MANCHESTER, N.H. – Bryan Toland's (Wildwood, N.J.) bases-loaded walkoff single in the bottom of the 12th inning lifted seventh-ranked Southern New Hampshire University to a 3-2 Northeast-10 baseball victory over Franklin Pierce University Wednesday night at Penmen Field. The Penmen improved to 29-4 overall and 5-1 in the NE-10's Northeast Division, while the Ravens saw a seven-game win streak snapped and are now 21-11-1 and 3-2-1 in divisional play.
Kevin Spatkowski (Bristol, Conn.) got the SNHU rally going when he reached on a one-out single. After the senior stole second, Matt Boulter (Wrentham, Mass.) was walked. The pair would both move into scoring position on a wild pitch before Raven reliever Rob Blanc loaded the bases by hitting Andy Lalli (Lakeville, Mass.). On a full count, Toland singled into shallow center to bring Spatkowski home as the game's winning run.
Franklin Pierce threatened to retake the lead in the top of the 12th with Dan Kemp reaching on a one-out single followed by a walk to James Roche. David Gibson (Hanover, Mass.) replaced Tyler Gauthier (Lynn, Mass.) on the mound and induced a 1-6-3 double play off the bat of Zach Mathieu to get out of the jam.
Southern New Hampshire trailed 2-0 and forced extra frame with two runs in the bottom of the ninth courtesy of a two-out rally that twice saw the Penmen down to their final strike. With two away, the Penmen recorded three straight singles. Greg Pezzuto (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.) singled to give the hosts runners at the corners before Jamie Wollerman (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.) singled on a 2-2 pitch to bring in pinch runner Jeremy Tejada (Bronx, N.Y.) from third. Brendan O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Mass.) tied the game when his line drive single off a 1-2 offering past the outstretched glove of Raven third baseman R.J. Going plated Pezzuto.
The Ravens staked themselves to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Calvin Graves scored on a double steal. Franklin Pierce made it a 2-0 game in the eighth as Mathieu scored with two away when a ground ball off the bat of Matt Walsh got through the legs of Toland at third.
The game lived up to its billing as a duel between two of the top pitchers in the Northeast-10. SNHU starter Tim Flight (Portsmouth, R.I.) went seven innings and allowed five hits and one unearned run while striking out 10. Raven hurler Ryan Thompson allowed a pair of hits in six shutout innings and fanned seven. Gibson upped his record to 3-1 with the win, while Blanc took the loss for Franklin Pierce.
Southern New Hampshire returns to action Thursday evening when it hosts Saint Michael's College in a 6:00 Northeast-10 tilt at Penmen Field.