Cappiello, Merrill key Panther victories in season debut
THROGGS NECK, N.Y. – Seniors Mike Cappiello and Luke Merrill hit big home runs Saturday afternoon to lead the Plymouth State University baseball team to a sweep of the State University of New York Maritime College, 6-4 and 5-3, in the Panthers' season debut at Reinhart Field.
Cappiello smacked a pair of two-run home runs in his first two plate appearances of the season, helping the Panthers to a 6-1 lead in the opener, and Merrill clouted a three-run blast in the top of the seventh of the nightcap, turning a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead. Merrill then closed the door in the bottom half of the seventh to complete the Panther sweep. PSU is off to a 2-0 start to the season while SUNY-Maritime is now 4-2.
The Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the opener on a double by senior Ryan McIntosh and Cappiello's first homer to right center field. After the Privateers got on the board with an unearned run in the second inning, McIntosh reached on an error to start the third and Cappiello went deep to right center again to make it 4-1. Two errors, a wild pitch and an RBI single by junior David Tammaro extended the margin to 6-1.
Senior Bobby Chatfield earned the win on the mound for PSU, allowing just one run in four innings on two hits and four walks while striking out five. Junior Spencer Webb came on to work the final three innings, fanning four and earning a save.
Junior Rew Wilson doubled and later scored on a passed ball to give PSU a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the nightcap. Freshman Matt Sollin delivered a two-run double for SUNY Maritime in the third inning to give the Mariners their first lead of the day.
PSU came back to tie the score in the fourth when Tammaro led off with a double and scored on a single by junior Steve Beard, but SUNY Maritime manufactured a run to regain the lead in the bottom half of the inning with a walk, stolen base, throwing error and sacrifice fly.
The Panthers rallied for the win in the seventh inning when Beard walked, Cappiello was hit by a pitch and Merrill delivered the three-run blast.
Senior Jonathan Bishop worked the first five innings on the mound for PSU, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out seven. Classmate Joe Hudson pitched a perfect sixth inning and ended up with the victory, and Merrill retired all three batters he faced in the seventh to earn the save.
PSU plays a doubleheader Sunday at City College of New York.
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