:20 p.m. at the Onondaga Baseball Complex, and the winner will claim the NE10 title.
Trailing 4-1, Franklin Pierce took the lead for good with a quintet of runs in the top of the fifth inning. Four straight one-out singles combined to plate the first two runs, as freshman center fielder Joel Lara and junior catcher Dylan Jones singled to set the table for senior left fielder Brad Roberto and Mead, who knocked back-to-back RBI singles. The rest of the damage came with two outs, as freshman third baseman Jethro Hurt pulled an RBI double inside the bag at third, a wild pitch brought in a run and junior first baseman Jonel Ozuna dumped an RBI single into left field.
Merrimack closed the gap to 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh, on an RBI single to left by senior first baseman Matthew Ronai, but could get no closer. Franklin Pierce tacked on a pair in the top of the eighth to create the 8-5 final. Freshman right fielder Graham Smith, who had taken over defensively for Mead, provided the final blow of the game, as his spot came up with the bases loaded and two away, and he lined a two-run single into left field to cap the scoring.
Freshman right-hander Danny Gracia started and threw the first three innings on the mound for Franklin Pierce. He allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, hit a batter and struck out three. Sophomore left-hander Patrick Hannon took over for the next three-plus and picked up the win (2-2) out of the bullpen. He surrendered one run on four hits, walked two and struck out two. Franklin Pierce's ace, senior right-hander Zach Hart came on and did not allow a hit over the final 2.1 innings to nail things down for his second save of the season.
On the other side of the ledger, senior right-hander Riley Sorenson (3-5) started and suffered the loss for Merrimack. He threw 85 pitches (55 strikes) over 4.2 innings, was charged with six runs on eight hits, walked three and struck out two.
Zach Hart, Franklin Pierce - MVP
Derek Duffy, Franklin Pierce
Joel Lara, Franklin Pierce
Cam Monagle, Merrimack
Joey Porricelli, Merrimack
Andrew Taft, Le Moyne
Tyler Criscuolo, SCSU
2019 NE10 Baseball Championship
Tuesday, May 7th – First Round (single elimination)
Game 1: #4 SW Southern Connecticut 9, #1 SW Adelphi 6
Game 2: #3 SW Le Moyne 2, #2 SW Pace 1
Game 3: #4 NE Franklin Pierce 3, #1 NE SNHU 2
Game 4: #3 NE Merrimack 6, #2 NE Bentley 5
Thursday, May 9th (Hosted by Le Moyne at Onondaga Community College)
Game 5: #3 NE Merrimack 8, #4 SW Southern Connecticut 1
Game 6: #3 SW Le Moyne 16, #4 NE Franklin Pierce 2
Game 7: #4 NE Franklin Pierce 9, #4 SW Southern Connecticut 5
Friday, May 10th
Game 8: #3 NE Merrimack 5, #3 SW Le Moyne 2
Game 9: #4 NE Franklin Pierce 12, #3 SW Le Moyne 1
Saturday, May 11th
Game 10: #4 NE Franklin Pierce 8, #3 NE Merrimack 5
Game 11: #4 NE Franklin Pierce 3, #3 NE Merrimack 0
-Recaps provided by Franklin Pierce athletic communications staff-
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