Baseball yields two big innings in loss to regionally-ranked Franklin Pierce

Baseball yields two big innings in loss to regionally-ranked Franklin Pierce

RINDGE, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team yielded only two big innings to regionally-ranked Franklin Pierce University during a 10-1 loss on Tuesday evening during Northeast-10 Conference play at Pappas Field. The Purple Knights are winless through 11 contests, all of which have occurred in league action, while the Ravens are 17-9 overall and 9-3 in the NE10. Franklin Pierce, which advanced to the 2016 NCAA Tournament World Series as part of its 12th straight NCAA appearance, is fifth in this week's D2 Baseball News regional poll.

Sophomore Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) went 3-for-4 with one run for the Purple Knights, picking up a career high in hits. Classmate Sean Winthrop (Hopkinton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) was 1-for-3 with an RBI, sophomore Harry Southworth (Taunton, Mass./Coyle & Cassidy) had a hit and a stolen base, while first-year Connor Hopkins (Windham, N.H./Windham) walked and was hit by a pitch out of the leadoff spot.

Junior Patrick Martin (Wilton, N.H./Wilton-Lyndeborough Coop/Saint Joseph's [Maine]) took the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in four frames during his first collegiate start. Sophomore Christian Devine (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) faced the minimum six batters over two scoreless innings, retiring five while catching the other stealing on a 1-6 play, while junior Zack Lanzillo (Rutland, Vt./Mount Saint Joseph Academy) tossed a 1-2-3 eighth as the fifth Purple Knight pitcher.

First-year Dylan Jones homered while going 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs for Franklin Pierce, while junior Dalton Davis also went deep, scored twice and drove in three. Senior Ben Collincini picked up the win after allowing one run on two hits over 3.2 innings of relief. He struck out four.

Hopkins led off the game with a walk before Robertson singled, and each moved up on senior Drew Salk's (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) sacrifice bunt, but a fielder's choice and a pick-off ended the threat. The Purple Knights loaded the bases with one out in the third on singles by Robertson and Southworth and a walk to senior Kyle Cone (York, Maine/York), but Collincini induced a double-play grounder by his first batter.

Franklin Pierce put runners at second and third with two down in the third before Martin got the final hitter to line out to Hopkins in center field. The hosts broke through with four runs on five hits in the fourth, with Davis and Jones hitting back-to-back home runs to account for the first three runs. Winthrop's two-out RBI single scored Robertson to make it 4-1 in the sixth, but the final out occurred on the base paths to end the frame.

The Ravens pulled away with six runs on five hits and one error in the seventh. Four players came up with RBI singles, while the other two runs were plated on miscues. Saint Michael's strung together one final chance in the ninth when senior pinch-hitter Steven Auger (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) walked and sophomore pinch-hitter Cole Reilly (Milton, Vt./Milton) was hit by a pitch with one down, but consecutive grounders ended the game.

The Purple Knights open their home schedule tomorrow by taking on No. 4 Southern New Hampshire University at 3:30 p.m. The Penmen's national ranking is according to D2 Baseball News. Southern New Hampshire qualified for the past five NCAA Tournaments while winning two of the last three NE10 Championships.