Purple Knights fall twice at regionally-ranked Franklin Pierce

Purple Knights fall twice at regionally-ranked Franklin Pierce

RINDGE, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team fell twice at regionally-ranked Franklin Pierce University, 13-1 and 6-2, on Wednesday at Pappas Field. The Purple Knights are 3-25 overall and 3-23 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Ravens improved to 30-13 and 20-7 as the fifth-ranked squad in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) East Region poll.

Junior PJ Jasak (Palmer, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy/Le Moyne) knocked his first career home run in the opener while going 1-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch, and senior Drew Salk (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) and sophomore Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) finished 1-for-3 apiece with a walk. Senior Steven Auger (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) walked twice. As the first of three pitchers, sophomore Denis Cooney (Pittsfield, Mass./Pittsfield) took the loss after allowing seven earned runs on six hits in three innings. He struck out three and walked five. Classmate Dan Flynn (Williamstown, Mass./Mount Greylock Regional) fired his second scoreless outing in as many collegiate appearances by retiring both Ravens he faced.

First-year Dylan Jones led Franklin Pierce by hitting 4-for-4 with four runs, two RBIs, two doubles and a triple. Junior Adam Chase homered during a 2-for-5 day, scoring twice, and graduate student Anthony DeDona drove in five despite picking up one hit. He and Jones each had one of the hosts' four sacrifice flies. As the first of six hurlers, junior John Amendola earned the win after tossing five innings of two-hit, shutout ball. He fanned four.

The Purple Knights went down in order in the opening inning, and the Ravens struck for five runs in the home half, going up for good on Chase's one-out home run. Franklin Pierce tacked on two runs in the second and single runs in the third and fourth, working around Saint Michael's putting runners at the corners with one out in the top of the fourth but not yielding a run. Salk singled before sophomore Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) reached on an error, moving Salk to third, but a double play ended the threat.

Auger, first-year Connor Hopkins (Windham, N.H./Windham) and Robertson walked to load the bases with none out in the sixth during a scoreless frame before Jasak put the Purple Knights on the board with a home run to left field with one down in the seventh. The first two batters again reached during the eighth, with Robertson singling and Salk walking, but the next three went down in order.

Saint Michael's outhit the hosts, 11-8, in the nightcap while twice bringing the tying run into the on-deck circle during a ninth-inning rally. Junior Patrick Martin (Wilton, N.H./Wilton-Lyndeborough Coop/Saint Joseph's [Maine]) pitched well into the eighth inning, allowing only a pair of solo homers in the opening seven frames before taking the loss after yielding all six runs - five earned - over 7.1 innings. Sophomore Alex Sprague (Nottingham, N.H./Proctor Academy) retired the only two batters he faced. Hopkins batted 3-for-5 with an RBI, Robertson was 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Salk singled and walked. Eight of the nine Purple Knight hitters had a hit.

Junior Dalton Davis went 2-for-4 with two runs, a home run and a triple for Franklin Pierce, first-year Richard DiMartino also went deep, and senior Kyle Hood was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. First-year Derek Duffy earned the win after tossing 5.1 shutout innings, scattering seven hits and striking out seven. Junior Adam Goss picked up a two-out save.

Hopkins led off the game with a single before taking second on a wild pitch with none out but moved no further, and Martin pitched around a two-on, one-out situation during a scoreless home half. Hopkins and Robertson both singled with one down but were left on in the third, and Davis led off the fourth with a homer. In the sixth, Salk and Allen rapped back-to-back singles to begin the frame, and Jasak's sacrifice bunt put them into scoring position, but graduate student Tanner Bird came in from the bullpen to fan the next two Purple Knights.

DiMartino's one-out solo homer made it 2-0 in the home half, but Saint Michael's again had a chance to creep closer in the eighth. Salk walked with one down before Jasak singled with two out, and both moved up on a wild pitch. However, the final batter flew out, and the Ravens scored four times in the bottom half, with Hood's two-run single the big blow. Senior Kyle Cone (York, Maine/York) walked with one down in the ninth to spark a rally as the first of four straight Purple Knights to reach, as Hopkins and Robertson both picked up RBI singles to make it 6-2. With runners on first and second, Goss came on to induce a fielder's choice before striking out the last hitter.

Saint Michael's caps its season by hosting Saint Anselm College tomorrow at 12 p.m.