NE-10 TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: Stonehill Meets Franklin Pierce In First Round

Skyhawks in search of their fourth NE-10 title in program history

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Freshman Jim Duff is listed as the
probable starter versus the Ravens.

EASTON, Mass. (May 7, 2012) – Third-seeded Stonehill College, ranked sixth overall in the latest NCBWA East Regional Poll, will square off against second-seeded Franklin Pierce University, ranked no. 15/18 nationally, on Wednesday, May 9 in Rindge, N.H. at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field in a single elimination Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) Tournament First Round Northeast Division matchup at 4 p.m. Stonehill's matchup against Franklin Pierce was originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 8 but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Admission for Wednesday's game is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for senior citizens and children and $1.00 for students. The winner between Stonehill and Franklin Pierce will take on the winner of fourth-seeded New Haven and first-seeded Pace University, both representing the Southwest Division, in a double elimination championship format starting on Thursday, May 10 through Saturday, May 12.

Also competing in the first round single elimination format on Tuesday will be third-seeded Southern Connecticut State University against second-seeded Le Moyne at 2 p.m. in Syracuse, N.Y. The winner of the Southwest Division matchup will take on the winner of fourth-seeded Bentley University and first-seeded Saint Anselm, both representing the Northeast Division, on Thursday, May 10. The highest remaining Northeast Division seed entering the double elimination round starting on Thursday will host the NE-10 Championships. Next season, the Southwest Division will serve as the host of the conference championships.

Pitching Matchup

Entering tomorrow's contest, Franklin Pierce has listed graduate student and left-handed pitcher Jack Crawford (Montgomery, N.Y./St. Andrews Univ.) as its probable starter while Stonehill has countered with freshman right-hander Jim Duff (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City).

Crawford is 5-2 overall with a 1.61 earned run average, second-best on the team, in 61.1 innings pitched. Crawford has allowed 40 hits, 17 runs (11 earned), 15 walks and has struck out 55 batters in nine appearances (eight games started).

Duff checks in with a 3-1 record overall, two saves and a 1.97 earned run average in 15 appearances (two games started). Duff has compiled 45.2 innings pitched, yielded 49 hits, 14 runs (10 earned), issued six walks and struck out 40 batters for a 6.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the highest on the team.

Crawford has made one start against the Skyhawks this season earning a no-decision in a 27-11 win for the Ravens throwing four innings, giving up five hits, three runs (all earned), two walks and two strikeouts. Crawford left the game in the middle of the fifth inning after being struck with a comebacker.

In one appearance this season against Franklin Pierce, Duff pitched two shutout innings out of the bullpen in a 2-1 loss allowing three hits and no walks. Duff's first-career collegiate start this season was a complete-game effort against UMass Lowell on April 25 in a 4-1 win as the freshman gave up ten hits, one run (unearned), no walks and a career-high seven strikeouts.

Sophomore second baseman Dan
Fratus leads the Skyhawks with a .354 batting average and a NCAA Division II leading nine triples.

Regular Season Series

Franklin Pierce went 3-0 overall outscoring Stonehill 36-15 during the three game weekend series from on Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21. The Ravens took Friday's game 27-11 and swept the doubleheader on Saturday by scores of 2-1 and 7-3.

Sophomore first baseman Zach Mathieu (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton Acad.) led Franklin Pierce offensively with a .455/.600/.1.273 slash line, seven runs scored, one double, one triple, two homers and six runs batted in. He also posted a .960 fielding percentage in 25 chances (24 putouts, one error).

For Stonehill, senior Michael White (Lisbon, N.H./Lisbon Regional) hit .385/.385/.538 with two doubles while sophomore second baseman Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) batted .333/.385/.500, had one triple and three runs batted in.

Playoff History

Stonehill, who is making its third-straight trip to the NE-10 Tournament on Tuesday, has captured three NE-10 championships in program history most recently defeating Franklin Pierce, 5-4 in ten innings, to claim the 2010 conference title. Angelo Bruno (Norwalk, Conn./Norwalk) earned NE-10 Tournament Most Valuable Player honors by delivering decisive hit with an RBI double with two out in the top of the tenth inning that scored senior Mitch Davis (Bow, N.H./Bow) from third after he had reached base with a leadoff walk. Stonehill also claimed NE-10 titles in 2000 over Assumption College and in 1985 versus then NE-10 Conference member Bryant University.

Franklin Pierce knocked off the Skyhawks, 3-2, in last season's NE-10 Tournament First Round contest on May 11 at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field eventually going on to play in the NE-10 Championship against Adelphi University. The Ravens have won four conference championships in their program's history earning titles in 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2005.