Fifth Inning Blunders Lead to 7-1 Loss to #14 Franklin Pierce in NCAA Division II Baseball East Regional
Base: #5 WU 1 - #3 Franklin Pierce - NCAA DII East Regional
Friday, May 18, 2012 - Manchester, N.H.
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Junior Dave Hatt struck out five in six innings on Friday
Sophomore Brandon Payne went 2-for-3 with a stolen base against Franklin Pierce
Wilmington will face host and No. 1 seed Southern New Hampshire on Saturday at 11
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A five run fifth inning full of unfortunate fielding situations and errors led to a 7-1 defeat for the Wilmington University baseball team in the second round of the NCAA Division II East Regional at Southern New Hampshire University in a winners’ bracket game against #14 Franklin Pierce on Friday night.
Wilmington (33-17) is now 1-1 in the East Regional and will need to win two games on Saturday to advance to the Regional Championship on Sunday. Franklin Pierce (38-17-1) moves on as the only team to be 2-0 after two games in the regional.
The game came down to the fifth inning, after Wildcat starter Dave Hatt settled in by throwing three consecutive scoreless innings starting in the second. The Ravens led 1-0 after the top of the first as a leadoff walk came around to score on a failed pick-off attempt and a single. The game was still 1-0 going into the top of the fifth.
Another leadoff man reached base for Franklin Pierce as Anthony Peguero hit a single to left field. Peguero stole second with a nice slide to the back of the base, and came around to score the innings’ first run on a throwing error on a bunt down the third base line. A miscommunication issue at first base led to two players covering the bag, but the ball slipped past and allowed Peguero to score the unearned run.
Another bunt and a throw to first pulled Brendan Fallers off the bag, allowing another unearned run to cross. Now with two outs in the inning, the Ravens’ Nick LaCroix singled back up the middle for one run, and as the ball got passed Matt Lopes at the plate, a second run came around to score. The final run of the inning for the Ravens came home as a throw from short got passed Mike Godwin at first to make it 6-1 after five innings.
The Wildcats earned one of the runs back in the bottom half of the fifth, but couldn’t keep the inning going to cut it any closer. Godwin singled off the glove of the third baseman, and moved up to second on a throwing error by the shortstop with one out to start the rally. Jordan Oncay singled back up the box and Godwin was able to score as the centerfielder over ran the ball in the outfield. With two outs and runners on first and third, Brandon Payne battled in a seven-pitch at-bat, but the catcher held onto a foul tip to get Franklin Pierce out of the inning.
The Ravens added another unearned run in the top of the 6th to close the scoring for the evening.
The Wildcats had multiple opportunities in the early portion of the game, but couldn’t come up with the timely hits to capitalize.
In the third inning, Jonathan Rodriguez led off with a walk and BJ Janney laid a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Joe Harbach bounced out to the first baseman, but moved the runners up to second and third with one out. After Godwin walked to load the bases, Franklin Pierce starter Ryan Thompson got Oncay to pop up to the shortstop in shallow left field and Lopes to fly out to right center as James Roche made a nice running catch in the gap to end the inning.
Wilmington threatened again in the fourth inning as Payne began the inning with a one out cue shot down the third base line for a single. After Payne stole second, Rodriguez chopped one between short and third with two outs, but Payne had to hold at third as Dan Kemp kept the ball in the infield with a diving effort. Thompson was able to get out of the inning unscathed as Janney grounded into a fielders’ choice.
Payne went 2-for-3 on the night, while Janney, Godwin, Oncay and Rodriguez accounted for the other four hits for the Wildcats. The Wildcats were outhit 10-6 for the game, and committed five errors leading to six unearned runs.
Hatt was saddled with the loss after throwing six innings and giving up seven runs (one earned) on seven hits. He struck out five batters. Ryan Lally threw a scoreless seventh inning before handing it over to Tyler Fries who tossed a scoreless eighth. Rob Gore closed out the game and gave the Wildcats a final chance with a scoreless ninth inning.
The Wildcats move on to face host and No. 1 seed Southern New Hampshire on Saturday morning in an elimination game. The first pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Penmen Field.