For Division II, it’s the calm before the storm. Conference play in the NE-10, ECC, and CACC will start up next week, if the fields cooperate, and the weekend after that, the NE-10 gets into the divisional games that really matter. This weekend sees a lot of teams sneaking in their last few games in the south before snow melt becomes the biggest thing on everyone’s minds. Here’s a look at the action.
In the Midweek
Franklin Pierce, #8 nationally and top dogs (or birds, I guess) in the region, stayed perfect with home wins over Pace and Assumption, but not before the Greyhounds took them to the brink in their closest game of the season. In the game played on Thursday in Rindge, the Ravens got out to an early 4-0 lead, tagging Steve Flynn for four runs (two earned) in two innings of work. The Greyhounds, though, stormed back to tie it with a run in the 4th and three in the 5th. Tom Paine’s first homer of the year and Mike Coggeshall’s two-RBI double keyed the comeback. FPU answered immediately, with a Greyhound error and Matt Walsh’s RBI single pushing the lead back to 6-4 in the home half of the 5th. The Pierce bullpen then settled things down before Assumption made things interesting in the 9th. When Doug Willey came in looking for his second save of the season, the Greyhounds got two men on via an error and a single. Willey struck out two before Coggeshall singled in a run to make it 6-5. A walk loaded the bases, but Willey escaped with a three-pitch strikeout to end the game. Not the prettiest game (nine walks and six errors between the two teams), but definitely exciting. Played in gorgeous weather too, apparently…
Down in Florida, Bentley grabbed a series win over regionally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas on Monday. Mike Muir went 2-4 with a home run in the 9-5 win. Bridgeport got its first win of the season against the Falcons a few days later. The Purple Knights’ Brian O’Keefe looked strong in seven innings of two-run, seven-strikeout ball, but it was Anthony Alicki who got the win when Bridgeport broke a 2-2 tie with three in the 9th. Bridgeport’s Bryan Kondor drove in the go-ahead run.
Regionally Ranked Matchups
Post travels to Rindge on Friday to take on regional #1 Franklin Pierce. It’ll be the Eagles’ first game back from a 2-6 Florida trip that saw them lose close games to some top-notch competition (3-1 and 11-8 to #11 Lynn, for example). On the year, Post’s Mike Costello has led the team on the mound. In four appearances (three starts), he’s got a 2.04 ERA and is striking out nearly a batter per inning.
Bridgeport is entering a grueling run-in on their Florida trip this weekend. They’ll play multiple games against some of the NE-10’s best– Bentley, Southern Connecticut, and regionally ranked Stonehill. As if that wasn’t enough, they play #9 Nova Southeastern on Monday too.
Finally, Saint Anselm is slated to play a three-game slate down at St. Thomas Aquinas, #4 in the region. The Spartans play in a minor-league stadium, so hopefully that means the field’s ready for them to get games in. Saint A’s stands at 3-10 on the year, but after losing their first seven (four of those to ranked teams), they’re 3-3 in their last six. Ken Morrisino and Mike Hayden are both hitting above .300 on the year for the Hawks.
A Taste of Cary
A pair of teams will play games in Cary, North Carolina this weekend. Merrimack stops over on their way back from Florida to play two with St. Augustine’s. Franklin Pierce heads down for their last southern trip of the regular season for a six-game slate that features regional #2 Dowling and national #3 Mount Olive, both great tests ahead of conference play. The Warriors and Ravens will both be hoping this isn’t the last time they’re down there this year.