New Hampshire college baseball heats up
Four teams are still in contention for first place entering the final week of the Northeast-10 baseball regular season. Meanwhile, Dartmouth College has a chance of forcing a one-game playoff for the Red Rolfe Division title in the Ivy League.
Entering Monday’s action in the NE-10, Southern New Hampshire University (14-5) was in first place in the Northeast Division, followed by Bentley (11-4), Franklin Pierce (12-5) and Stonehill (10-6). Each team controls its own fate toward gaining the top seed in the upcoming tournament. Here are the scenarios:
• Southern New Hampshire University: The Penmen are 32-11 overall and in great shape to earn another NCAA regional berth. The Penmen have two league games left, against the Ravens today in Rindge (6 p.m.) before closing out the season at home against Stonehill. Two Penmen wins coupled with two Bentley losses would give SNHU the regular-season title. Bentley won the season series against SNHU, 2-1.
Brendan O’Brien continues to be the story on the base paths this season with 42 stolen bases. Senior Riley Palmer of Goffstown is batting .277 with a team-high six homers and 29 RBIs. Al Stanton leads the team with 30 RBIs. After an 11-game winning streak, SNHU has cooled off; the Penmen are just 4-4 since April 13.
• Bentley: On paper, the Falcons have the advantage down the stretch, playing three home games against 7-9 Assumption and a road contest against 7-9 Merrimack. They also play away against Stonehill and Franklin Pierce. The Falcons begin a season-ending six-game stretch over the next six days. If SNHU wins its final two, Bentley would need to win five of its last six to capture the regular-season title. Bentley is 0-2 against the Ravens and 1-1 against Stonehill. Bentley (20-13 overall) needs to win the NE-10 Tournament to earn an NCAA berth.
• Franklin Pierce: Like SNHU, the Ravens figure to get a regional berth with their current 32-14 overall record. FPU is 2-0 against the Penmen and Falcons. The Ravens won their season series against Stonehill, 2-1. Franklin Pierce has home games against the Penmen and Falcons and a road doubleheader against 3-15 St. Michael’s. The Ravens hold all the tie-breakers against the other three title contenders. All they have to do is win out and hope Bentley loses once to claim the title.
The Ravens have four players with more than 140 at-bats hitting over .300 this season. Calvin Graves (.313), Kyle Hood (.309), Matt Walsh (.305) and Matthew O’Herron (.301) are devouring opposing pitching this season. Walsh leads the Ravens with 38 RBIs and has a team-high six homers.
Freshman Adam Routhier of Goffstown hit his first season homer over the weekend in a 6-2 victory against Bentley. Junior righthanded closer Doug Willey of Shelburne leads the Ravens with 11 saves in 22 game appearances. Stonehill: The Skyhawks are 10-6 in the NE-10 and 25-16 overall. Like Bentley, they will have to win the NE-10 tournament to earn an NCAA berth. Stonehill can get to 30 wins by winning out. They host Merrimack (7-9) three times, host Bentley and travel to Manchester to play SNHU. They also need help to reach the top. Bentley and FPU must lose at least twice. Stonehill also has to beat SNHU along the way.
On Sunday, the Big Green evened their Ivy League record at 9-9 after a doubleheader sweep of Harvard in Hanover. Dartmouth junior Matt Parisi swatted a two-run, walk-off homer for a 3-1 nightcap win. Dartmouth, a 4-2 winner in the opener, must defeat Harvard twice today in Cambridge, Mass., to tie Yale (11-9) atop the Ivy League’s Red Rolfe Division. The doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. Should Dartmouth (15-19 overall) sweep today and tie Yale, the Big Green would host the Bulldogs in a special playoff game this weekend for the division crown.