CARY, N.C. (March 10, 2018) – It was a pair of non-conference losses on Saturday for the Franklin Pierce University baseball team, which fell to 1-3 on its scheduled seven-game trip to North Carolina. The Ravens were shutout by LIU Post, 2-0, before falling to Saint Rose, 7-4, in neutral-site play at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
With the losses, Franklin Pierce falls to 6-5-1 and has lost three in a row for the first time since dropping the final three games of the season in May of 2014, all of which were postseason contests. The last time Franklin Pierce lost three straight regular-season games came during a five-game skid in March of 2013.
LIU Post and Saint Rose each improved to 7-6 with their respective wins over the Ravens.
Expected wet weather on Sunday has forced Franklin Pierce to shake up its schedule for the remainder of the weekend. The Ravens have canceled their originally-scheduled game against Saint Rose on Sunday, and will now square off with St. Thomas Aquinas at 8 a.m., at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, weather permitting. Either way, Franklin Pierce will wrap up the trip to the Tar Heel State on Monday and Tuesday, with a two-game visit to Mount Olive.
In Saturday's first game, LIU Post picked up single runs in the top of the third and top of the fourth for the affair's only scoring. In the third, senior shortstop Joe Spitaleri led off the inning with a solo home run, his second of the season. In the fourth, junior third baseman Jimmy Mendyk led off the frame with a single, moved to second on a walk to junior left fielder Michael Greene and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. Spitaleri followed with his second RBI in as many innings, with a run-scoring groundout.
Junior right-hander Zach Hart (Wallingford, Conn.) started and threw the first six innings on the mound for Franklin Pierce. He was charged with the two runs on seven hits, walked two, struck out three and suffered the loss (1-1).
Junior right-hander James Varela (3-0) took the ball and went the distance on the other side for LIU Post. He authored a four-hit shutout, walked two and struck out 12.
In the second game, Saint Rose built up a 7-0 lead, starting with one run each in the bottom of the first and third innings. In the first, senior center fielder Brian Uliana singled leading off, moved to second on a walk to senior third baseman Joe Foran and scored on an RBI single by senior shortstop Mark Powell. In the third, Powell started things with a one-out single, moved to second on a groundout and scored on an RBI single by sophomore second baseman Andrew Pedone.
The Golden Knights added five more runs in the bottom of the fifth, while sending 10 men to the plate, to open up the seven-run lead. Franklin Pierce pitching issued two bases-loaded walks and hit a batter with the bases full as well, to account for three of the runs. Uliana drove in a run while reaching on an error, which also allowed another run to score.
Franklin Pierce came up with four runs in the top of the eighth, but by then it would be too late, as the Ravens could get no closer than the 7-4 final. Saint Rose returned some of the runs it had been gifted in the fifth, as both senior designated hitter Tim Going (Islip, N.Y.) and sophomore shortstop Joe Napolitano (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) were hit by pitches with the bases loaded to force home runs. Senior second baseman John Friday (Southborough, Mass.) had an RBI single in the inning, while senior catcher Stephen Octave (New Windsor, N.Y.) drove in a run while reaching on a fielder's choice. With four runs already in, the Ravens had the tying run on first with the bases full and one out, but junior third baseman Carmine Giordano (New Rochelle, N.Y.) struck out and sophomore left fielder Jack Duffy (Stratford, Conn.) bounced out to first base to end the threat.
Senior right-hander Ryan Covelle (Medford, Mass.) struggled through four innings on the mound and suffered the loss (1-1) for Franklin Pierce. He was dinged for six of the seven runs, on seven hits, walked four and struck out three.
Junior right-hander Stephen Hill (2-1) went seven innings, plus three batters, to pick up the win on the other side of the ledger for Saint Rose. He surrendered three runs on four hits, walked one, hit two batters, threw a wild pitch and struck out five. Freshman right-hander Francisco Infante came on in the eighth, hit two batters to force in inherited runners, but then wiggled out of the jam without further damage. He then worked around an error and a single with two outs in the ninth to finish with three strikeouts over 1.2 innings and nail down his first save of the season.
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).