NE-10 Conference Tourney Day 1 Recap

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCES

Franklin Pierce 5 Southern Connecticut 2

RINDGE, N.H. (May 9, 2008) – Third-seeded Franklin Pierce University, ranked 20th in this week’s National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and pingbaseball.com Division II polls and 29th in the Collegiate Baseball magazine rankings, notched a 5-2 victory over second-seeded Southern Connecticut State University, among team’s receiving votes in this week’s NCBWA poll, in today’s Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Championship opener, presented by Diamond Sports and UBS/The Ricciardi Group, at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field this afternoon.

Franklin Pierce (37-12, 20-10 NE-10) will face top-seeded and regular season NE-10 champion Bryant University (39-17, 25-5 NE-10) in a winner’s bracket semifinal tomorrow at 3 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (34-16, 24-6 NE-10) faces fifth-seeded Pace University (32-21, 18-12 NE-10) in an elimination contest tomorrow at 11 a.m. Bryant posted a 4-3 victory over Pace in today’s second game.
Sophomore lefthander Brian Maloney earned his seventh win of the season with seven strong innings of work for the Ravens today.

Sophomore rightfielder Kevin Rivers (Bristol, Conn./Bristol Eastern) led the way for Franklin Pierce as he hit 2-for-3, matching the program record for home runs in a game with two, to go with two RBI. Junior Cliff Hicks (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) hit 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored, while senior Tyler Bishop (Milford, N.H./Milford) was 1-for-3 with a stolen base and RBI. Grad student Jake Christman (Newton, Mass./Newton South) chipped in by going 1-for-4 with a stolen base and RBI.

Sophomore lefthander Brian Maloney (Brockton, Mass./Brockton) improved to 7-1 on the season for the Ravens, allowing just an earned run, while scattering five hits (all singles) and three walks to go with nine strikeouts over seven innings. Bishop closed the game out to earn his seventh save of the season, yielding an earned run on two hits with two strikeouts and a walk over the final two innings.
Junior Cliff Hicks was 2-for-4 with a homer in the win today.

Senior Paul Izzo (Cohoes, N.Y./Cohoes) led Southern Connecticut as he hit 2-for-4 with a home run, while junior Mike Diaz (Monroe, Conn./Masuk) batted 2-for-3 with a stolen base and run scored. Junior Karl Derbacher (Northford, Conn./North Branford) was 1-for-5 with an RBI.
Junior lefthander Jim Fuller (Marlborough, Mass.) suffered just his second loss of the season (9-2), surrendering a season-high matching four earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks over seven innings.

Rivers gave Franklin Pierce the early advantage with his first home run of the afternoon to lead off the second inning. Southern evened the game in the third as junior Chris Barile (Holbrook, N.Y./Sachem) drew a one-out walk, reached second on a an error during a failed pickoff attempt, and scored on a two-out single to right by junior Karl Derbacher (Northford, Conn./North Branford).

Rivers second home run of the afternoon, with two out in the fourth, put the Ravens in front for good. Fuller entered the game having yielded just one home run all season, but surrendered two in back-to-back at bats to Rivers, who has homered three times in the Ravens first two NE-10 Tournament contests. Franklin Pierce added another single run in the fifth as Hicks singled to left to lead off the frame and scored two batters later on a single to right center by Bishop.

Franklin Pierce extended its lead to 4-1 in the seventh when junior Steve Carr (Nahant, Mass./St. Mary’s) led off with a walk and scored two batters later on a single to center by Christman. Hicks put the Ravens up by four runs with his third home run of the season to left center to lead off the ninth.

Southern Connecticut scored its second run of the game in the home half of the ninth as Izzo led off with his second homer of the season to leftfield. The Owls threatened further, bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. However, Bishop stranded runners on the corners with a strikeout and pop out to escape the jam and send the Ravens into the winner’s bracket.

Bryant 4 Pace 3

RINDGE, NH – A two-run home run from Pat McKenna (Orange, Conn.) highlighted the junior captain’s 3-for-3 day and would prove to be all the Bryant University baseball team needed to top fifth-seeded Pace University, 4-3, in Day One of the double-elimination portion of the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament Friday afternoon at Pappas Field.

Senior captain Jason Alexander (Simsbury, Conn.) got things started for the Bulldogs (39-17), padding his all-time Bryant hit-by-pitch record by getting plunked for the 16th time this season and 43rd of his career to lead off the bottom of the first.

Alexander moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from first baseman Dylan Stone (Portsmouth, RI) and came home to score the first of four first-frame runs when Nick Campbell (Raynham, Mass.) took Pace (31-22) starter Zach Dayton back up the middle for an RBI single.

Campbell became the inning’s second out when he was hit in the basepath by a fielder’s choice ball off the bat of leftfielder Pat O’Connor (Mattapoisett, Mass.), but sophomore Jeff Vigurs (South Windor, Conn.) knocked a single down the right field line a batter later to advance O’Connor. The Setter right fielder overran the ball, and the error allowed O’Connor to come home, moving Vigurs 90 feet from home.

But two pitches later, McKenna rendered the error mute with a long home run over the left field fence, plating Vigurs in the process and giving the top-seeded Bulldogs a 4-0 lead after the first.

Pace got one of those runs back in the top of the third, when leadoff hitter Andrew Liscinsky drove home nine-hole hitter Joe Barracato, who led off the inning with a triple into the right centerfield gap.

But Dayton would settle down after the first, retiring the next seven straight Bulldogs, four of them on strikeouts. Bryant would get just four more hits on the day.

Bulldogs ace Eric Loh (Old Greenwich, Conn.) also settled in on the hill, letting up just two more hits through the seventh frame.

But in the top of the eighth with two out and the tying run at the plate, a hit, a walk and an error loaded the bases for the Setters, as sophomore closer Eric Polvani (Wallingford, Conn.) came in to relieve Loh. But on three quick pitches, Polvani got out of the bases-loaded jam, getting designated hitter Chris Brown to foul out to Stone to get out of the inning without any further damage.

Pace made quick work of the Bulldogs in the home half of the eight, letting up a two-out hit to O’Connor – who stole second a batter later – before getting Vigurs to ground out to third to get out of the inning.

And with a 4-2 lead, the Bulldogs headed into the top of the ninth. A bobbled double-play ball put a runner in scoring position with one out and the tying run again at the plate for the Setters. An infield grounder moved the run 90 feet closer, and a gapper into right centerfield narrowed the gap, 4-3.

But Polvani would hold on, getting Barracato to slap one back to the mound for the final out of the game.

Polvani went 1.1 innings to earn his Bryant single-season record-tying 12th save of the season, allowing one run off a pair of hits while facing six batters. Loh earned the win on the day, moving to 10-2 on the year with a 7.2-inning outing, striking out three while allowing a pair of runs on seven hits and issuing one free pass.

Dayton fell to 4-4 to take the loss for the Setters, who move into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament and will play second-seeded Southern Connecticut Saturday at 11 a.m. in a must-win contest.

McKenna led the top-seeded Bulldogs offensively, going 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Stone, Campbell, Vigurs and O’Connor each recorded a hit, as Bryant scattered just seven on the afternoon. Liscinsky led Pace from the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI.

With the win, the Bulldogs move into the winner’s bracket and will play third-seeded host Franklin Pierce University Saturday at 3:00 p.m. The Ravens earned their way into the winner’s bracket with a win over No. 2 Southern Connecticut in Friday’s early game, 5-2.