(Courtesy ECSU Sports Information)
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Plymouth State College overcame a four-run deficit to pull out a 6-5 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday in the opening game of the first Little East Conference baseball doubleheader of the season at the ECSU Baseball Stadium. The defending LEC regular season co-champion Warriors came back to earn a split by capturing the nightcap, 11-2.
Junior righties Nate Provencher (Wilton, N.H.) and Kevin Locke (Pike, N.H.) combined to limit ECSU to five singles in the opener. Provencher, who gained his first win after two losses, carried a 6-4 lead into the ninth inning but put the tying runs aboard with two out. ECSU All-America junior first baseman John Kubachka made it 6-5 with an RBI single off Locke, but pinch hitter Inaki Ormaechea fanned on three pitches to end the game and give Locke his first save.
Eastern actually led 4-0 in the game, but PSC tied the game by the fifth inning and went ahead for good in the sixth when No. 9 hitter sophomore Matt Salokangas (New Ipswich, N.H.) doubled in sophomore Jay Zinis (Manchester, N.H.) from second base with two outs. Zinis had singled and moved to second on an infield out.
Senior Dakota Smith (Rochester, N.H.) led PSC with three hits, including two doubles, driving in a pair with a fourth-inning double. Zinis, sophomore Sy Tebbetts (Hollis, N.H.) and freshman Brandon Stocker (Sunapee, N.H.) each had two hits. Trailing 4-0 in the fourth inning, sophomore Matt Price (Epping, N.H.) doubled in PSC's first run and sophomore (Concord, N.H.) made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly before Smith's two-run double tied the game in the fifth.
The defeat for ECSU represented the first home-opening loss since 1983, a span of 17 straight wins. It was only the third home-opener loss for Eastern (10-7, 1-1) in 33 years under head coach Bill Holowaty.
PSC managed only two runs and two hits off ECSU senior righthander Bryan DePaulo in the nightcap. DePaulo fanned a career-high 13 and blanked the Panthers after allowing two first-inning runs on a hit, three walks and a hit batsman. He did not surrender a hit after Burr singled with one out and one on in the third. DePaulo had stopped PSC on two hits in a complete-game 9-1 win last season in Plymouth.
Junior Jeff Morgan (Laconia, N.H.) worked the first six innings, allowing five runs, and took the loss to drop to 1-2. Freshman Brad Wilby (Haddonfield, N.J.) came on to pitch the final two innings.
PSC's upcoming schedule has been altered due to the winter conditions plaguing Northern New England. Tuesday's scheduled home game against Endicott will not be in Plymouth, but could be played at a neutral site or rescheduled for later this spring. Wednesday's contest at Saint Michael's has been postponed to Apr. 27th at 3 p.m. The Panthers' LEC home doubleheader against UMass Dartmouth scheduled for next Saturday will also likely be moved to a neutral site or rescheduled.