Franklin Pierce edges Southern N.H.
Roche lifts Ravens with team-leading 10th home run
RINDGE, N.H. -- T.J. Ferguson froze Andy Lalli with a fastball on the outer half for a looking strikeout that left the tying run at third base in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon, as the Franklin Pierce picked up a 10-9 win against No. 6 Southern New Hampshire. Dan Kemp, Matt Walsh and James Roche all hit home runs in the win for Franklin Pierce.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improved to 24-12-1, while SNHU fell to 32-6 (15-4 Northeast-10, 8-3 Northeast Division).
The Penmen nearly completed their comeback from a 10-3 deficit, before Ferguson was able to slam the door shut. Alejandro Diaz grounded to short before Brendan O'Brien dumped a single into shallow center.
After Kevin Spatkowski struck out looking on a breaking ball, Matt Boulter dropped a single inside the right-field line which allowed O'Brien to move around to third with the tying run. However, Lalli could not respond to a fastball with two strikes and Ferguson picked up his first save of the season.
The Ravens jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead with a pair of two-run home runs in the bottom of the first inning. Dan Hennigan led off the frame with a walk, and Kemp followed with his sixth home run of the season, and third in as many games, to straightaway left field to lift Franklin Pierce to a 2-0 lead.
Three batters after the Kemp homer, Nick LaCroix knocked a single back through the middle of the infield and Walsh went the other way to right field for his first home run. After the ensuing walk the SNHU starter, Brad Monroe, was chased from the game after just two-thirds of an inning.
Franklin Pierce added another run in the bottom of the second to push the lead to 5-0. Isaac Wenrich hit a lead-off single to center, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored two batters later on an RBI single dumped into right-center by Hennigan.
SNHU shaved the lead down to 5-3 in the top of the fourth inning. Back-to-back singles by Jamie Wollerman and Greg Pezzuto to right field and through the left side of the infield, respectively, set the table to start the inning. That brought up Jon Minucci, who hit his team-leading sixth home run of the season over the scoreboard just to the right of straightaway center field.
The Ravens appeared to break the game open with five runs in the bottom of the fifth to stretch the lead as high as 10-3. With one out, Roche drove his team-leading 10th home run of the season the other way into the power alley in right-center field.
Immediately after the Roche dinger, Zach Mathieu and LaCroix drew back-to-back walks to chase SNHU’s David Gibson from the game in favor of Zach LeBarron. He was greeted by an RBI single to center by Walsh, who drove in Mathieu for his third RBI of the day. Anthony Peguero followed with a safety-squeeze bunt that would have turned into a sacrifice, but LeBarron's throw to first was errant, allowing Peguero to reach as LaCroix came in to score. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Wenrich lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Walsh, while Peguero scored on a double into the gap in right-center by Calvin Graves.
However, the Penmen mounted a rally with three runs in the top of the sixth to trim the lead to 10-6. Minucci opened the inning, pushing a single through the right side of the infield and moved to second on a single through the left side by Toland. After a walk to Diaz loaded the bases, a wild pitch brought home the first run and moved the other runners to second and third.
Another walk loaded the bases again and then Spatkowski grounded into a 6-4-3 double play while the second run scored. Lalli later brought in the third run of the inning with an RBI single back up the middle.
SNHU cued the late-inning drama with three runs in the top of the eighth to cut the lead down to one run at 10-9. Diaz worked another walk to start the inning and then went first-to-third on an errant pickoff throw by Vladimir Camacho, who walked the next batter.
After the first of the two walks Camacho was relieved by Dan Gilchrist, who walked the only batter he faced, Boulter, before ceding the mound Rob Nicholas.
Nicholas was greeted rudely, as a two-run single up the middle by Lalli and an RBI single through the middle by Wollerman quickly scored all three runners. After a flyout and a hit batter left the bases loaded with two away, Nicholas preserved the lead by getting Toland to groundout to third.
Ryan Thompson started on the mound and picked up the win (2-1) for the Ravens. In five-plus innings, he allowed six runs on eight hits, walked four and struck out three.
Monroe ended up taking the loss (6-2) for Southern New Hampshire. In two-thirds of an inning, he allowed four runs on four hits and two walks.