Following a dramatic run to the Northeast-10 Conference title last week, the Franklin Pierce baseball team is set to open its 15th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championship today.
The Ravens’ road to their eighth NCAA Regional title begins against sub-regional host Adelphi, on the front end of a four-team, three-day, double-elimination tournament. First pitch is set for noon at William J. Bonomo Field in Garden City, N.Y.
Franklin Pierce (28-22) comes into the national tourney after winning four straight do-or-die games en route to its conference title. After losing the opening game of the NE10 tournament to Le Moyne, 16-2, the Ravens fought their way out of the loser’s bracket, getting past Southern Connecticut State, 9-5, getting revenge on Le Moyne, 12-1, then beating Merrimack twice in the finals, 8-5 and 3-0, to claim the league crown.
Meanwhile, Adelphi (34-7-1) makes its 17th all-time appearance at the national tourney, but just its fifth since the turn of the century and its first since 2011. Despite being the top seed of the Southwest Division, the Panthers were ousted in the first round of the NE10 tournament by Southern Connecticut, 9-6, the team’s first home loss.
Leading the way for the Ravens on offense is senior left fielder Brad Roberto, an All-NE10 First Team selection who was also named to the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) All-East Region Second Team on Wednesday. Roberto is hitting at a .349/.475/.511 clip with 10 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 45 runs scored and 33 RBI.
Adelphi is led by a pair of senior outfielders who were both selected to the All-NE10 Second Team: Brandon Morse and Jonathan Iadevaia. Morse boasts a .349/.459/.459 slash line with seven doubles, 33 runs and 20 RBI, while Iadevaia has slashed .355/.457/.393 with four doubles, 30 runs and 15 RBI.
Franklin Pierce is expected to start All-NE10 Second Team selection Derek Duffy on the mound. The junior right-hander has made nine appearances, including eight starts, logging 55.1 innings with a 5-2 record, 1.79 ERA and 63 strikeouts.
The Panthers are projected to counter with NE10 Pitcher of the Year Ed Baram. The senior right-hander made 11 starts, compiling 68.1 innings, a 7-1 record, 1.19 ERA and 69 strikeouts.