PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Rhode Island College heads into the Little East Conference Baseball Tournament with an eight-game winning streak after sweeping an LEC twinbill from Plymouth State University Saturday afternoon at Panther Park, 3-1 and 12-6. The outcome also eliminated PSU from post-season contention and sent the Panthers home for the season.
The Anchormen used solid pitching to pull out the doubleheader wins, improving to 21-12 overall and 8-6 in the LEC. RIC finishes in a tie for third in the LEC with Southern Maine. Needing one win to make the LEC play-offs, PSU came up short and finished 12-24 overall and 3-11 in conference play. The Panthers actually tied UMass Dartmouth for the final play-off spot, but lost out on the LEC tiebreaker.
Saturday's opener was a pitcher's duel between RIC freshman Robert Germane (Barrington, R.I.) and junior Evan Grogan (East Lyme, Conn.) and PSU junior Chip Hale (Londonderry, N.H.). Germane allowed only one earned run in seven innings on five hits and three walks while striking out 12, improving his record to 5-2. Grogan came on to pitch two hitless innings to record his second save. That made Hale a tough-luck loser after he pitched a complete game, allowing just two earned runs and lowering his team-leading earned run average to 2.78.
The Anchormen took the lead in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by junior Jim Connell (Smithfield, R.I.), and added another run in the third on an RBI double by senior Tim Henault (East Greenwich, R.I.). Sophomore Jeff Costa (Pawtucket, R.I.) added a run-scoring single in the seventh inning. PSU broke the shutout in the last of the seventh when seniors Steve Campo (Londonderry, N.H.) and Dylan Mullin (Derry, N.H.) led off with consecutive singles, freshman Jared LeClaire (Portsmouth, N.H.) walked, and Campo scored on a fielder's choice by senior Craig Carpenter (Nashua, N.H.)
RIC erupted for 12 runs on 14 hits in the nightcap, putting the game away early with five runs in the second inning and four more in the third. Freshman Jared Rossi (Johnson, R.I.) had two hits, including a two-run home run, and senior Mike Naylor (Warwick, R.I.) also collected two hits, including a solo homer. Junior Peter Olson (North Providence, R.I.) and sophomore Jeff Costa (Pawtucket, R.I.) also had two hits each, with Olson knocking in three runs and Costa driving in two.
Junior Brandon Hodge (Bradford, Vt.) highlighted the Panther offense in the nightcap, going 3-for-4 with a pair of two-run home runs. Senior Jamie Aceto (Cumberland, R.I.) had three hits in what turned out to be his final career game. Hodge finished the season as the team's leading hitter with a .379 batting average, while Carpenter finished at .365.
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