Panthers lose in slugfest and pitching duel
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Plymouth State University baseball team was in a slugfest and a pitching duel Sunday in a doubleheader against Luther College (Iowa) in the Gene Cusic Classic, but the Panthers ended up on the short end in both games.
PSU took 4-1 and 8-4 leads in the opener but Luther came back to pull out a 12-10 win with a six-run fifth-inning rally. The Panthers and Norse were tied 1-1 from the third inning through the 10th in the second game when Luther rallied for four runs in the top of the 10th and held off the Panthers in the bottom half on the inning for a 5-1 triumph. The Norse improved to 7-1 on the season trip, while PSU dropped to 1-5.
Junior Luke Merrill (Pittsburg, N.H.) led the Panthers in the opener with three hits, including a pair of doubles and three RBI. His two-run double keyed a three-run rally in the Panther fourth, and senior Matt Koban (Bradford, N.H./Kearsarge) highlighted the fifth-inning rally with a two-run single. Junior Jonathan Bishop (Woburn, Mass.) started for PSU and allowed just one run through three innings but didn’t make it out of the fifth and got a no-decision.
Seniors Bryant Lausberg (Somersworth, N.H.) led the Panthers on the mound and at the plate in the nightcap. After Koban was hit by a pitch and stole second in the first inning, Lausberg laced a double to knock in Koban and give PSU an early lead. Lausberg then pitched seven innings of one-run ball, allowing only five hits and a walk while striking out four. Junior Matt Reynolds allowed only one Panther run through seven innings, and the two starters left after the seventh with the game tied, 1-1.
The bullpens kept it going until Luther scored four times in the top of the 10th, keyed by a two-run hit by junior Kevin Bradley. Junior Bobby Chatfield (Sharon, Conn.) took the loss in relief for PSU.
While all doubleheaders the Panthers have played this season have been scheduled as two seven-inning games, PSU will play a pair of single nine-inning affairs Monday against Knox College and the College of Wooster (Ohio).
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