Franklin Pierce wins NE-10 Tourney

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCES

Franklin Pierce 6 Southern Connecticut State 4

RINDGE, N.H. (May 11, 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, opened a 6-0 lead after five innings and held off a late rally to collect a 6-4 victory over second-seeded Southern Connecticut State University, among teams receiving votes in the NCBWA poll, and claim its second-straight Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Championship, presented by Diamond Sports and UBS/The Ricciardi Group, at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field this afternoon.

Franklin Pierce (39-12, 20-10 NE-10) earns the Northeast-10′s automatic berth into the NCAA Division II Championships after claiming its second-straight NE-10 title and third overall (2005, 2007, 2008). The Ravens are the odds on favorite to host the NCAA II Northeast Regional for the fourth-straight year when they receive the fifth NCAA Tournament berth in program history later tonight. Southern Connecticut State (36-17, 24-6 NE-10) is likely to receive one of the three at-large bids to the regional after reaching the NE-10 championship round for the fourth time.

Freshman Derek Ingui (Sterling, Mass./Wachusett Regional) led Franklin Pierce’s ten-hit attack, going 3-for-5 with a home run, stolen base and two RBI. Junior Cliff Hicks (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) was 2-for-5 with a home run, while junior preseason All-American Scott Savastano (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) hit 2-for-3 with a stolen base and run scored. Sophomore Matt Skeffington (Auburn, N.H./Pendleton) finished 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
Junior lefthander Tom Cote collected his fourth win of the season on the mound today.

Junior lefthander Tom Cote (Swanzey, N.H./Monadnock Regional) earned the win (4-2), allowing two earned runs on four hits and six walks to go with six strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work. Junior righthander Mike Adams (Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park) notched his second save of the season, entering with two runners on base and one out in the eighth. He worked around a walk that loaded the bases in the inning, retiring the next two batters before pitching a scoreless ninth. In 1.2 scoreless innings, Adams yielded just a hit and a walk with two strikeouts.

Junior Chris Barile (Holbrook, N.Y./Sachem) hit 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored for Southern Connecticut. Freshman Nick DeProspo (Worcester, Mass./St. John’s) was 2-for-4 with a run scored, while senior Paul Izzo (Cohoes, N.Y./Cohoes) finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Junior Justin Cox (Newburgh, N.Y./Newburgh Free Academy) suffered the loss on the mound for the Owls (6-4), allowing six earned runs on eight hits and five walks while striking out three in four-plus innings of work.
Junior Cliff Hicks solo home run in the fifth proved important as the Ravens held on for a 6-4 win after leading 6-0.

Franklin Pierce opened the scoring with a three-run third. Junior Steve Carr (Nahant, Mass./St. Mary’s) drove in the first run with a one-out RBI single through the left side. Skeffington added a two-run double a batter later. The Ravens extended their lead with two in the fourth on Ingui’s two-run homer to left center, then Hicks led off the fifth with his fourth homer of the season.

Southern Connecticut got on the scoreboard with a two-run sixth. Barile drew a bases loaded walk, before DeProspo scored on a groundout. The Owls drew even closer with two unearned runs in the eighth. Izzo scored when sophomore Greg Malen (Stamford, Conn./Salisbury) reached on an error, while the second run scored when junior Mo Davidson (Winsted, Conn./Northwestern Regional) reached on an error. Southern threatened for more, but Adams came on, and after a wild pitch and walk loaded the bases with one out, worked out of the jam by getting a pop out and ground out to second base. Adams surrendered a two-out single in the ninth, but stranded the runner on first by getting Owls pinch-hitter Billy Hite (Shelton, Conn./Notre Dame HS) to strikeout looking to end the game.

Franklin Pierce senior reliever Tyler Bishop (Milford, N.H./Milford) was named Tournament MVP at the conclusion of the championship. He notched saves in two of the Ravens four NE-10 Tournament contests this week.