KEENE, N.H. - Junior righthander Jeff Morgan (Laconia, N.H.) scattered six hits and two walks Tuesday at the Owl Stadium Complex to lead the Plymouth State College baseball team to a 5-2 upset victory over Keene State College in the opening round of the Little East Conference Tournament.
The fifth-seeded Panthers advance to the double-elimination round, hosted this Thursday through Saturday by LEC regular season champion University of Southern Maine. PSC will face the top-seeded Huskies in the 3:30 p.m. game Thursday at Towers Field in Gorham, following the 12 noon contest between #3 seed UMass Dartmouth and #2 seed Eastern Connecticut State University. USM and ECSU received first round byes, and UMD advanced with a 10-6 victory Tuesday over #6 seed UMass Boston.
Plymouth State won for the sixth straight game and ninth time in last 10 outings, improving to 16-19 overall. Keene State falls to 13-14.
Morgan struck out nine in recording his second complete game of the season and upping his record to 4-5. He pitched shutout baseball until the seventh inning, when he surrendered an RBI triple to sophomore Marc Duncan (Concord, N.H.). The Owls touched Morgan for another run in the eighth on sacrifice fly, but the PSC veteran struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the victory. Sophomore Buzzy Francis (Bedford, N.H.) took the loss for the Owls.
PSC put two runs on the board in the top of the first, as sophomores Matt Price (Epping, N.H.) and Jay Zinis (Manchester, N.H.) delivered RBI singles. The Panthers doubled their lead two innings later when Price drove in a run and another scored on Zinis' infield grounder.
Both Panther rallies were sparked by sophomore Scott Hodsdon (Somersworth, N.H.) and senior Dakota Smith (Rochester, N.H.), as Hodsdon walked and singled and Smith was hit by a pitch and doubled. Both players came around to score both times.
The Panthers made it 5-0 in the sixth when sophomore Matt Salokangas (New Ipswich, N.H.) singled and sophomore Rob Burr (Concord, N.H.) followed with an RBI double.
Keene State had defeated Plymouth State both times during the regular season, 9-8 in Providence on Apr. 10th and 7-3 in Keene on Apr. 24th.
The game also marked the 299th career victory for PSC head coach Dennis McManus. Now in his 17th season, McManus has a career record of 299-286-3.