NE-10 CHAMPIONSHIP: #1 Franklin Pierce Rallies Past #3 Stonehill Late to Claim NE-10 Title, 7-6

Senior Dan Fratus earned a spot on the NE-10 All-Championship team, hitting 4-for-5 this afternoon with a double and RBI. (PHOTO BY John Kritzman)

Ravens score five runs in decisive seventh inning

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (May 9, 2015) – Franklin Pierce University rallied from a late four-run deficit with a five-run seventh inning to claim the 2015 Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Championship by a score of 7-6 over Stonehill College this afternoon at Frank Vieira Field on the campus of the University of New Haven.

Northeast Division top seed Franklin Pierce (46-2, 24-1 NE-10), ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II Poll and No. 3 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) DII Poll, earns its fifth conference title in program history while also extending its program-record winning streak to 27 games.  Stonehill (33-13-1, 16-7 NE-10), the third seed from the Northeast Division and No. 3 ranked team in the final NCAA East Region Rankings, will likely earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament which is set to begin next Thursday. The field will be announced tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on

Senior shortstop Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North) led the Skyhawks at the plate today, going 4-for-5 with a double, one RBI and two runs scored. Senior catcher Eric Schneider (Camarillo, California/Saint Bonaventure) went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, two RBI and one run, while junior center fielder Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) added three hits and two runs. Fratus and Schneider were named to the NE-10 All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of today's contest for their efforts during Stonehill's run to the final.

Senior right-hander Armand Rugel (Middletown, Rhode Island/Middletown) took his first loss of the season after giving up seven runs (five earned) on eight hits over six innings. Sophomore Aubrey Solomon (Groton, Massachusetts/Lawrence Academy) worked two scoreless frames of relief, striking out one batter and allowing one hit with one walk.

Senior Eric Schneider was also named to the NE-10 All-Championship team, hitting 2-for-4 with a double, triple and RBI today. (PHOTO BY John Kritzman)

Sophomore Chris LaVorgna (North Haven, Connecticut/Tulane) paced the Franklin Pierce offense with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, while junior Justin Brock (Latham, New York/Albany Academy) went 2-for-4 with one RBI and senior John Razzino (Cranston, Rhode Island/CC of Rhode Island) tripled, drove in two runs and scored one. Junior Maxx Sheehan (San Jose, California/West Valley College) and sophomore Jay Jabs (Schwenksville, Pennsylvania/Perkiomen Valley) chipped in with a single, one RBI and one run each.

Junior right-hander Paul Covelle (Medford, Massachusetts/Malden Catholic) got the start for the Ravens and struck out nine over 6.2 frames, but he gave up six runs (three earned) on nine hits and did not earn a decision. Freshman Sam Steeves (Dorchester, Massachusetts/Worcester Academy) picked up the win in relief despite recording just one out, while senior Brendan O'Rourke (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Santa Fe College) held the Skyhawks off over two shutout frames for the save.

The Franklin Pierce offense staked Covelle to an early lead, plating two runs in the top of the first. Jabs drew a one out walk, and Razzino followed with an RBI triple into the gap in right center field. Senior Matt Walsh (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North), who recorded a pair of sacrifice flies against the Skyhawks yesterday, came up next and drove Razzino in with a fly out to left field.

Stonehill bounced back in the top of the second, pushing across a pair of runs to tie the score. Fratus laced a leadoff double off the base of the right center field fence, and Schneider followed with an RBI triple to right field before coming in to score on a groundout by junior Brian Hocking (Duxbury, Massachusetts/BC High).

The Skyhawk offense continued to roll in the third, tacking on three more runs to open up a 5-2 lead. Hoyt singled with one out, and was awarded second on a balk before taking third on a wild pitch. He came in to score on a Franklin Pierce throwing error as senior second baseman Christian Baglini (Milford, Connecticut/Notre Dame High) reached on a fielder's choice, advancing to second due to the miscue. Fratus followed with an RBI single up the middle, before Schneider drove in his second run of the game with a double to left center field.

Senior captains Dan Fratus (left) and Armand Rugel accept the NE-10 Finalist trophy. (PHOTO BY John Kritzman)

Rugel recovered nicely from his tough first inning, getting double plays in both the second and third before stranding a pair of Ravens on base in the fourth. He stranded another runner in scoring position in the fifth, and cruised through the sixth with his first 1-2-3 inning of the contest.

Stonehill added to its lead in the top of the seventh, manufacturing a run to go up 6-2. Hoyt led off with an opposite field double, before moving up to third on a sacrifice and scoring on a wild pitch.

Rugel ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning, however, as Franklin Pierce loaded the bases on a pair of singles and an error. The Ravens sliced their deficit in half with RBI singles by Brock and Sheehan, ending Rugel's outing with the bases still loaded and nobody out. Senior left-hander Steve Pike (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Catholic Memorial) came on for the Skyhawks and gave up an RBI single to Jabs, as Stonehill turned to its bullpen again to bring in Solomon. The Ravens tied the game on an RBI groundout by Razzino, before taking a 7-6 lead on a sacrifice fly by junior Matt O'Herron (Springfield, Massachusetts/Cathedral).

The Skyhawks threatened in the eighth, advancing two separate runners to second base, but they were unable to plate the game-tying run. Hocking led off with a single and moved up to second on a ground out, but was erased at third as sophomore Steve Lee (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) reached on a fielder's choice. Lee then got into scoring position with the help of a passed ball, but he was stranded there as a strikeout ended the inning.

O'Rourke worked around a two-out walk to close out the Skyhawks in the ninth, picking up his first save of the season.

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