Junior Rich McHugh was 3-for-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Mathieu RBI ground rule double in the eighth lifts Ravens to win
Franklin Pierce (36-11, 19-7 NE-10) advances to this weekend's double-elimination championship round where it will face second-seeded and host Adelphi University in Friday's first game at SUNY-Old Westbury at 11 a.m. The Panthers earned a first round bye. Stonehill likely sees its season come to a close with a 30-18 record overall, 13-12 in Northeast-10 Conference play, having made its second-straight trip to the NE-10 Tournament.
Mathieu finished 1-for-3 with the double and RBI, while sophomore Dan Kemp (Sturbridge, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) hit 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. Junior Mike Dowd (East Bridgewater, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) batted 2-for-4 for the Ravens.
Junior lefthander Gregg Downing (Queens, N.Y./Christ the King) picked up the win (8-1) in relief for Franklin Pierce working around a walk in 1.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Sophomore righthander Ryan Thompson (Calgary, Alberta/Souhegan (N.H.)) went the first 7.2 innings for the Ravens and yielded two earned runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Junior lefthander Michael White pitched well in defeat for the Skyhawks.
Junior Rich McHugh (Pembroke, Mass./Thayer Academy) paced the offense for Stonehill as he hit 3-for-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored. Senior Nick Nardacci (Glenmont, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) was 1-for-4 with an RBI, while classmate Scott Hackett (Bangor, Maine/Bangor) chipped in a double. Sophomore James DeAlto (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y./Briarcliff) went 1-for-2 with a run scored and two stolen bases.
Senior righthander Brenden Shepard (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet) took the loss (0-1) in relief for Stonehill, surrendering an earned run on two hits with two strikeouts and a walk in an inning of work. Junior lefthander Michael White (Lisbon, N.H./Lisbon Regional) pitched well in defeat for the Skyhawks, allowing two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks over seven innings.
Stonehill struck first with a run in the fifth as DeAlto was hit by a Thompson pitch with two out, stole second, and scored on a single to left by McHugh. McHugh advanced to second on the throw and then was thrown out attempting to steal third to end the inning. Franklin Pierce answered right away in the bottom of the frame when freshman Ross Lincoln (Woodstock, Conn./Woodstock Academy) drew a one out walk before Kemp delivered his second home run of the season to put the Ravens in front.
Stonehill knotted the score in the top of the eighth when McHugh tripled to right center with two out and scored on a single to right center from Nardacci. Franklin Pierce again had a quick answer, regaining the lead in the home half when senior Derek Ingui (Sterling, Mass./Wachusett Regional) drew a one out walk, advanced to third on a single from Dowd, and then scored on Mathieu's ground rule double to right center. Downing retired the Skyhawks in order in the ninth to clinch the victory.