MANSFIELD, Conn. - Sunday was not a good day for the Plymouth State University baseball team to face Eastern Connecticut State University, the top-ranked Division III team in the country.
Eastern Conn., ranked No. 1 in both national polls, was coming off just its second loss of the season (16-2), a disappointing 4-3 setback Saturday to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. UMD finished in last place in the Little East Conference in 2008 and was picked in the same spot in this year's preseason poll.
The Warriors took out their frustrations on the Panthers on Sunday, sweeping an LEC doubleheader at the ECSU Stadium, 20-0 and 13-1. Eastern hitters scored 20 runs on 25 hits off three Panther pitchers in the opener, and added 13 runs on 14 hits off three PSU hurlers in seven innings in the nightcap.
Eastern pitchers limited the Panthers to seven hits on the afternoon, four in the first game and three in the second. PSU broke up the shutout in the sixth inning of the nightcap when senior Jim VanGyzen (Glocester, R.I.) reached on a third-strike wild pitch, went to third on a double by junior Steve Picco (Marshfield, Mass.), and scored on a wild pitch.
Senior All-America and 2007 National Player of the Year Shawn Gilblair (Windham, Conn.) was the star of the first game for Eastern, going 4-for-5 at the plate with three doubles, four runs scored and four RBI. He also was the winning pitcher, working seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits and a walk and striking out 12. Senior Tristan Hobbes (Utica, N.Y.) also had four hits and two RBI for the Warriors, while juniors Travis Bass (West Hartford, Conn.) and Mike Palo (Brookfield, Conn.) and sophomore Robert Perry (Manchester, Conn.) contributed three hits apiece.
Sophomore Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, Mass.) hit a grand slam for Eastern in an 11-run third inning to highlight the Warriors slugfest in the nightcap. Gilblair added three more hits and three more RBI, and Palo had three more hits, including a triple.
PSU, 5-11 overall and 1-3 in the LEC, is scheduled to play its home opener this Wednesday at Panther Park, facing Middlebury College at 3:30 p.m., weather and field conditions permitting. ECSU, 18-2 overall and 3-2 in the LEC, hosts Western New England College Monday at 4:00 p.m.
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