PSU Baseball drops pair to Westfield in season opener

(Game 1 Box) (Game 2 Box)

            AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Westfield State College baseball team rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday evening for a dramatic 9-8 victory to complete a doubleheader sweep of Plymouth State University in the Central Florida Invitational.

            Westfield rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to win the opener, 7-3. The Owls conclude their Florida swing with a 7-3 record and are scheduled to host Elms College on Tuesday. It was the first two games of the season for Plymouth State.

            Trailing 8-6 with one out and the bases empty in its final at bat, Westfield rallied for the stunning victory with the aid of four PSU errors. The Panthers played errorless ball for the first six innings and turned double plays in the fifth and sixth frames to stop Westfield scoring threats. Also, Plymouth State threw out a Westfield runner at home (9-4-2 putout) for the first out of the fourth inning.

            It all unraveled in the seventh as four Panther infield errors set up the game winning hit by designated hitter Kevin “Moose” Lyons, who had struck out his previous four plate appearances.

            After falling behind 5-0 after two innings of the nightcap, PSU rallied with two runs in the third and fourth innings and four runs in the fifth to take an 8-6 lead. Freshman Steve Beard (Middleton, Mass./Masconomet Regional) and junior Matt Koban (Bradford, N.H./Kearsarge) hit RBI doubles for the Panthers, and junior Grant Livingston (Niantic, Conn./Saint Bernard) capped the rally with a two-run single.

            Sophomore right-hander Jonathan Bishop (Woburn, Mass.) went the distance on the mound for PSU, settling down after a tough start to blank the Owls for three innings while the Panthers staged the comeback.  He was in line to earn the win until the Panther defense failed in the seventh.

            Plymouth State had taken a 3-0 lead in the opener.  Livingston walked and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice by sophomore Mike Cappiello (Westfield, N.J.) in the first inning.  Junior Dan Eagan (Norwich, Conn./Saint Bernard) and freshman Rew Wilson (Niantic, Conn./East Lyme) singled in the second, and they came home on a double-steal and a single by sophomore Joe Eramo (Shirley, Mass.).  The Panther bats were then held to just one hit the rest of the game, a fourth inning single by Cappiello.

            Junior Bryant Lausberg (Somersworth, N.H.) was solid on the mound in the opener for PSU, allowing just two earned runs in six innings while striking out eight.

            PSU is right back on the diamond Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader against Trinity College. 

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