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May 14. 2014 11:20PM

NCAA baseball regional begins today at SNHU


Southern New Hampshire senior captain Derrick Sylvester of Franklin watches teammates take batting practice Wednesday. Sylvester and the Penmen enter the NCAA Division II Baseball East Regional as the host and top seed. The tournament opens today and continues through Sunday. (RYAN O'CONNOR/Union Leader Correspondent)

Don’t bet against Franklin Pierce University in the baseball regionals. They’ve been down this road before.

The second-seeded Ravens (35-16) will look to defend their NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament crown beginning today at 3 p.m. against fifth-seeded Dowling (N.Y.) College (33-15) at Southern New Hampshire University’s Penmen Field.

The six-team, double-elimination tournament starts today at 11 a.m. when host and top-seeded SNHU (39-12) battles No. 6 seed Felician (N.J.) College (29-18). The 7 p.m. contest features No. 3 seed Wilmington (Del.) University (34-9-1) playing No. 4 seed St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.) College (34-15). The tournament concludes Sunday.

Junior righthander Conor Gleason will take the hill for the Ravens today. “He started this season in the bullpen and has emerged as our No. 1 starter,” said King of Gleason, who is 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA. In 62 innings, he has walked 41 and fanned 94 batters.The Ravens’ batting line-up features some big bats, notably senior outfielder Calvin Graves (.322, one homer, 18 RBIs), junior catcher Matt Walsh (.311, seven homers, 40 RBIs), sophomore third baseman Matt O’Herron (.303, one homer, 29 RBIs) and junior outfielder John Razzino (.268, four homers, 34 RBI).“We have different pieces that fit perfectly,” said King. “We have a wide range of hitters, a good mix of lefties and righties and speed. It works for us.”

In the first game today against Felician, Derrick Sylvester of Franklin will get the start for SNHU. Sylvester gained a win and a save in leading the Penmen to their first NE-10 championship. He was named MVP of the tournament.

“I’m proud that we have two New Hampshire schools in this tournament,” said King. “It says a lot about our programs.”


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