Baseball Rallies Past #26 Franklin Pierce in 11-10 Slugfest

RINDGE, N.H. – Junior Joe Morin (Salem, N.H.) went 3-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs on an eventual game-winning two-run single in the top of the eighth inning to lead the Saint Anselm College baseball team to a come-from-behind 11-10 victory against 26th-ranked Franklin Pierce University in its Northeast-10 Northeast Division opener on Thursday afternoon at Pappas Field.

The Hawks, who absorbed an 8-2 defeat against No. 14 Southern New Hampshire University in a neutral-site game at Pappas on Tuesday evening, snap their four-game losing skid to improve to 7-11 on the season and 1-0 in both the Northeast-10 Conference and Northeast Division. The Ravens, who see their three-game winning streak go by the boards, fall to 16-9, 3-2 NE-10, 0-1 NE-10 NE.

Saint Anselm trailed 10-8 in the top of the eighth when senior Tito Lluberes (Lawrence, Mass.) drew a one-out walk and scampered to third on a base knock through the right side by sophomore Ken Morrisino (East Longmeadow, Mass.). After the Ravens went deeper into their pen and brought out Doug Willey, he promptly recorded a strikeout for out No. 2 and then intentionally put on senior Dan Lagasse (Londonderry, N.H.) to load the bases.

Freshman MacNeill Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn.) came up in a huge spot and worked a walk to plate Lluberes and trim the deficit to one. The Hawks were not done, however, as Morin walked to the plate and delivered a second-pitch single to center that brought in Morrisino and Lagasse to catapult Saint Anselm into the lead at 11-10.

Junior Dave Kent (N. Falmouth, Mass.) entered right away in the bottom half of the eighth and faced a pair in scoring position with two out before inducing a pop out to second to preserved the lead. Then, following a 1-2-3 inning by the Hawks, Kent returned and did the same thing to the Ravens on just nine pitches to earn his second save of the season. Kent has now tossed 6.0 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing just three hits, while striking out five and walking none.

Freshman Clayton Welch (Manchester, N.H.), who allowed a run – unearned – on two hits to go along with one strikeout in the seventh, collected the win to improve to 2-3 on the year. Senior Zachary Brian (Stoneham, Mass.) started and relinquished eight runs – seven earned – on 10 hits, while fanning six and walking just one over 5.0 innings. Freshman Autrey Gates (Pembroke, N.H.) worked the sixth and allowed an earned run on no hits and a pair of walks.

Senior Matt Wojichowski (Portsmouth, R.I.) earned some bragging rights with his former team as he went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, three RBI and a run scored. In addition to his 3-for-4 night with the two RBI, Morin also walked and scored a run. Finnegan was 3-for-4, as well, with two RBI, three runs scored and a walk.

The Hawks actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first against Franklin Pierce starter Ryan Leach, following run-scoring singles by Finnegan and senior Kyle Grumoli (So. Hadley, Mass.). Saint Anselm added a run in the second on a one-out RBI double to left-center by freshman Nick Bragole (Newburyport, Mass.)

The Ravens knotted things at 3-all in the bottom of the frame when Kyle Hood's RBI triple to center, Adam Routhier's run-scoring single up the middle and John Razzino's one-out sacrifice fly to center plated three.

A throwing error on a Finnegan single pushed the Hawks ahead by one in the fifth, but Wojichowski came through with the huge clout of the game to that point – a two-out, three-run homer – that put opened the Saint Anselm advantage to 7-3.

Franklin Pierce stormed back in the bottom of the inning when RBI singles by Matt Walsh and Matt O'Herron sliced the deficit in half before a two-out, three-run double to right-center by Routhier answered the Wojichowski blast and put the Ravens back in front, 8-7.

A wild pitch gave Franklin Pierce an insurance run, but Grumoli's run-scoring fielder's choice grounder to third kept it close at 9-8. Another wild pitched pushed the 10th Raven run across in the seventh and set up the dramatic final two innings.

Grumoli was 1-for-5 with the two RBI, while Bragole went 1-for-4 with an RBI, run scored and walk.

Leach coughed up six runs – just two earned – on six hits, while striking out six and walking three over the first 4.1 innings. Willey was tagged with the loss after allowing a run on a hit, to go along with two strikeouts and a pair of walks in 1.2 innings.

The Hawks return to action Saturday, March 29 when they take on Merrimack College in doubleheader action that begins at 2 p.m. at Haverhill Stadium in Haverhill, Mass. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.