MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – After nearly pulling off an incredible comeback in the ninth inning of game one, the Queens College baseball team knocked off No. 12 Franklin Pierce University in game two of Friday night's doubleheader to pick up its first win of the season. The defending NCAA East Regional Champion Ravens (1-2) took the opening game, 6-5, before the Knights (1-2) came away victorious, 5-3, in the second game.
Neither team got the bats going through the first three innings, as freshman Dylan Hughes took the mound for Queens, while Tanner Bird got the start for the Ravens. Franklin Pierce got things started with three runs in the top of the fourth. Queens then got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by junior Joseph Pidoto that scored freshman Louis Antos, cutting the lead to 3-1.
After adding a run in the sixth, the Ravens took a commanding 6-1 lead with two runs in the seventh inning. It looked like the Ravens would coast to the victory after they retired the side 1-2-3 in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but the Knights were not finished just yet.
Junior Billy Riches led off with a single, and senior Kevin Kolesar and freshman Joel Mendez then reached to load the bases. Then junior Jonathan Temenak drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in a run, bringing the Knights within four at 6-2. Freshman Louis Antos followed with a clutch one-out triple to clear the bases and cut the deficit to just one, 6-5.
However, Mike Lundin slammed the door with back-to-back strikeouts for the Ravens to seal the win for Franklin Pierce.
Queens scored all five of its runs in the third and fourth innings of game two, while the Knights' pitching staff gave up just four hits over the seven-inning contest.
Once again, the Ravens got on the board first in the second game with a run in the bottom of the first inning, but sophomore pitcher Robert Amato kept Franklin Pierce quiet over the next three innings. In the third, Kolesar tied the game at one with an RBI single, scoring junior Paulino Harrington, and then Temenak followed with a single that brought home Antos to give Queens a 2-1 advantage.
After junior Thomas Parish and senior Joe Morris reached base in the top of the fourth inning, senior Ryan Bender extended the Knights' lead to 3-1 with an RBI single. Two batters later, Morris scored on a fielder's choice, and then Kolesar came through with another RBI single to extend the lead to 5-1.
The Ravens added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Tim Morris hit an RBI triple and then scored a run of his own, but freshman Rob Backus came in to pitch two innings of hitless baseball to pick up his first career save and secure the upset victory for the Knights.
Amato picked up the win for Queens, the first of his career, giving up just three runs over five innings on four hits with three strikeouts. Kolesar went 2-for-3 in the game with a pair of RBI, while Harrington scored twice in the win.
Queens continues its Myrtle Beach trip with a 1 p.m. contest against No. 6 Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday, Feb. 25.