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Baseball

FPU wins 6th regional championship

Ravens defeat top seed Wilmington 5-1 in championship game, play Shippensburg on Saturday

The Franklin Pierce University baseball team won three elimination games in the East Regional last weekend with the final one being a 5-1 victory over top-seeded Wilmington on Sunday in the finals.

It is the sixth regional title in program history and first since 2010, when the Ravens advanced all the way to the Division II semifinals. FPU won three straight regional titles between 2006-08.

FPU will square off with Shippensburg, the Atlantic Regional champion, on Saturday at 1 p.m. The eight regional winners will play in a double elimination tournament at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. to decide the NCAA Division II national champion.

Junior Trevor Graham, the Northeast-10 Pitcher of the Year, earned Most Outstanding Player of the East Regional. Graham had a 10 strikeout shutout against Wilmington in the tournament opener on Thursday and then recorded the final out in Saturday’s 13-inning marathon win over Southern New Hampshire University. Graham, along with junior first baseman Zach Mathieu and sophomore third baseman Matt O’Herron were all named to the East Regional All-Championship Team.

Junior Kevin McGowan, just over 24 hours removed from a complete game win over Pace on Saturday, took the ball to begin the title game and kept Wilmington off the board for the first two innings.

Junior Ryan Leach went the next six-plus innings and allowed just three hits and one unearned run. And that was all the Ravens’ offense needed. FPU scored twice in the fourth, added two more in the sixth and one in the bottom of the eighth. Leach left after a leadoff walk in the ninth, but junior Joe Flynn retired the next three batters to give FPU the win.

After Graham spun a shut out in the opener over Wilmington, the sixth-seeded Ravens fell to New Haven 3-1 on Friday despite a combined 15 strikeout performance. From there, it was win or go home.

The Ravens defeated Pace 8-1 to begin Saturday and then won the extra inning thriller over SNHU for a spot in the title game.

FPU will enter the national finals with a 36-17 record.

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