Carlton Aiken’s final year as Pace’s QB was a memorable one, earning him a number of well-deserved accolades and a permanent place in Pace Football history.
Pace Baseball Clinches First-Ever NE10 Title
Photo Credit: Le Moyne Athletics
The Pace University baseball team won the NE10 Championship for the first time in program history Saturday, May 13, earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. The Setters fell 12-2 in game one against Franklin Pierce University, then defeated the Ravens in game two by a final of 9-4.
Game One: Franklin Pierce 12, Pace 2
After a scoreless first inning, Franklin Pierce (34-17, 17-7) broke it open with a seven-run second. A pair of wild pitches brought in the first two runs, then a two-run double by Jose Savinon made it a 4-0 game. Four batters later, Joseph Pesce blew it open with a three-run homer to left center for the final three runs of the inning.
Pace (33-19, 9-11) had a chance to get on the board in the fourth, putting runners on first and second with one out. But a pair of groundouts left both men stranded as the Ravens held on to their 7-0 lead. Franklin Pierce added another run in the bottom of the fourth, as Jake Miller connected on an RBI single to extend the lead to eight.
A fielder's choice scored another run for the Ravens in the fifth, and an error with the bases loaded scored two more in the sixth. With the score 12-0 in the top of the eighth, the Setters got on the board with an RBI groundout by grad student outfielder Luke Jacobi (Edison, NJ/JP Stevens) and RBI single by freshman outfielder Justin Crispino (Commack, NY/Commack).
However, the was all the offense Pace could gather in game one as Franklin Pierce took a 12-2 victory in the opener.
Game Two: Pace 9, Franklin Pierce 4
The pitching was the story early in game two, as freshman Brendan McCann (Plainview, NY/Kellenberg Memorial) and FPU's Tyler McDonald both got off to strong starts. Neither team was able to get on the board in the first two innings, but Pace finally broke through in the third.
Grad student first baseman Nate Carminucci (Somers, NY/North Salem High School) got the inning started with a double down the right field line and moved to third on a fielder's choice. After a walk, junior third baseman Anthony Labita (North Massapequa, NY/Plainedge) drove in the game's first run with an RBI single to left to put the Setters ahead. A hit batter loaded the bases with one out as Pace looked to add to its lead, but the next two batters were retired to keep it at a one-run game.
The Ravens threatened to tie the game in the last of the third, as a pair of singles put two runners on with one out. But McCann was able to get a ground ball double play to end the inning and keep Franklin Pierce off the board.
The Setters extended their lead in the fourth, putting up two more runs in the inning. Senior outfielder Matthew Rinaldi (Scarsdale, NY/Eastchester) led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch, then came around to score on an RBI double by sophomore catcher Hunter Goldstein (Jericho, NY/Jericho). After a sacrifice bunt moved Goldstein over to third, a sac fly by sophomore outfielder Josh Miller (Clifton, NJ/Clifton) brought in another run to make it a 3-0 game.
Franklin Pierce got a run across in the fourth as well, as with two out and a runner on second, Pesce doubled to right-center to narrow the Pace lead to 3-1.
After both teams went down in order in the fifth, Pace added one more in the top of the sixth. With two out and nobody on, a walk and single put two runners on. Miller then delivered his second RBI of the day, driving an RBI single through the left side. A walk loaded the bases, but the Setters couldn't capitalize and took a 4-1 lead to the bottom of the inning.
The Ravens got back in the game in the last of the sixth, scoring twice to make it a one-run game. After a single and double put two runners on to start the inning, Jake Miller singled to right to score a pair and trim the Setters' lead to 4-3.
After Pace went down 1-2-3 in the seventh, the Ravens had a chance to tie the game. A single and walk had Franklin Pierce in position to draw even, but freshman pitcher Robert Gilchrist (New Milford, CT/North Salem) picked up two key outs to leave them stranded and hold the lead.
The Ravens got the tying run to third base in the bottom of the eighth following a double and fielder's choice, and this time were able to tie the game. With two out, Hunter Pauquette doubled to tie the game at 4-4, but a groundout with the bases loaded sent the game to the ninth still tied.
Miller led off the ninth with a walk for Pace, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Another walk and wild pitch loaded the bases with nobody out, putting Pace in position to take the lead back. Jacobi then came up a delivered an RBI single to right, giving the Setters a 5-4 lead. Sophomore shortstop Mason Baronian (River Vale, NJ/Pascack Valley) was next up to bat and singled in two more, putting Pace ahead by three runs. Three batters later, Goldstein came up with the bases loaded and plated two more runs, singling up the middle to make it a 9-4 game.
Gilchrist came back on in the ninth and finished things off, recording the final three outs as the Setters punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament and captured their first-ever NE10 Championship.
The Setters will travel to Manchester, New Hampshire for the East Regional where they will face off against Franklin Pierce yet again, on Thursday, May 18 at 11:00 a.m.
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