Panthers stun Saint Joseph's

WINDHAM, Maine - Senior Dakota Smith (Rochester, N.H.) singled home freshman Brandon Stocker (Sunapee, N.H.) in the eighth inning Friday, breaking a 10-10 tie and handing Plymouth State College a stunning 11-10 upset victory over Saint Joseph's College in non-conference baseball action.

The Panthers, who had lost seven in a row and had won only two of their first 17 games, shocked the Monks, who came into the game with a 25-2 record, including a victory over the top-ranked team in the region (Southern Maine) on Wednesday.

Saint Joseph's drew first blood with three runs in the opening inning. PSC took the lead with six runs in the fourth inning, but the Monks answered with six unearned runs in the last of the sixth. The Panthers regained the lead with four in the top of the seventh, but SJC tied it at 10-10 with one run in the bottom of the seventh to set up the PSC dramatics in the eighth.

Stocker walked and stole second base in the decisive eighth inning. Junior Jon Albertini (Franklin, Mass.) sacrificed Stocker to third, and Smith brought him in for the winning run.

Sophomore Jay Zinis (Manchester, N.H.) had a big game offensively for PSC, going 4-for-5 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Key hits for PSC in the six-run fourth inning came from sophomore Matt Salokangas (New Ipswich, N.H.), who drove in a pair with a double, and Stocker, who added a two-run single. Zinis and sophomore Rob Burr (Concord, N.H.) had RBI singles in the four-run seventh.

Stocker was also the last of seven PSC pitchers in the game. Sophomore Owen Burke (Sanborton, N.H.) and senior Arlan Freeman (Portland, Maine) each pitched two innings, and sophomores Jonathan Rich (Londonderry, N.H.) and Brad Wilby (Haddonfield, N.J.), senior Brian Neff (Salinas, Cal.), sophomore Jason Egan (Sharon, Mass.) and Stocker tossed one inning each. Neff was credited with the win (1-1), while Stocker, who was making his first collegiate appearance, got the save after striking out three straight batters in the ninth.

After playing its first 18 games on the road or at neutral sites, PSC (3-15) finally plays at home Saturday (Apr. 21) with a Little East Conference doubleheader against Rhode Island College at Panther Field (12 p.m.).