Adelphi's rally fell a run short Thursday afternoon as the top-seeded Panthers scored twice in the bottom of the ninth but left the tying run stranded on third in a 4-3 loss to No. 8 Franklin Pierce in the opening game of the Division II East 1 Regional at Bonomo Field.
“We have to start a little earlier with the rally,” Adelphi baseball coach Dom Scala said. “We left 14 guys on base. So we’ve got to be smarter hitting and getting to the next guy.”
Adelphi falls into the losers bracket of the Regional and will take on No. 4 Wilmington in a must-win situation Friday at noon.
Adelphi (34-8-1) loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, after Brett Malm and Thomas Colombo singled and Franklin Pierce committed its fourth error of the game. Lucas Terwilliger drove in Malm, reaching on a fielder’s choice, and Tim O’Connor followed with an RBI single up the middle to make it a one-run game.
“We put good bats together,” said Terwilliger, who drove in two runs. “Each guy went up there with a plan and did their job. We tried to scrap it out.”
That was as close as Adelphi would get.
Jack Ryan flew out to deep rightfield in the next at-bat, a frustrating finish for the Panthers who struggled to take advantage of opportunities all day.
Franklin Pierce starter Derek Duffy was strong on the mound early, throwing seven innings of six-hit ball, but Scala said he believed Adelphi left runs on the field, particularly in the bottom of the fourth.
The Panthers scored earlier in the frame and looked to add on with the bases loaded, but Duffy made a tremendous defensive play, knocking down Tyler Becker’s would-be hit and getting the out at first. It was a moment Scala said could have changed the game.
“[Becker] got a smash right up the middle, but [Duffy] was able to get a glove on it,” Scala said. “That’s two runs, hopefully, and you’re able to keep it going.”
Ed Baram took the loss for the Panthers, tossing 6 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, two earned runs and striking out 10.
Adelphi doesn’t have long to linger on what could have been. Now, the Panthers turn their attention to the next game, hoping to turn things around and, most importantly, keep the season going.
“We all know this may be our last shot to play,” Malm said. “We’re going to give it everything we’ve got, try and bring that last-inning momentum into the game and start it off hot.”