RINDGE, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team closed out its 2018 season with a 7-1 setback to regionally-ranked Franklin Pierce University on Friday at Pappas Field. The Purple Knights, who played their program-record-tying 41st game of the spring, end at 9-32 overall and 4-19 in the Northeast-10 Conference, with 15 losses being sustained by three runs or fewer. The Ravens, who improved to 32-12-1 and 21-6, are fifth in this week's NCAA East Region poll.
Junior Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) was 2-for-3 with an RBI, walk, double and triple for the Purple Knights, who played the home team in the contest. First-year Iset Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) had a hit, walk and stolen base, while classmate Danté Moran (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Dixie Hollins) added a knock and a run, tying Adam Sargent's '97 24-year-old program rookie record with 44 hits. First-year Alex Mendez (Fallon, Nev./Churchill County) allowed five runs, with four earned, on five hits in six innings in the loss.
Senior Colin Brennan (Braintree, Mass./Boston College HS) fanned one during a shutout seventh inning, and graduate student Nick Dorcean (Bellerose, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy/SUNY Old Westbury) allowed two runs in two frames. Between two schools, he ended up with 131 strikeouts in 121 career innings over 43 games, while Brennan tied for sixth in Saint Michael's history with 36 appearances, matching the second-most among lefties. His 13 outings this season tied Rob Hopper '94 for the most ever by a Purple Knight southpaw.
Senior John Friday was 3-for-3 with two runs, two walks and a double for Franklin Pierce, while classmate Adam Chase went 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs. Junior lefty Evan Glew allowed one run on six hits in 5.1 innings for the win as the first of six pitchers.
The Ravens scored four runs on three hits in the first inning, with senior Stephen Octave driving home a pair on a one-out double. The Purple Knights got a run back in the home half, with Robertson doubling home Moran. Junior Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) walked, but back-to-back batters representing the tying run were put out. First-year Anthony Azpeitia (Tampa, Fla./King) singled and stole second with two out in the second but moved no further, and Robertson was stranded after tripling with one down in the third.
Octave scored an unearned run in the fourth, and Maldonado singled and stole second before reaching third on a wild pitch in the bottom half but being left there. Mendez induced a 4-6-3 double play started by Azpeitia to finish the fifth, and Brennan got out of a two-on, one-out situation in the seventh with a strikeout and fly ball.
Still down only 5-1 in the seventh, the Purple Knights saw first-year Joe Brady (Hanover, Mass./Bridgton Academy) hit by a pitch leading off before Maldonado walked. Azpeitia moved them up with a sac bunt for the first out, but a strikeout and groundout ended the threat. Chase came up with an RBI single during a two-run ninth.
Robertson ended the season with 10 doubles, tying for second in program history, while the Purple and Gold's 17 newcomers - including 16 first-years - all had a major impact during their first spring on the squad. In addition to tying the program's rookie record for hits, Moran finished with a school-record 158 at bats. As a team, the Purple Knights surpassed standards for saves (6) and pitching strikeouts (231) while yielding a .286 opposing batting average, their lowest in 12 years. They also cut more than two runs from last year's earned run average and matched their highest fielding percentage (.947) in five seasons. At the plate, their 125 bases on balls were their most in six seasons, they tied for third with 54 doubles, and the 54 bases the Purple Knights stole were four short of a 1994 standard.