The Franklin Pierce University baseball team made the most of its two hits Saturday and posted a 1-0 victory over Shippensburg (Pa.) in the NCAA Division II World Series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
The Ravens produced the game's only run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, when second baseman Justin Brock singled through the left side and center fielder John Razzino scored from second. Razzino reached on a walk and moved to second on Matthew O'Herron's groundout.
"The hitters, to me, were a little tense today and really didn't let their true ability take over, but (Brock) came up with that big hit in the eighth," Franklin Pierce coach Jayson King said. "It's not how many hits, it's when you get them, and we've been talking about that all year."
Shortstop Dan Kemp had Franklin Pierce's other hit, a bunt single in the first inning.
The victory was the second time Franklin Pierce has opened the Division II World Series with a win in six trips. The other time came in 2003, when the Ravens reached the national semifinals in the program's first trip to the World Series.
Junior right-hander Trevor Graham (10-2) pitched eight innings to earn the win. He allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out nine.
"Trevor's been our MVP the whole season," King said. "He's been that guy that's taken the ball every time we've needed him to. He's gone late into games - just like he did today - pretty much the whole season.
"For us as coaches, we love handing the ball off to him. He's our guy. He's the one that gets us going in the right direction and we have tons of confidence in him. I think the players do as well. They know when he's on the mound, they're going to have the opportunity to win a ballgame."
Joe Flynn pitched the ninth to earn the save. Flynn hit a batter, but didn't allow any other baserunners in the inning.
Franklin Pierce improved its record to 37-17 and will continue play in the double-elimination tournament Monday (5 p.m.), when it will face Minnesota State-Mankato, a 2-0 winner oveer Grand Valley State on Saturday night.
Graham's toughest inning was the fifth, when Shippensburg (32-22) loaded the bases on two hits and a walk with no outs. Graham got the first out when Mike Marcinko lined out to second. Graham struck out Mike Douglas for the second out, and then got out of the inning when Cal Hogan fouled out to first base.
"My approach was just to attack," Graham said, when asked about the bases-loaded situation. "That's been my approach all game - go after batters. It was a tough spot, I needed to shut them down and it would pump everyone up and help everyone come out and maybe start the offense a little bit."
Graham threw 122 pitches, 82 for strikes.
Shippensburg starting pitcher Pat Kregeloh pitched into the eighth, but was removed from the mound after Brock's RBI single. He struck out four and walked four.
Kregeloh, a junior, is one of 11 finalists for the Josh Willingham Award, which will be presented to the Most Valuable Player in Division II.
"(Kregeloh) was getting ahead in the count - a lot of first-pitch strikes - and his slider was pretty active," Brock said. "He pitched a great game."
Shippensburg dropped to 1-9 in World Series play. The program's only World Series victory came against Franklin Pierce in 2008.