Wild's late hit, Corkum's strong outing give baseball 5-3 upset of #15 Franklin Pierce

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Freshman Will Corkum (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich) held a prolific Franklin Pierce University offense scoreless over the final 8.1 innings on Thursday, and the Saint Michael's College baseball team rallied past the nationally-ranked Ravens, 5-3, on Doc Jacobs Field. The Purple Knights are 11-27 overall and 4-15 in the Northeast-10 Conference's Northeast Division, knocking Franklin Pierce, now 31-15-1 and 12-6-1, from first place.

Saint Michael's was squaring off with a foe ranked 15th nationally by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and first in the region by both the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) and the NCBWA. Additionally, the Ravens qualified for the past seven NCAA Tournaments. The teams play again on Saturday, as the Purple Knights host a season-ending Senior Day doubleheader at 12 p.m.

Corkum scattered eight hits while allowing three earned runs in nine innings, striking out one and walking one while tossing 109 pitches. Against an offense leading the league in runs, home runs, batting average, hits, extra-base hits and stolen bases, the righty held the Ravens to a 4-for-27 showing over his final 8.1 shutout frames.

Sophomore Tyler Wild (Quaker Hill, Conn./Saint Bernard School) had the big blow for Saint Michael's, sending a two-run double into the right-field corner in the eighth inning to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 advantage. He finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs from the No. 8 spot in the order, while freshman Don McGuirl (Warwick, R.I./Saint Sebastian's School) added two RBIs from the nine hole, including smacking a sacrifice fly to provide an insurance run in the eighth.

Sophomores Nick Nelson (Spofford, N.H./Keene) and Alec Tice (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) each had three hits, as the hosts outhit Franklin Pierce, 11-8, picking up five runs on 11 hits against a pair of pitchers who entered the day with a combined 11-3 record and a 1.95 earned run average while yielding 5.9 hits per nine innings. Senior Chadwick Estey (New Haven, Vt./Mount Abraham Union) scored a pair of runs while catching Corkum.

Graduate student James Roche (Arlington, Mass./Bentley) was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a home run for the Ravens, while junior Nick LaCroix (Grafton, Mass./Grafton) also homered. Graduate student Jack Crawford (Montgomery, N.Y./Saint Andrews) yielded two runs on seven hits in five-plus innings, striking out six and walking three. Sophomore Ryan Leach (Farmingdale, Maine/Hall-Dale) suffered just his second loss in eight decisions by surrendering three runs on four hits in three frames.

Roche knocked his 12th home run of the season with one down in the first, and LaCroix followed with a two-out solo shot to make it 3-0. After yielding an ensuing single, Corkum allowed only six base runners the remainder of the game. The Purple Knights plated single runs in each the third and fourth innings, with senior Tim McDonnell (Durham, N.H./Oyster River) scoring the first run on a double play and McGuirl plating Estey with a two-out base knock in the fourth.

In the eighth inning of a 3-2 game, Estey and senior Bryan Geary (Milton, Vt./Milton/Skidmore) dropped in singles with no one out to load the bases. Wild knocked the first pitch he saw into the right-field corner to plate Estey and junior pinch-runner Jacob Begnoche (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) before McGuirl's sac fly scored Geary.

After Corkum induced with an inning-ending double-play grounder in the top of the eighth, his defense came through again in the ninth. With one down, shortstop McGuirl ranged deep into the hole on the left side and made a long throw across the diamond for the second out. After a five-pitch walk, the final batter tapped out to Wild at second base.