Panthers can't catch break on Florida trip
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The bats were kept at bay Monday for the Plymouth State University baseball team as the Panthers dropped a pair of games in the Gene Cusic Classic. PSU fell to Knox College (Ill.) in the first game, 7-3, and then to the College of Wooster (Ohio), 4-2.
PSU scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth against Knox to pull to within 4-3, but the Prairie Fire pulled away with two in the seventh and one in the eighth. The Panthers took 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the fourth and fifth innings against Wooster, but the Fighting Scots answered with one in their half of the fourth and two in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead. Pitching did the rest for both teams and Wooster added an insurance run in the eighth inning for the 4-2 final.
Senior starter John Andersch settled down after allowing two runs on three hits in the first inning against Knox; he then worked three-and-two-thirds innings of hitless ball, walking four and striking out three. Sophomore Kevin Allard worked a solid relief role for PSU for more than four innings but took the loss.
Trailing 2-1 in the fourth inning, junior Luke Merrill put the Panthers on the board with a solo home run. Merrill finished with a double, a home run and two RBI. Freshman Jeff Runnals (Wolfeboro, N.H.) also knocked in a run with a fielder's choice.
Freshman Ben Cronin singled home Merrill in the fourth inning of the second game against Wooster to give PSU a 1-0 lead. After the Fighting Scots tied it in the bottom of the fourth, PSU got an unearned run in the top of the fifth to go up, 2-1. But that was the extent of the Panther offense, and Wooster held on after taking the 3-2 lead in the last of the fifth.
Junior Joe Hudson turned in a complete-game effort for PSU, giving up four runs on seven hits in nine innings, striking out one, but was saddled with the loss.
PSU will play a pair of seven-inning games Tuesday against SUNY New Paltz, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
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