RINDGE, N.H. (May 7, 2010) – Junior first baseman Angelo Bruno and senior designated hitter Ryan Healey hit back-to-back home runs leading off the eighth inning on Friday night to help lead fourth-seeded Stonehill to a 5-1 upset victory over the No. 25/26 nationally ranked and second-seeded Franklin Pierce University baseball team on the second day of the Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Championship, hosted by Franklin Pierce at Dr. Arthur and Martha Pappas Field. Junior right-hander Jose Macias (Bronx, N.Y.) struck out nine over seven innings in defeat for Franklin Pierce.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 34-13-1 and will play top seed Southern Connecticut State in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Meanwhile, Stonehill improves to 27-16 and will play sixth-seeded Merrimack at noon Saturday for a spot in Sunday’s championship round.
Stonehill opened the scoring with a run in the top of the fifth inning. Senior right fielder Shane Franz led off with a walk, moved to second on a balk, went to third on a groundout and came home to score on an RBI single through the right side of the infield by junior shortstop Brenden Shepard.
The Skyhawks extended the lead to 2-0 with a run in the top of the sixth inning. Sophomore catcher Rich McHugh led off with a triple to right field as Franklin Pierce senior right fielder Phil Hendricks (Pittsfield, Maine) lost a fly ball in the lights. McHugh would later score from third on a wild pitch.
Franklin Pierce got one run back in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead to 2-1. Junior designated hitter Eric Pearson (Webster, N.H.) led off with a walk and moved to second on a bunt single by freshman shortstop Dan Kemp (Sturbridge, Mass.). After a sacrifice moved the runners up, Pearson scored on an RBI groundout by sophomore catcher Mike Dowd (East Bridgewater, Mass.).
Stonehill added an insurance run in the seventh and two in the eighth to create a 5-1 final. In the seventh, sophomore catcher Rich Hackett had an RBI single, while Bruno and Healey hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the inning and put the game out of reach.
Macias started on the mound and took his first loss in 10 starts (8-1) for Franklin Pierce. Over seven innings, he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits, walked three, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, balked twice and struck out nine.
Meanwhile, junior right-hander Alex McCormick threw eight innings, allowed one run on five hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out seven to pick up the win (6-3) on the rubber for Stonehill.