When and Where: May 7, 2019 – Hooksett, N.H. (Penmen Field)
Score: Franklin Pierce University 3, Southern New Hampshire University 2
Records: FPU 24-21, SNHU 36-12
Junior Tom Blandini (Bow, N.H.) connected on a solo home run in the fifth inning to make it a one-run game, but the score would hold the rest of the way, as the 15th-ranked and Northeast Division top-seeded Southern New Hampshire University baseball team was edged by the Northeast No. 4 seed Franklin Pierce University, 3-2, Tuesday afternoon in an NE10 Championship first round tilt at Penmen Field.
- Blandini finished 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
- Junior Jake Coro (Johnston, R.I.; run) and sophomore Dakota Mulcay (Goffstown, N.H.) were each 2-for-4.
- The trio of senior Hayden Manning (Portland, Conn.), junior Wesley Tobin (Portsmouth, N.H.) and sophomore Jeffrey Praml (Bridgewater, N.J.) combined for three scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Franklin Pierce struck first against graduate student Jake Walkinshaw (Seymour, Conn.) in the top of the first as a single and a hit batsmen put a pair on for Brad Roberto, who squirted a single through the left side that plated the game's first run. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk loaded the bases, Walkinshaw made it out of the jam without further damage with a foul out and a ground out.
- The Ravens added a second run in the third, as a Roberto base hit to lead off the inning, followed by a John Mead double and an intentional walk loaded the bases, set up a Jonel Ozuna sac fly to center that made it 2-0. The Penmen limited further damage when Blandini ranged into shallow left-center to corral a pop-up and took advantage of a Franklin Pierce baserunner that wandered too far off second base by quickly firing to redshirt-junior Joshua Goldstein (Haverhill, Mass.) for the inning-ending double play that thwarted the bases-loaded threat.
- Southern New Hampshire could not take advantage of a favorable situation in the home half of the third, however. A leadoff double from Coro, followed by Goldstein getting hit by a pitch, put the first two on with no one out, but Franklin Pierce recorded back-to-back outs and then worked around a walk that loaded the bases, as starting pitcher Danny Gracia knocked down a come-backer from sophomore Sam Henrie (Middleboro, Mass.) and recorded the out at first.
- The Ravens extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Dylan Jones grabbed hold of a Walkinshaw pitch and deposited it over the fence in left-center.
- Coro again doubled to lead off the fifth inning, but this time made it home, as he went to third on a fly out to left and scored on a groundout to second from sophomore Idelson Taveras (Lawrence, Mass.). Blandini followed with a two-out solo blast to right that pulled the Penmen within 3-2 and chased Gracia from the game.
- The score stayed that way into the bottom of the ninth when Mulcay stroked a one-out single to right-center, knocking Evan Glew, who was tremendous in relief, from the game. The Ravens gave the ball to ace Zach Hart to try and record the final two outs, but junior Dylan Faircloth (Cleveland, Texas) greeted him with a base hit to center that put a pair on. Redshirt-senior Kevin Alexy (Newton, Mass.) followed with a grounder to the right side that moved the tying and winning runs into scoring position, but Hart ended it with a strikeout to send the Ravens to NE10 Championship Weekend.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Faircloth went 1-for-4.
- Walkinshaw (7-1) relinquished three runs on eight hits over six innings, striking out three and walking five.
- Manning retired the only batter he faced.
- Tobin gave up one hit, while punching out three and walking one over an inning-and-two-thirds.
- Praml saw Jones reach on a lead-off bunt single, but then picked him off first base, as he faced the minimum in an otherwise perfect ninth.
- Glew (2-3) allowed one hit, while striking out six and not walking a batter, in three-and-two-thirds of shutout relief.
- Southern New Hampshire had won eight of its last nine, including four straight. It also sees a seven-game home winning streak come to an end.
- SNHU falls to 12-7 (.632) all-time in the Northeast-10 Championship, including 0-2 against Franklin Pierce.
- It is the first time the Penmen have bowed out in the first round of the NE10 Championship since 2015.
- SNHU watches a seven-game winning streak against Franklin Pierce, as well as a five-game home streak against the Ravens, dissolve.
- It is the second time in the last three years Southern New Hampshire has swept the regular-season series from Franklin Pierce and then lost in the NE10 Championship.
- SNHU dips to 16-4 at home this season and is now 91-21 (.813) at Penmen Field since the start of the 2014 season.
- Walkinshaw, who was facing the Ravens for the fourth time this season, had entered the contest 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA against FPU in 2019, having allowed just three runs on 15 hits over 23 innings, while striking out 24 and walking six. FPU was hitting just .195 against him.
- Blandini's home run was his fourth of the season and the sixth of his career.
- Mulcay is 15-for-34 (.441) with a home run, 11 RBI and five runs scored in his last 10 games.
- The Penmen will now await their NCAA East Regional fate when the NCAA Selection Show airs Sunday, May 12 (10 p.m.) at NCAA.com.
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