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April 9, 2003

Late rally leads PSC past Keene St.

LINCOLN, N.H. - Plymouth State College scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday afternoon to steal a baseball game from archrival Keene State College, 4-3, in a Little East Conference match-up played at Lin-Wood High School.

Keene State took a 3-0 into the last of the eighth, but PSC plated one run in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth. Senior Matt Salokangas (New Ipswich, N.H.), who knocked in PSC's first run in the eighth with an infield grounder, drove home the game-winning run with a two-out, bases-loaded, opposite-field single to left in the ninth.

The outcome gives PSC an 8-6 overall record, while KSC drops to 3-11. Both schools are now 1-2 in conference play.

Senior Owen Burke (Sanbornton, N.H.) went the distance on the mound for the Panthers, picking up the win to improve to 4-1. He allowed three runs on nine hits, striking out six.

The Owls took a 3-0 lead after three innings. Sophomore Mike Masseur (Warwick, R.I.) doubled and came around to score in the first frame for KSC's first run. Senior John Trubiano (Keene, N.H.), junior Justin Hickman (Mont Vernon, N.H.) and sophomore Justin Cox (East Swanzey, N.H.) smacked consecutive one-out singles in the third to score Keene State's second run, and Hickman and Cox pulled off a double steal from the corners to put the Owls up 3-0.

Three Owl pitchers kept the Panthers at bay over the first seven innings, with sophomore Jim Slack (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) starting and working the first three innings and senior Corey Hartson (Merrimack, N.H.) and freshman Ryan Kohler (Alstead, N.H.) pitching two innings each. Senior Buzzy Francis (Bedford, N.H./West) came on in the eighth inning and took the loss (1-4).

Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, junior Jay Morgan (Laconia, N.H.) led off for PSC with a walk. Two freshman pinch hitters allowed the Panthers to load the bases, as C.J. Rousseau (Merrimack, N.H.) singled and Adam Kobeski (Walpole, N.H.) drew a walk. Senior Jay Zinis (Manchester, N.H./West) also walked to bring PSC to within one.

After Francis fanned two consecutive Panthers, senior Robbie Burr (Concord, N.H.) reached on an infield error, allowing Rousseau to score the tying run, and Salokangas followed with the game-winning hit to drive in pinch runner Scott Begale (Rumney, N.H.).

The two teams will meet again on Apr. 23 at Keene.

PSC's non-conference game Thursday at Endicott was canceled because neither team has a playable field. The Panthers will play a revised schedule this weekend, with all four games being played at St. Joseph's College in Standish, Maine: a single game Saturday at 11 a.m. against St. Joseph's, a doubleheader Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against UMass Boston, and a single game Sunday at 1 p.m. against Castleton State.

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