DANBURY, Conn. - Plymouth State University and Western Connecticut State University split a Little East Conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday, with WestConn taking the opener 6-1 on a dazzling pitching performance and PSU coming back to take the nightcap, 6-5. The games marked the conference debut this spring for both schools.
WestConn sophomore lefty Billy Armstrong (Moodus, Conn.) had a no-hitter into the eighth inning of the opener but a bloop base hit to left field by Matt Koban (Bradford, N.H.) broke up Armstrong's gem. The Hale-Ray graduate threw 138 pitches on the afternoon and struck out nine and walked five. He allowed one unearned run before yielding to Billy Thompson (Brookfield, Conn.) for the ninth.
Three of WestConn's four hits in the opener came off the bat of sophomore Zach Dandrea (Wanaque, N.J.), including a pair of doubles and a single through the box as he drove in three runs for the winners. Dan Baccaro (Berlin, Conn.) had the Colonials' other hit and scored three runs.
Sophomore John Andersch (Concord, N.H.) took the loss for the Panthers and is now 1-1 on the young season. He struck out four and walked eight over seven innings. Senior Chris Welch (South Burlington, Vt.) pitched the eighth inning or PSU and struck out two.
Plymouth State took a 5-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning of the nightcap. Senior Jim VanGyzen (Glocester, R.I.) plated two with a bases-loaded double just inside the first base line. Freshman Mike Cappiello (Westfield, N.J.) followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Jay Kleponis (Reading, Mass.), and VanGyzen later came home on a passed ball.
The Panthers added what proved to be the game-winning run in the eighth. Sophomore Dan Eagan (Norwich, Conn.) doubled, and pinch runner Joe Eramo (Shirley, Mass.) came in to score on a WestConn infield error.
Senior Taylor Ketchum (Fairhaven, Mass.) improved to 2-1 after allowing five hits and three runs while striking out three and walking three.
WestConn got a solid pitching performance in the nightcap from junior righty Miles Scribner (Washington, Conn.), who struck out 13 and walked just one in eight innings. He allowed 10 hits and six runs, only four of them earned.
The Colonials chipped away at the lead scoring two in the bottom of the fifth. Baccaro belted a two-run home run, his team-leading third round tripper of the season, in the bottom of the ninth, but Welch, who had come on for the final two innings, got out of the jam to pick up his first save.
PSU, 5-9, stops on the way home for a non-conference doubleheader Sunday at 12 noon at Southern Vermont College. WestConn, 7-8, hosts Westfield State in a non-league affair Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
(Courtesy of Western Connecticut Sports Information)
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