BELMONT, Mass. - Rivals Keene State College and Plymouth State University took to the road on Thursday to get their Little East Conference game played. With both teams still unable to play at home, the Owls and Panthers hooked up in a slugfest at Belmont (Mass.) High School where Keene State held off a late Plymouth State rally to secure a 12-9 win.
Keene State, ranked No. 9 nationally in the current ABCA Division III national poll improves to 13-4 (2-1 LEC). Plymouth falls to 4-12 (0-3 LEC).
The Panthers jumped on the Owls for five runs in the top of the first. PSU, which took advantage of three KSC errors, had four hits, including an RBI single by Steve Picco (Marshfield, Mass.).
KSC took the lead right back with six runs in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Jeff Perkins (Dunbarton, N.H.) and Joe Rousseau (Nashua, N.H.) delivered RBI hits, and Jamie Chevalier (Amherst, N.H.) cracked his first home run of the season, a three-run shot to right center.
The Owls scored two more runs in the third and fourth innings to go up 10-5. Ryan Jones (Nashua, N.H.) had a two-run single in the third.
The Panthers got one run back in the fifth on a two-out RBI single from Picco.
KSC got two more insurance runs in the sixth. Chevalier tripled and came home on a fielder's choice and Bobby Doyon (Keene, N.H.) had an RBI double.
They would need the runs. Kevin Levandowski (Derry, N.H.)made things interesting with a three-run home run, his first of the season, in the top of the eighth.
Greg Ford (Nashua, N.H.) came in to shutdown the Panthers in the ninth to notch his fifth save.
KSC finished the game with 14 hits, Tyler Diprato (Suffield, Conn.) and Chevalier led the way with three hits. Perkins, Rousseau, and Doyon had two each hit each.
Levandowski had a big day for the Panthers, finishing with four hits and three RBIs. Jay Kleponis (Reading, Mass.) and Picco finished with two hits each.
KSC starter Aaron LaPlante (Charlestown, N.H.) improved his record to 3-0. He pitched six innings, giving up six runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk. Mike Riley (East Hartford, Conn.) pitched a couple of inning before handing the ball to Ford.
Freshman John Andersch (Concord, N.H.), now 1-2, started for PSC and took the loss. Chris Welch (So. Burlington, Vt.) and Justin Flanagan (Hingham, Mass.) also saw action on the mound.
Due to the scheduled rainy weather, PSU's doubleheader scheduled for Saturday at UMass-Dartmouth has been moved to Sunday. Keene State's is scheduled to play at Western Conn. on Saturday.
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)
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