Junior Michael White takes the ball on the mound tomorrow evening and also is the Skyhawks top hitter this season.
Sixth-seeded Skyhawks to battle third-seeded and No. 19/22 Ravens for spot in double-elimination championship this weekend
Admission is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for senior citizens and children and $1.00 for students from NE-10 member institutions with a valid ID. Franklin Pierce will also offer a live audio webcast from its student-radio station, WFPC-LP 105.3 FM, via athletics.franklinpierce.edu with a link also available through www.stonehillskyhawks.com.
Wednesday's other first round matchup features fifth-seeded University of New Haven (26-17, 14-12 NE-10) at fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Lowell (35-10, 18-8 NE-10) at LeLacheur Park at 5 p.m. Top-seeded and NE-10 regular season champions Southern Connecticut State University (37-4-1, 21-4-1 NE-10) and second-seeded Adelphi University (31-12-2, 19-6-1 NE-10) have earned first round byes into this weekend's double-elimination portion of the championship. Adelphi will serve as host of this weekend's games, which will be held on the campus of SUNY-Old Westbury. The Panthers will play the Stonehill/Franklin Pierce winner on Friday at 11 a.m., followed by Southern Connecticut against the UMass Lowell/New Haven winner at 3 p.m.
Stonehill (30-17, 13-12 NE-10) is making its second-straight appearance in the NE-10 Tournament (14th overall) and seeks its fourth title, having won the tournament championship in 1985, 2000 and 2010. Last spring, the Skyhawks rolled into the postseason with a seven game winning streak and kept that momentum going by winning all four games at the NE-10 Championship, including a pair of victories over host Franklin Pierce, capped by a 5-4 triumph in ten innings over the Ravens in the final game.
Stonehill has dropped its last two and five of seven entering the postseason this spring after falling 6-0 at Southern New Hampshire University in the regular season finale on Sunday. The Skyhawks are seventh in the NE-10 with a .266 team batting average, averaging 4.94 runs per game, and 3.79 team earned run average while ranking sixth with a .966 team fielding percentage.
Junior Rich McHugh will look to spark the offense from the lead off spot, leading the NE-10 with 35 walks this season, posting a .462 on-base percentage. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Junior Michael White (Lisbon, N.H./Lisbon Regional) leads Stonehill with a .337 (59-for-175) batting average, 34 runs scored, nine doubles, three triples, three home runs, 26 RBI and 24 stolen bases (3rd NE-10). The lefthander will also make his eighth start of the season (ninth appearance) on the mound tomorrow, having posted a 3-3 record and 2.60 earned run average with 45 strikeouts and just nine walks in 45.0 innings pitched, holding opposing batters to a .211 average. White was dominant in the postseason a year ago, going 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA as he yielded just one earned run in 17 innings over two starts with 13 strikeouts and just three walks.
Junior Rich McHugh (Pembroke, Mass./Thayer Academy), this week's NE-10 Player of the Week, is batting .324 (47-145) for Stonehill with 30 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, five home runs and 30 RBI, drawing a Conference-best 35 walks to aid in a team-leading .462 on-base percentage (2nd NE-10). Senior Angelo Bruno (Norwalk, Conn./Norwalk), the 2010 NE-10 Championships MVP, leads the Skyhawks with 12 doubles, eight home runs (3rd) and 38 RBI, posting a .280 (47-168) batting average, 28 runs scored and two triples. Junior Kyle Shepard (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet) is hitting .291 (41-141) with 18 runs scored, six doubles, a team-high four triples (5th), two homers and 17 RBI.
Senior righthander Brenden Shepard (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet) and junior lefthander Michael Von Stein (Trumbull, Conn./Trumbull) anchor the Stonehill bullpen. Shepard, an All-Championship team selection last spring, ranks second in the NE-10 with his ten saves to go with a 3.38 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 14 walks in 21.1 innings over 19 appearances. Von Stein has also made 19 relief appearances and is 5-1 with a 4.50 ERA, 17 strikeouts and 15 walks in 20.0 innings, limiting opposing batters to a .200 average.
Franklin Pierce (35-11, 19-7 NE-10) has appeared in the NE-10 Championships every year since joining the Conference prior to the 2001 season and looks to become just the third program to win five championships since the Conference's first tournament in 1985. The Ravens have won championships in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, making tomorrow's game a matchup of the last four title winners.
Senior Brenden Shepard anchors a formidable one-two punch at the back end of the Skyhawks bullpen.
Franklin Pierce has won just twice in its last six games to close out the regular season, posting an 11-4 win over New Haven in its regular season finale. The Ravens boast a Conference best .304 team batting average, averaging 6.57 runs per game, while ranking fourth with a 2.20 team earned run average, and seventh with a .963 fielding percentage.
Sophomore righthander Ryan Thompson (Calgary, Alberta/Souhegan (N.H.)), the NE-10 Pitcher of the Year, will make his 12th start of the season for Franklin Pierce on Wednesday evening. The University of Connecticut transfer is a team-best 10-1 (1st NE-10) with a 0.92 earned run average (2nd), a Conference-high 105 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 78.1 innings (4th), holding opposing batters to a .176 average.
Senior Derek Ingui (Sterling, Mass./Wachusett Regional) leads the Ravens offense with a .406 (67-for-165) batting average (1st NE-10), 47 runs scored (1st), ten doubles, three triples, ten home runs (2nd), 42 RBI (3rd) and 17 stolen bases. He also leads the team with a .461 on-base percentage and .685 slugging percentage (1st). Junior Mike Dowd (East Bridgewater, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) is hitting .362 (63-174) (3rd) with 34 runs scored, 15 doubles (2nd), three triples, three homers and 33 RBI. Classmate Dan Hennigan (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) sets the table from the leadoff spot and is batting .337 (56-166) with 41 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, 21 RBI and 13 steals.
Franklin Pierce won both meetings between the two clubs during the regular season, notching a 10-0 victory at Dr. Pappas Field on April 17 and a 3-0 victory in Easton, Mass., three days later. White did not pitch against the Ravens this season, but allowed three earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and a walk over seven innings in a 5-1 setback in Rindge on April 22, 2010. Thompson tossed a complete game in Franklin Pierce's 3-0 win at Gorman Field on April 20, scattering three hits and two walks with 13 strikeouts in the victory.
Franklin Pierce is 4-2 all-time against Stonehill in the NE-10 Tournament and 6-2 in postseason play overall after posting a pair of wins in last year's NCAA Division II East Regional to answer the Skyhawks two NE-10 Tournament wins the week before.
Wednesday, May 11
Game 1: #6 Stonehill (30-17, 13-12 NE-10) at #3 Franklin Pierce (35-11, 19-7 NE-10), 6 p.m.
Game 2: #5 New Haven (26-17, 14-12 NE-10) at #4 UMass Lowell (35-10, 18-8 NE-10), 5 p.m.
Friday, May 13
Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. #2 Adelphi (31-12-2, 19-6-1 NE-10), 11 a.m.
Game 4: Game 2 winner vs. #1 Southern Connecticut State (37-4-1, 21-4-1 NE-10), 3 p.m.
Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 7 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, Noon
Game 7: Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6, 4 p.m.