FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Plymouth State University baseball team took two more games on the chin Wednesday afternoon, falling to Illinois College, 17-7, and Nichols College, 10-6, in a pair of nine-inning games in the annual Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The struggling Panthers have dropped six in a row to fall to 1-7.
PSU and Illinois College were locked in a tight game through five innings, with the Panthers holding on to a 4-3 lead. The Blueboys erupted for 10 runs in the sixth inning to put the game away. PSU senior starter Chip Hale (Londonderry, N.H.) was solid through five innings but tired in the sixth and took the loss.
Juniors Nick Englert (North Woodstock, N.H.) and Kevin Levandowski (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) had two hits apiece in the opener for PSU. Junior Jay Kleponis (Reading, Mass.) was 1-for-2 with three walks and three runs scored, and senior John Pogorzelski (Hillsborough, N.J.) drove in five runs with a two-run single, a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly and a fielder's choice.
The Panthers jumped out to a 6-0 lead over Nichols after second inning of the second game. PSU came up with a five-run second inning, spearheaded by consecutive hits from Levandowski, senior Brandon Hodge (Bradford, Vt.) and Kleponis. Nichols infield errors off the bat of senior Jim VanGyzen (Foster, R.I.) allowed three runs to score, and freshman Dan Eagan (Norwich, Conn.) followed with an RBI single to make it 6-0.
Nichols chipped away at the Panther lead and PSU junior starter Taylor Ketchum (Fairhaven, Mass.). After three scoreless innings, the Bison plated at least one run in the final six innings. They tied it at 6-6 with two runs in the fourth inning, three in the fifth and one in the sixth, then clinched the win with two in the seventh and one in each the eighth and ninth innings.
Levandowski finished the game with four hits and two stolen bases for the Panthers, and freshman Seth Labossiere (Lincoln, R.I.) had a pair of hits.
PSU will look to get back on the winning track Thursday with a doubleheader against the University of Minnesota-Morris (10:00 a.m.) The Florida slate wraps up for the Panthers on Friday with a twinbill against SUNY Fredonia (10:00 a.m.)
-- 30 --