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Amherst takes two from PSU Baseball on final day of Florida trip

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Amherst College erupted for eight runs in the top of the eighth inning Friday to defeat Plymouth State University in the extra frame, 12-4, and earn a sweep of the doubleheader in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The Jeffs plated eight runs in the sixth inning of the opener en route to a 16-3 victory.

The Bantams, who have been to the NCAA Division III Tournament two of the past three years and five times in the last 11 seasons, are now 4-4 this spring, while PSU completes its Florida trip at 2-7.

Plymouth State managed just three runs and nine hits of Amherst senior Nick Kehoe (Washington Depot, Conn.), who went the distance and struck out eight. Sophomore Jay Kleponis (Reading, Mass.) had three hits and an RBI for the Panthers, and junior Brandon Hodge (Bradford, Vt.) and senior Craig Carpenter (Holderness, N.H./Nashua H.S.) each contributed solo home runs.

Senior Mark Mazzone (Wilmette, Ill.) paced the Jeffs offense with two doubles, a pair of singles and three RBIs. Sophomore Brendan Powers (Walpole, Mass.) added a double and two singles, while senior Tom Scott (Randolph, N.J.) singled twice, tripled and plated a trio of runs. Sophomore Angus Schaller (Leucadia, CA) also singled three times in the win.

The nightcap provided a bit more drama. Amherst took a 4-0 lead, but PSU battled back to force extra innings with two runs in the fourth inning, one in the fifth and one in the seventh. Freshman Steve Picco (Marshfield, Mass.) ignited the rally with a two-out, two-run home run, his first of the season, in the last of the fourth. Senior Josh Labossiere (Lincoln, R.I.) had three hits for the Panthers, and Hodge added a pair.

With the scored knotted 4-4, Amherst busted it wide open with eight runs in the eighth inning, keyed by Mazzone's first home run of the season, and an RBI triple off the centerfield wall by junior Neal Allar (Floyds Knob, Ind.). Scott and rookie shortstop Andy Thal (McLean, Va.) each doubled and singled in the win, and Thal (1-0) picked up his first collegiate pitching victory in relief.

PSU returns to New England and gets back into action on Wednesday, March 28, with a single game at Babson College (3:00 p.m.)

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