Late-inning drama lifts Warriors over Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Mike Riemer went 4-for-9 with three doubles and six runs batted in Saturday afternoon as Eastern Connecticut State University swept a Little East Conference baseball doubleheader from Plymouth State University, 5-2 and 8-2, at Panther Park.
The Warriors, ranked third in New England and 15th in Division III, didn't put either game away until the late innings. Eastern got a two-out, bases-clearing triple by Riemer in the eighth inning of the opener to break a 2-2 tie, and got out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth inning of the nightcap as PSU had the tying run at the plate in a 4-2 game. The Warriors then tacked on four runs in the top of the ninth to preserve the victory. Eastern improves to 19-6 overall and 5-2 in conference play, while PSU falls to 10-14 overall and 1-6 in the Little East.
PSU got on the board in the opener first, thanks to consecutive second-inning singles by sophomores Jeff Runnals and Rob Madonna and junior Brendan Cosgrove. The Warriors tallied an unearned run in the top of the third and took the lead in the fourth on an RBI single by freshman Armando Soler.
The Panthers evened the score at 2-2 in the last of the sixth as senior Mike Cappiello singled and came home on a double by senior Luke Merrill. Eastern pulled out the win with a three-run rally in the top of the eighth as senior Steve Cammuso and junior Drew Accomando collected one-out singles, sophomore Adam Roderick was hit by a pitch, and Riemer drove a three-run double to right center field.
Senior Evan Chamberlain improved to 3-0 with the win for Eastern, as he allowed just two runs on six hits (no walks) in seven innings, striking out five. Senior Michael Hepple worked a perfect ninth inning for his second save. PSU starter Bobby Chatfieldallowed just one earned run on six hits and five walks through six innings, fanning nine, while Joe Hudson suffered the loss in relief.
Eastern took a 4-0 lead in the nightcap with one run in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth. Junior Joe Balowski doubled and scored on an infield grounder in the fourth, and Roderick and Riemer had RBI hits in the fifth.
PSU pulled to within two with a pair of runs in the last of the eighth as Merrill and junior Rew Wilson connected on RBI singles, but Eastern rallied for four insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Sophomore T.J. Larivee cracked a pinch-hit RBI double, Riemer added a two-run double, and Balowski finished off the scoring with an RBI single.
Junior Andrew Merritt earned the win (2-1) for Eastern, allowing just three hits and a walk through six scoreless innings and striking out four. PSU senior Jonathan Bishop worked into the ninth inning but took the loss (2-2).
PSU returns to the diamond Sunday with a non-conference twin bill at Lyndon State College. Eastern Conn. visits Manhattanville College Sunday for a make-up contest.
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