FORT MYERS, Fla. - Plymouth State University opened the 2009 baseball season Saturday evening with a doubleheader loss to the University of Scranton (Pa.) in the annual Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.
Scranton won the first game 10-9, scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning after PSU had scored five times in the top half of the inning to take a 9-5 lead. The Royals came back with a 15-3 victory in the nightcap to earn the sweep of the twinbill. Scranton extended its winning streak to three games and improved to 3-2, while the Panthers start the season 0-2.
Sophomore Bryant Lausberg (Somersworth, N.H.) gave the Panthers an early lead in the opener with a one-out solo home run in the first inning. Scranton came back with three runs in the first inning and two in the second as the Panther defense struggled in their first outdoor appearance of the spring, making five errors in the first three innings.
PSU got two runs back when senior Marc McGinnis (Hanover, Mass.) slugged a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Senior Jim VanGyzen (Glocester, R.I./Ponaganset) added an RBI single in the fifth to pull the Panthers to within one run, 5-4, and PSU took the lead with the five-run sixth inning. Seniors Nick Englert (North Woodstock, N.H./Lin-Wood) and Jay Kleponis (Reading, Mass.) had RBI singles and VanGyzen delivered a two-run double to key the rally.
Sophomore John Andersch (Concord, N.H.) started for PSU and allowed five hits and three earned runs through four innings, striking out six. Senior Chris Welch (South Burlington, Vt.) took the loss after giving up seven hits and five runs in the Royals' sixth-inning rally.
Scranton took an 8-1 lead by the third inning of the nightcap and never looked back. The Royals tagged four Panther hurlers with 15 runs (13 earned) and 16 hits.
Kleponis provided the highlights for the Panthers, with two hits and two RBI. He singled home Englert in the first inning and doubled him home in the third. Englert reached base three times on walks and scored twice. Sophomore Matt Koban (Bradford, N.H./Kearsarge) also doubled and scored on a single by sophomore Ben DiZoglio (Hudson, N.H./Alvirne) in the fourth inning.
PSU is right back in action Sunday with a doubleheader against Illinois College, the first game beginning at 10:00 a.m.
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