Merrill leads Panthers in nightcap with five RBI
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Senior Luke Merrill went 4-for-4 with five runs batted in and classmate Ryan McIntosh scored four runs after reaching base in all four plate appearances Sunday afternoon to lead Plymouth State University to a 7-6 victory in the second game of a baseball doubleheader and a split against the State University of New York at Oneonta on the first day of action in the Gene Cusic Classic.
The Panthers nearly won the first game, but Oneonta State rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out a 3-2 victory. PSU came back and took a 5-0 lead in the first two innings of the nightcap and held on for a 7-6 triumph. Plymouth State will play doubleheaders the next two days and again on Friday and Saturday.
PSU took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap on a two-run single by Merrill, and tacked on three more runs in the second inning on consecutive two-out RBI hits by McIntosh, senior Mike Cappiello and Merrill.
Oneonta got on the board with three runs in the third inning when senior Tory Bouyea hit a two-run double and scored on a single by junior Matt Salvatore. After the teams traded runs in the fourth inning, Oneonta pulled to within 6-5 in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by senior Will Rivas. The Red Dragons threatened again in the sixth inning, loading the bases on a walk, a double and a hit-batter, but PSU sophomore Spencer Webb came out of the bullpen to get the final out and keep the Panther lead.
Merrill doubled in a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to give PSU an insurance run, which was fortunate because Oneonta rallied for a run in the top of the seventh on a double by senior Ivan Plata and a pinch-hit RBI single by classmate Kevin Knack. But Webb got the final out for PSU to record his second save of the season. Senior Jonathan Bishop pitched the first four innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, to post the victory.
PSU also took a 2-0 lead in the opener with solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings on RBI singles by sophomore Jeff Runnals. Senior pitcher Bobby Chatfield kept Oneonta scoreless through six innings, scattering five hits and four walks, and came out after walking the leadoff batter in the seventh inning. The Red Dragons rallied against the Panther bullpen, scoring three times to pull out the 3-2 win.
Runnals and Cappiello each had three hits in the game for PSU, with Cappiello scoring after his fifth-inning double.
PSU plays a doubleheader Monday at 10 a.m. against Knox College (Ill.)
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