Panthers take nightcap on walk-off single
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Senior Luke Merrill singled home the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday afternoon to lead Plymouth State University to a 5-4 victory over the College of Wooster (Ohio) in the second of a pair one-run baseball games in the Gene Cusic Classic. Wooster took the opener, 3-2, rallying for the winning run in the bottom of the sixth.
Merrill's game-winning hit in the nightcap came after Wooster had rallied to tie the game with three runs in the top of the seventh. Panther senior Ryan McIntosh was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and classmates Mike Cappiello and Merrill followed with hits to bring home the winning run. It was PSU's third straight one-run game (1-2) and fifth among the eight games in Florida (2-3).
PSU took a 2-0 lead in the nightcap on a first-inning RBI single by Cappiello and a fielder's choice RBI by McIntosh in the third. A sacrifice fly put Wooster on the board in the fourth inning but the Panthers extended the margin to 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles by McIntosh and Merrill.
Senior Jonathan Bishop pitched six strong innings for PSU, allowing just one run on six hits, striking out three. The Fighting Scots touched the Panther bullpen in the top of the seventh to tie it on a three-run home run by sophomore Eddie Reese. But PSU managed the split with the game-winning rally in the bottom half of the inning.
The first game also featured strong pitching as it was scoreless through four innings, with PSU senior Bobby Chatfield and Wooster senior Kyle Cunningham-Rhoads locked up in a pitching duel. After the Fighting Scots got on the board in the last of the fifth with an unearned run, PSU took a 2-1 lead with a pair in the top of the sixth. McIntosh reached on a one-out single and Cappiello cracked his third home run of the season. Cappiello had two of PSU's four hits in the game, as he also had a leadoff double in the fourth.
Wooster came right back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth off Chatfield. Reese hit a one-out solo home run and after sophomore Zac Mathie singled and stole second, senior Zack Cesco delivered a pinch-hit, go-ahead RBI single. Freshman Ben Cerami came on to strike out the side for Wooster in the top of the seventh and earn the save.
PSU wraps up action on the Florida trip Saturday with a doubleheader vs. Colby College.
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