Bye, Felician: Baseball’s Bats Go Bonkers, Knock Golden Falcons from East Regional

Bye, Felician: Baseball’s Bats Go Bonkers, Knock Golden Falcons from East Regional

BOX SCORE
RAPID REACTION WITH JUNIOR ALEX PERSON

When and Where: May 21, 2016 – Rindge, N.H. (Pappas Field)
Score:
Southern New Hampshire University 20, Felician College 5
Records: SNHU 47-6, Felician 34-21

Junior Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn.) drove in an NCAA Championship program-record five runs and classmate Alex Person (Foxboro, Mass.) set a new school mark for career wins as the eighth-ranked Southern New Hampshire University baseball team won its second straight elimination game at the NCAA East Regional on Saturday with a 20-5 thumping of Felician College at Franklin Pierce University's Pappas Field.

The Penmen, seeded second, will now play in yet another elimination game Sunday at noon against the winner of Saturday's middle game between fifth-seeded Bridgeport University and seventh-seeded Dowling College. The victor of that game would then play again Sunday at 3:30 p.m. against the loser of Saturday's late game between top-seeded Franklin Pierce and third-seeded Saint Thomas Aquinas College for a spot in Monday's final. Fourth-seeded Felician sees its season come to an end after making its second appearance in the East Regional.

Southern New Hampshire jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first as junior Zach Goldstein (Merrick, N.Y.) drew a leadoff walk before classmate Manny Cruz (Wolcott, Conn.) drove a two-run homer over the fence in left-center.

After Person worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first, Goldstein again was in the middle of things in the second as his two-out double off the fence in left-center scored sophomore Sean Webster (Boston, Mass.), who was hit by a pitch in the at-bat prior.

The Penmen made it 4-0 in the fourth when graduate student Ryan Gendron (Nashua, N.H.) led off with a double down the left field line, swiped third and scored as the catcher's throw squirted away.

Felician chopped its lead in half in the bottom of the inning on solo home runs from Jason Polgano and J.R. Meneses, but SNHU answered in a big way with a three-run top-half of the fifth. Goldstein again played instigator with a lead-off double to left-center and scored when Cruz singled through the left side. After a call to the bullpen, grad student Mike Mastroberti (Ramsey, N.J.) drove a base knock back up the middle to plate Cruz, who wound up on third on his base hit after the left fielder misplayed the ball. Gendron then dumped a two-out double to down the right field line to plate Mastroberti and open the lead up to 7-2.

The Golden Falcons again answered with a run in the bottom half as doubles by Matt Diesel and Brennan Price trimmed the deficit to 7-3.

Southern New Hampshire broke it open with four runs in the sixth. Helms' two-run double with the bases loaded was the big blow before a sacrifice fly to left from fellow junior Derek Bauer (Millis, Mass.) and Gendron's two-out RBI single to left-center ran the score to 11-3.

The Penmen did even more damage in the seventh, hanging a five-spot to widen the gap. A two-run single through the left side from Mastroberti, followed by a two-run triple to right-center from Helms and an RBI double to right by Bauer did the majority of the destruction. A two-out error by the left fielder allowed sophomore Matt Rabbito (Chelmsford, Mass.) to reach and another run to score to make it 17-3.

Price's two-run single down the left field line in the bottom of the inning chipped away at Felician's deficit before a Helms sac fly to left in the eighth made it 18-5.

The Penmen added two more for good measure on Gendron's lead-off homer to right-center and Goldstein's run-scoring double down the left field line.

Person (10-0, 3.26 ERA) went eight innings and allowed five runs on 14 hits, striking out one and walking three. Grad student Lucas Olen (Bedford, N.H.) struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Goldstein went 4-for-5 with two walks, a pair of RBI and a five runs scored, while Gendron was 4-for-6 with three RBI and two runs. Helms was 3-for-5 with five RBI and a pair of runs scored, with Mastroberti going 3-for-6 with three RBI and three runs. Cruz finished 2-for-4 with two walks, a pair of RBI and four runs scored.

Notes:
- Southern New Hampshire, which has won 29 of 32, is on pace for its best record ever at 47-6. The 2012 squad that advanced to the Division II College World Series in Cary, N.C., was 40-13 through its first 53 games.
- The Penmen are making their fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Championship, as well as the fifth appearance, overall. They are now 12-10 (.545) all-time, including 11-8 (.579) in the East Regional, and a perfect 2-0 in a pair of meetings with Felician.
- Since being shut out for the first time in 74 games by Dowling on Thursday, SNHU has racked up 31 runs in two games. The 20 runs set a new program record for runs in an NCAA Championship contest, overtaking the 11 scored Friday against Molloy College.
- The Penmen scored a run in every inning except for a 1-2-3 third.
- Eight of nine SNHU starters recorded a base hit, while six of nine knocked in a run.
- Southern New Hampshire is now 24-0 this season when scoring nine or more runs.
- Person's 21st career wins moves him past Derrick Sylvester (2010-14) for most career victories in program history. The win is also Person's 10th of the 2016 campaign, which ties him with teammate Justin Valdespina (Garfield, N.J.) for the program's single-season wins mark.
- Since snapping an 0-for-11 skid Friday, Gendron has gone 6-for-8 and been on base eight times in 11 plate appearances.
- Goldstein and Gendron collect the first four-hit games ever for a Penmen in the NCAA Championship, while Goldstein also becomes the first Penmen to cross the plate five times in an NCAA postseason tilt.
- Goldstein physically reached base all seven times up as the only out he made was a fielder's choice.
- Goldstein, who entered the day leading all active Penmen with a .400 average against Felician, is now 12-for-25 (.480) with eight extra-base hits, 10 runs and seven RBI in seven lifetime games against the Golden Falcons.
- Goldstein has hit safely in 21 of 22, while Cruz and Helms have both collected a base knock in 15 of 16. Goldstein and Cruz are tied for the longest hitting streak on the team at 12 contests.
- Cruz has reached base in 32 straight, with Goldstein and Helms holding respective 24- and 22-game streaks of the same variety.

Up Next:
The Penmen return to action Sunday, May 22 (12 p.m.) in an elimination game against Bridgeport or Dowling.

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Thursday, May 19
Game 1: #4 Felician 3, #5 Bridgeport 0
Game 2: #7 Dowling 4, #2 Southern New Hampshire 0 

Friday, May 20
Game 3: #3 Saint Thomas Aquinas 5, #6 Molloy 2
Game 4: #2 Southern New Hampshire 11, #6 Molloy 5 (Molloy eliminated)
Game 5: #1 Franklin Pierce 18,  #4 Felician 0
Game 6: #3 Saint Thomas Aquinas 4,  #7 Dowling 0

Saturday, May 21
Game 7: #2 Southern New Hampshire 20, #4 Felician 5 (Felician eliminated)
Game 8: #7 Dowling vs. #5 Bridgeport – 3 p.m. (loser eliminated)
Game 9: #1 Franklin Pierce vs. #3 Saint Thomas Aquinas – 7 p.m. 

Sunday, May 22
Game 10: Game 8 Winner vs. #2 Southern New Hampshire – Noon (loser eliminated)
Game 11: Game 10 Winner vs. Game 9 Loser – 3:30 p.m. (loser eliminated) 

Monday, May 23
Game 12: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 11 Winner – Noon
Game 13: Game 12 rematch* – 40 minutes after conclusion of Game 12
* Game 13 only necessary if Game 11 Winner wins Game 12