The College Baseball Blog took in Game 1 on Monday between Bryant University and Franklin Pierce in Rindge NH at the home of the Franklin Pierce Ravens. The game featured the Bryant Bulldogs coming through the loser’s bracket thus they had to beat Franklin Pierce in two straight games to get the spot in the NCAA Division 2 College World Series. The Ravens started lefthander Tom Cote while Bryant started Kevin Cobb.
After a scoreless top of the first inning, the Bulldogs came up in the bottom of the first scratching across two runs on two hits while getting three walks from Franklin Pierce starter Cote who was lifted after only getting two outs. The game was played at one of the slowest paces I have ever attended with the next action coming in the top of the third inning when the Ravens broke the ice on Cobb. With two outs in the inning, Scott Savastano grabbed a walk with Kevin Rivers getting a single through the left side of the infield to put runners on first and second with two outs. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch with Matt Anderson driving in both runners with a single to left center to tie up the ball game at 2. He ended up moving down to second on another wild pitch by Cobb and driven in by Steve Carr who hit a double to left center. The Bulldogs were able to get out of the inning without allowing any further damage. Bryant would tie the game up in the bottom of the inning by getting one hit, taking advantage of a fielding error, and a fielder’s choice were noone got out.
The game would continue to go back and forth throughout with both teams using multiple pitchers throughout. Bryant would take the lead for good in the fifth inning on a three run homer by Pat O’Connor down the right field line to grab a 10-8 lead which they were able to hold onto the lead to get a 12-10 victory in the first game to force a winner take all Championship game at 3 pm.
I had to leave after the first game due to prior commitments so I missed the big showdown between each school’s aces with Mike Adams taking the ball for the Ravens and Eric Loh pitching for Bryant. Both pitchers were on top of their game through five innings with Franklin Pierce having a 1-0 lead. Nick Campbell in the top of the sixth inning hit a towering homer over the left field fence to tie up the game at 1 after 5 1/2 innings. With one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, Jake Christman got a single off of the third baseman’s glove for the second Raven hit on the afternoon. He was then balked to second base by Loh who then struck out Kevin Renaud to set up a runner on second with two outs situation. He would then walk Derek Ingui to put runners on first and second for Scott Savastano who hit a three run homer to give the Ravens a 4-1 lead with Kevin Rivers following up Savastano’s homer with his own homer to right field to up the lead to 5-1 and knock Loh out of the game. The Bulldogs would not mount any magical comeback as they lost 10-3 as they just ran out of pitching against the strong hitting Franklin Pierce squad.
Franklin Pierce now advances to the Division 2 College World Series in Sauget IL where they will take on Central Missouri State on Saturday at 7:30 pm.
The loss for Bryant marks the end of an era for the Bulldogs as they are transitioning to Division 1 over the next couple of seasons. Next season the Bulldogs will play 51 road games with only 5 home games all against Division 1 opponents. They will be eligible for the NCAA Division 1 baseball tournament in 2012-2013 school year.