RINDGE, N.H. – Junior catcher Matt Walsh (Plymouth, Mass.) drove in seven runs with three homers and a sacrifice fly as Franklin Pierce University completed a doubleheader sweep of Bentley University with an 11-1 game two victory in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division baseball Sunday afternoon at Pappas Field.
The Ravens, number 28 in the most regional Collegiate Baseball Division II rankings, took the opening game, 6-2, behind home runs from freshman Adam Routhier (Goffstown, N.H.) and sophomore Justin Brock (Latham, N.Y.).
The two losses dropped Bentley (20-13, 11-4 Northeast) into second in the division standings, four percentage points behind Southern New Hampshire (14-5 Northeast), which split with Stonehill. Franklin Pierce, 12-5 in the Northeast, is also in the hunt as the regular season enters its final week.
Bentley had the early lead in both games with the Falcons scoring twice in the third inning of the opener and one in the first of game two.
Senior third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose, Mass./Malden Catholic HS) led off the third with a single to left and moved to second when senior left fielder Sean Keady (Norwood, Mass./ Norwood HS) drew a one-out walk. Freshman second baseman Burton Deady (Andover, Mass./ Andover HS) followed with a hit-and-run single through the left side, scoring Witkowski with the game's first run. Later, Keady made it 2-0 when he scored on a throwing error.
The Ravens (32-14 overall) more than answered with four runs in the fourth off junior lefty Ryan O'Connor (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport HS), who was making his first start since an April 19 no-hitter against Saint Anselm. Freshman Kyle Hood (Arlington, Mass.) got his team on the board with a sacrifice fly and Brook homered to right with two on to make it 4-2. Those three were unearned following Bentley's first error in seven games.
That was more than enough for sophomore Paul Covelle (Medford, Mass.) and junior Doug Willey (Shelburne, N.H.), a pair of righties who combined for a seven-hitter. Covelle improved to 4-2, Willey notched his 12th save and O'Connor (5-3) saw his winning streak halted at five.
In game two, Bentley loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first. Keady led off with a walk, Deady singled to left and an error on a grounder by senior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) set the table for senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS). He grounded to short with Keady scoring the Falcons' only run of the nightcap.
Walsh led off the second with a home run to left center and a sacrifice fly by freshman third baseman Jay Jabs (Schwenksville, Pa.) later in the inning put Franklin Pierce on top, 2-1. Walsh slammed a two-run homer to center in the third, and he hit a three-run blast to left center in the fifth, making it a 7-1 game.
Junior righty Brendan O'Rourke (Shrewsbury, Mass.) improved to 6-2 for the Ravens after striking out eight and limiting Bentley to three hits over eight innings. Like O'Connor in the opener, Bentley starter Connor Root (Nashua, N.H./Nashua HS North) saw his personal five-game winning streak halted with his record dropping to 5-2.
Bentley, which had won eight of its previous nine, will be back in action Tuesday when the Falcons play at fourth-place Stonehill College (3:30 pm) in the rubber game of a three-game season series.