FORT MYERS, Fla. - Freshman left-hander John Andersch (Concord, N.H.) tossed a complete-game victory with 12 strikeouts Thursday to lead the Plymouth State University baseball team to a split of a doubleheader against the University of Minnesota Morris in the annual Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The Panthers took the opener, 5-1, while the Cougars came back to win the second game, 6-3.
Andersch allowed only six hits and one unearned run over seven innings to record his first collegiate victory (1-1). The outcome stopped PSU's six-game losing streak, and the Panthers are now 2-8 with two games left to play on the Florida trip.
PSU took a 1-0 lead in the third inning of the opener when junior Jay Kleponis (Reading, Mass.) tripled and scored on a wild pitch. UMM tied the game with a run in the top of the fourth, but the Panthers put the game away with four runs in the last of the fifth. Junior Josh Roberti (Cranston, R.I.) led off with a double and junior Nick Englert (North Woodstock, N.H.) followed with a walk. Junior Kevin Levandowski (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) singled in a run, and senior Brandon Hodge (Bradford, Vt.) added an RBI double to make it 3-1. Kleponis brought home another run with a sacrifice fly, and senior Jim VanGyzen (Foster, R.I.) rounded out the scoring with an RBI single.
Each team scored two runs in the first inning of the nightcap, and UMM pulled away with a single run in the second inning and three more in the third. PSU's runs in the first came when Levandowski doubled; Hodge followed with a triple and came home on a sacrifice fly by Kleponis.
PSU managed a small rally in the seventh inning when junior Marc McGinnis (Hanover, Mass.), freshman Dan Eagan (Norwich, Conn.) and Roberti strung together three straight singles, but the Cougars held on for the victory. Junior Chris Welch (South Burlington, Vt.) started and worked three innings and was saddled with the loss. Senior Ryan Lavelle (Middleboro, Mass.) and freshman Chris Bryant (Lebanon, N.H.) combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief.
The Panthers wrap up the week Friday with a 10:00 a.m. twinbill against SUNY Fredonia.
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