DANBURY, Conn. - Junior Nick Englert (North Woodstock, N.H.) hit a grand slam and senior Jim VanGyzen (Glocester, R.I.) hit a solo home run Sunday afternoon to lead Plymouth State University to an 8-4 victory over Western Connecticut State University in the first game of a Little East Conference baseball doubleheader at Westside Field.
The Colonials rebounded with three home runs in the nightcap, including a fourth-inning grand slam, to win 12-4 and gain a split of the twinbill. PSU is now 6-16 overall and 2-5 in the LEC, while WestConn is now 9-17 overall and 1-6 in conference play. Due to weather and field conditions, the games were moved from PSU on Saturday to WCSU on Sunday, and the Panthers batted second as the home team in both contests.
After WestConn took a 2-0 lead in the second inning of the first game, Englert's grad slam, his first career home run, gave PSU a 4-2 advantage. The Colonials got one back with a triple and a sacrifice fly in the third inning, but VanGyzen's homer in the fourth inning and an RBI single by junior Jay Kleponis (Reading, Mass.) in the fifth put the Panthers up 6-3. The Panthers added two more runs in the eighth inning on an RBI single by senior John Pogorzelski (Hillsborough, N.J.) and a sacrifice fly by junior Josh Roberti (Cranston, R.I.) Junior Kevin Levandowski (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) went 0-for-4 with a walk and had his 15-game hitting streak stopped.
Senior right-hander Chip Hale (Londonderry, N.H.) recorded the complete-game victory for PSU, improving to 2-1 after allowing nine hits, no walks, and two earned runs while striking out eight.
Sophomore Dan Baccaro (Berlin, Conn.) hit a second-inning two-run home run to give WestConn another early lead in the nightcap, but this time the Colonials pulled away from the Panthers. An unearned run came home in the third inning, and senior Matt Gardiner (Terryville, Conn.) blasted a grand slam in the fourth to make it 7-0. The Colonials finished with 12 runs on 11 hits, taking advantage of three Panther errors.
Senior Brandon Hodge (Bradford, Vt.) and freshman Grant Livingston (Niantic, Conn.) each had two hits for the Panthers in the nightcap, including a double.
Next on the schedule for PSU are games Wednesday against Keene State and Thursday against Colby-Sawyer; the location for those games are up in the air. WestConn hosts Albertus Magnus in a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday.
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