Late Homers Lead #1 Franklin Pierce Past #2 Bryant at Northeast Regionals of NCAA Tournament; Bulldogs Finish Season with Program-Record 43 Wins
Late Home Runs Doom Bulldogs as #1 Franklin Pierce Ends #2 Bryant's Season 8-1 Monday Afternoon; Pierce Advances to College World Series
Rindge, NH - Franklin Pierce star Scott Savastano broke open a tight game with a three-run homer to lead the #1 Ravens past the #2 Bulldogs 10-3 Monday afternoon. The Ravens ended Bryant's magical run through the loser's bracket and advance to their third consecutive Division II Championships.
Much of the game was a tight pitching duel between Raven ace Mike Adams and Eric Loh (Old Greenwich, Conn.). Pitching on just three days' rest, Loh was brilliant for much of the game and retired 13 batters in a row at one point.
But the Ravens got to the Bryant ace in the sixth when Savastano connected for a three-run, two-out homer down the right field line. On Loh's next pitch, Kevin Rivers launched a deep home run to make the score 5-1 and chase the senior starter from the game.
Home runs by Steve Carr and Kevin Renaud helped the Ravens to a five-run seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
The Ravens got on the board first behind Adams. A high pop by Rivers got caught up in the blustery winds and landed between three Bulldog defenders in short right for a single. Rivers moved to second on a throwing error by Pat O'Connor (Mattapoisset, Mass.) on the play and Rivers scored on a groundout by Steve Carr.
The Bulldogs only offense off Adams was a sixth inning homer by Nick Campbell (Raynham, Mass.) and a bases-loaded hit by pitch drawn by Dave Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) in the eighth. While Campbell is second on the team in RBI, it was his first home run of the season.
Bryant did have opportunities against Adams. The Bulldogs left 12 runners on base in the game, but were unable to pick up key RBI hits. Adams went eight plus innings and struck out ten Bulldogs. Senior Jason Alexander (Simsbury, Conn.) finished with a team-best three hits and Campbell and Mark Dondero (Medfield, Mass.) finished with two hits each.
The wind was blowing hard all day at Dr. Pappas Field and several home runs appeared to be helped by the heavy gusts that reached up to 40 miles per hour. Franklin Pierce slugged a tournament-best 19 home runs as a team.
The Bulldogs finish their season with a record of 43-21 and second straight Northeast Regional runner-up. The 43 wins are a program record in their final season in Division II. The Bulldogs will move to Division I play next season.
The Ravens return to the College World Series as Northeast Regional champions for the third straight year. The loss marks the final game for seniors Ben Conn (Holden, Mass.), Luke Cowan (Houston, Texas), Mark Dondero (Medfield, Mass.), Adam Vuolo (Walpole, Mass.), Jason Alexander (Simsbury, Conn.), Eric Loh (Old Greenwich, Conn.), Dave Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.), and Grant Tonelli (Greenwood, Calif.).
Franklin Pierce 10, Bryant University 3 (May 19, 2008 at
Bryant University... 000 001 011 - 3 8 1 (43-21)
Franklin Pierce..... 010 004 50X - 10 8 1 (43-13)
Pitchers: Bryant University - Eric Loh; Brett Almeida(6); Adam Vuolo(7); Mark Andrews(8).
Franklin Pierce - Adams; Bishop(9).
Win-Adams(11-1) Loss-Eric Loh(10-3) T-2:25 A-139
HR BRY - Nick Campbell (3).
HR FPUB - Renaud (11); Savastano (11); Rivers (12); Carr (7).
2008 NCAA DIVISION II NORTHEAST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP - Championship round
(Game 11). Franklin Pierce advances to the NCAA II Baseball Championships
in Sauget, Ill., will play Central Missouri State University Saturday at
7:30 p.m. (EDT). FP: Mike Adams collects program record 11th win.
2008 NCAA Division II Northeast Regional Championship- All Tournament Team
C- Jeff Vigurs, Bryant
1B - Steve Carr, Franklin Pierce
2B - Dave Muscatello, Bryant
SS - Scott Savastano, Franklin Pierce
3B - Gabriel Molina, Caldwell
OF - Kevin Renaud, Franklin Pierce
OF - Kevin Rivers, Franklin Pierce
OF - Pat O'Connor, Bryant
DH - Pat McKenna, Bryant
P - Brian Maloney, Franklin Pierce
P - Mike Adams, Franklin Pierce
GAME ONE SUMMARY
Bryant defeated Franklin Pierce in a wild 12-10 game. Bryant closer Eric Polvani (Wallingford, Conn.) nailed down a school record 13th save after a back-and-forth contest.
The Bulldogs went ahead for good with a Pat O'Connor (Mattapoisset, Mass.) home run in the fifth inning off Franklin Pierce's ace closer Tyler Bishop. O'Connor's three-run, two out blast to right field gave the Bulldogs an 8-7 lead.
The Bulldogs enjoyed a short-lived 7-3 lead after McKenna's three-run blast to right center in the bottom of the fourth. Jeff Vigurs ( South Windsor, Conn.) also had an RBI single in the inning. However, the Ravens fought back in the top of the fifth with a five-run frame highlighted by a two-run home run by Kevin Rivers that chased Bryant starter Kevin Cobb (Acton, Mass.) from the game.
After a home run by Kevin Renaud off Luke Cowan (Houston, Texas) cut the lead to one in the seventh, coach Jamie Pinzino went to senior reliever Adam Vuolo (Walpole, Mass.) who got All-Region shortstop out to end the threat.
The Bulldogs would tack on two more off Bishop in the bottom of the inning before Pierce answered back with a run in the eighth to cut the lead to 12-10.
O'Connor led the Bryant offensive charge with four RBI and four runs and Vigurs finished with three hits. Cowan (3-2) would pick up the win for the Bulldogs while Bishop took the loss.