MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Junior right-hander Kevin McGowan threw a four-hit shutout — the first of his career — with five strikeouts on Sunday morning as No. 12 Franklin Pierce picked up a 4-0 win against LIU Post in non-conference, neutral-site play at The Ripken Experience. Junior first baseman Zach Mathieu and senior right fielder Nick LaCroix had RBI doubles in a four-run seventh.
With the win, Franklin Pierce improves to 5-0, while LIU Post falls to 1-3. The Ravens finish their five-game trip to Myrtle Beach undefeated.
McGowan, coming off a 2012 which saw him rank in the top 40 in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings, was dominant in his initial start of 2013. He allowed just six baserunners, and of those, one was immediately erased on a double play and another reached on an error. All four hits against McGowan were singles, and he issued just one walk against five strikeouts. Only three runners reached scoring position on the day, with only one advancing as far as third base. From a one-out single in the first to a two-out walk in the fourth, he retired 10 straight Pioneers, and he struck out the side in order in the sixth on the way to the win (1-0).
On the other side of the ledger, LIU Post freshman right-hander Chris Anderson was equally impressive through the first six innings of his college career, as he had allowed just one hit while striking out three. In fact, Anderson was perfect through 5.1 innings, retiring the first 16 Ravens he faced before a one-out single in the sixth by senior left fielder Eric Romano. Even then, sophomore pinch runner Ryan Boswell was immediately erased when the next batter grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Anderson would run into trouble in the seventh inning, however, against the top of the Franklin Pierce lineup, as junior center fielder Calvin Graves hit a leadoff single. Senior shortstop Dan Kemp followed with a walk, which set the table for the Ravens’ biggest bat, Mathieu. LIU Post turned to the bullpen to try to work out of the jam, giving the ball to sophomore left-hander Joey Arena, but the plan did not work. Mathieu laced a double which scored both runners, giving him his fourth and fifth runs batted in of the five-game trip. Both runs were charged to Anderson, saddling him with the loss (0-1), despite his six innings of brilliance.
After a sacrifice bunt moved Mathieu to third, LaCroix’s RBI double made it a 3-0 game. LaCroix would steal third and score on a passed ball to create the 4-0 final.
The Ravens return to the field next weekend with four games at Wilson Field at Jim Sherman Sr. Stadium in Wilmington, Del., set for Friday through Sunday, March 1-3. Franklin Pierce will play road games against Wilmington on Friday at noon and Saturday at 3 p.m., while mixing in a pair of neutral-site games against Indiana (Pa.) on Saturday at noon and Sunday at 1 p.m.