CARY, N.C. (March 9, 2018) – Senior right-hander John Amendola (Wallingford, Conn.) opened the Franklin Pierce University baseball team's annual March trip to North Carolina in style on Friday afternoon, as he spun six scoreless innings and struck out eight to pick up the win as the Ravens posted a 7-0 win over NYIT. In the team's second game of the day at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, No. 7/12 nationally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas jumped to a 7-0 lead through four innings on the way to dealing Franklin Pierce a 14-3 defeat.
With the non-conference split, Franklin Pierce now stands at 6-3-1. NYIT fell to 0-1-1 with the loss to the Ravens, while St. Thomas Aquinas improved to 7-3.
In the first game of the day, Franklin Pierce got the only run it would need in the bottom half of the third inning. Junior center fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) walked with two outs, before senior right fielder Adam Chase (Bridgewater, Mass.) was hit by a pitch and senior second baseman John Friday (Southborough, Mass.) took another walk to load the bases. Senior catcher Stephen Octave (New Windsor, N.Y.) was next, and he too drew a walk, to force home the game's first run.
Four runs in the bottom of the fourth pushed the lead out to 5-0. Octave had the key hit with a two-run, two-out single, while sophomore left fielder Jack Duffy (Stratford, Conn.) socked an RBI double. Sophomore designated hitter Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) doubled in the inning as well, and later scored on a wild pitch.
Two more runs in the bottom of the sixth were enough to create the 7-0 final. Roberto singled leading off, moved to second when Chase walked and scored on an RBI single by Friday. Chase later scored on a two-out single by senior third baseman Zack Tower (Auburn, Mass.).
Amendola (1-0) threw six scoreless and walked just two against his eight strikeouts to pick up the win on the hill for the Ravens. Sophomore right-hander Thomas Sperino (Mendon, Mass.) allowed just one hit and struck out two over the final three innings to finish off the shutout and notch his first collegiate save.
Freshman right-hander Chris Nappi (0-1) took the ball and the loss on the mound for NYIT. Over 3.1 innings of work, he surrendered four runs on five hits, walked five, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and struck out two.
In the second game, St. Thomas Aquinas jumped out quickly with two runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the bottom of the second. In the first, senior outfielder Giovanni Dingcong had an RBI double, while senior infielder Anthony Shkrelja drove in a run with a single. In the second, it was an RBI single apiece for senior infielder Joseph Pena and sophomore infielder Nicholas Lucchese.
The Spartans plated three more runs in the last of the fourth to stretch the lead to 7-0. Pena and Dingcong each had run-scoring singles in the frame, while Dingcong later came around to score on an error.
Franklin Pierce got on the board with a run in the top of the sixth. Sophomore shortstop James Boria (Massapequa, N.Y.) took a leadoff walk and later scored on an RBI single by Octave, who drove in four runs between the two games.
St. Thomas Aquinas answered immediately, with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it 9-1. Pena singled and Lucchese walked to start things off, which set the table for a two-run triple by Dingcong, who drove in five runs and scored twice in the game, as part of a 3-for-3 outing.
Franklin Pierce closed within 9-3 with two in the top of the seventh. Jones reached on a one-out walk, while Boria followed with a single. After a wild pitch moved the runners up, Roberto cashed them both in with a two-run single.
Again the Spartans had the immediate answer, this time with five in the bottom half of the seventh to break the game wide open and create the 14-3 final. Shkrelja, senior infielder Bobby Morse and sophomore Angelo Baez all had RBI singles in the inning, while Dingcong picked up his final RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly. Another run scored in the inning via a wild pitch.
Junior left-hander Evan Glew (North Andover, Mass.) threw the first four innings and took the loss (1-1) in the second game for Franklin Pierce. He surrendered seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits, walked three, threw a wild pitch and struck out three.
On the other side of the ledger, senior right-hander Frankie Moscatiello (1-0) started and threw the first six innings to notch the win for St. Thomas Aquinas. He allowed just one run on three hits, walked two, threw a wild pitch and struck out six.
The Ravens return to the field on Saturday, March 10, when they play another pair of non-conference contests at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Franklin Pierce will take on LIU Post at 2:30 p.m. and Saint Rose at 6 p.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce baseball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).