SALEM, Mass. - The Plymouth State University baseball team built an early 6-1 lead and held on for an 8-4 victory over Salem State College Friday afternoon in a non-conference game at the SSC Baseball Diamond.
The Panthers (4-8) plated four second inning runs with the key hit coming off the bat of senior Jay Kleponis (Reading, Mass.) who ripped a two-out, three-run triple. Kleponis would add a two-run double in the fourth and an eighth inning RBI single to pace the Plymouth State attack. PSU also received a second inning RBI single from junior Steve Picco (Marshfield, Mass.).
Sophomore lefty Bryant Lausburg (Somersworth, N.H.) recorded his first win of the season for the Panthers. He logged six inning, scattered five hits, allowed just one run, struck out four and issued four free passes. Sophomore Matt Koban (Bradford, N.H.) scored three times and sophomore Grant Livingston (Niantic, Conn.) scored twice for the winners.
SSC (6-7), for the second straight day, staged a last inning rally when senior DH Ken Luongo (Wilmington, Mass.) blasted a three-run homer to straight-away center over the 400 foot sign. It was Luongo's team-leading fourth fence-buster of the season. He also leads the Vikings with 26 RBIs. Despite trimming the PSU lead to 8-4 with no one out and three runs across in the ninth, the Vikings were unable to continue the comeback against freshman reliever Joe Hudson (Greenfield, Mass.). Hudson retired three of the final five batters.
The Vikings out-hit the visitors, 9-7, with Luongo collecting a fifth inning single, and junior Steve Mucci (Walkill, N.Y.) and senior John McCue (Waltham, Mass.) each picking up two hits. SSC received a solid relief appearance from freshman righty Matt Kerr (East Freetown, Mass.). Kerr, who was making his first collegiate appearance, came on in the fifth inning with two runners on and no outs. Kerr walked the first hitter he faced and then struck out the next four Panthers, including three looking. All told, Kerr went five innings, allowed only a single, struck out eight, walked three and hit a batter. SSC freshman starter Marion Padovanni (Lynnfield, Mass.) was tagged with the loss after lasting one inning and giving up a pair of runs.
PSU opens Little East Conference action Saturday with a doubleheader at Western Connecticut State University, beginning at 12 noon. The Panthers will also play a non-conference double-header Sunday at Southern Vermont College to wrap up a five-game, three-state weekend road trip.
The Vikings host Bridgewater State College Saturday in a Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) doubleheader at 12 noon.
(Courtesy of Salem State Sports Information)
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