PSC Baseball sweeps UMB to earn LEC berth

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State College and the University of Massachusetts Boston wrapped up the baseball regular season Saturday afternoon, with PSC sweeping the Little East Conference doubleheader at Panther Field, 9-8 and 17-2.

The Panthers improve to 15-19 overall and 5-9 in the LEC, while the Beacons fall to 14-23 overall and 5-9 in the LEC. PSC and UMB share fifth place in the conference, but PSC gets the fifth seed in the upcoming LEC Tournament. The Panthers will take a five-game winning streak into Tuesday's first-round game at fourth-seeded Keene State, while the Beacons will travel to third-seeded UMass Dartmouth.

PSC needed four runs in the final three innings to pull out the opener, scoring the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth on a UMB infield error. The Panthers led 4-1 after two innings, but UMB battled back to take an 8-4 lead, scoring six runs in the sixth inning. PSC tied it with one in the sixth, two in the seventh and three in the eighth to set up the ninth inning drama.

PSC loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth on singles by freshman Brandon Stocker (Sunapee, N.H.) and junior Jon Albertini (Franklin, Mass.) and a walk by sophomore Scott Hodsdon (Somersworth, N.H.). UMB brought two outfielders into the infield alignment, and nearly forced extra innings after getting senior Dakota Smith (Rochester, N.H.) to fly out to shallow right and sophomore Matt Price (Epping, N.H.) to strike out, but PSC won it when Stocker scored on a shortstop error.

The Panther bats slugged out 17 hits in the opener, including three apiece from Hodsdon, Price, and sophomores Jay Zinis (Manchester, N.H./West) and Rob Burr (Concord, N.H.). Sophomore Mike Chirichiello (Wakefield, Mass.) had four hits to lead the Beacons.

Junior Jeff Morgan (Laconia, N.H.) earned the victory (3-5) with one scoreless inning of relief. UMB reliever Darwin Mesa (Santo Domingo, D.R.) took the loss.

Zinis led the Panthers in the nightcap, going 5-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI and tying the PSC single-game records for hits (5) and doubles (3). Smith added three hits, a pair of RBI and three runs scored. The Panthers put the game away early, exploding for a 15-0 lead by the end of the third inning.

Junior Kevin Locke (Pike, N.H.) worked the first six innings to register the victory (4-4). Junior John Forbes (East Boston, Mass.) took the loss for UMB. PSC will be facing a Keene State team in the LEC Tourney that swept the Panthers this season, winning 9-8 on Apr. 10th and 7-3 on Apr. 24th.