Panthers still alive, play again Friday afternoon
GORHAM, Maine – Freshman Dean Grasso had three hits, including a triple and a home run, and knocked in three Thursday afternoon as third-seeded Rhode Island College avoided elimination with a 10-5 victory over sixth-seeded Plymouth State University in Game 5 of the Little East Conference Baseball Tournament, hosted by the University of Southern Maine.
The Anchormen, who were upset by fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University in their first game of the tournament, rapped out 14 hits against two Panther hurlers. RIC led 2-1 after three innings but pulled away with three runs in the fourth and fifth innings to open up an 8-1 advantage. PSU, which upset top-seeded USM in the tournament's opening game on Wednesday, scored four times in the eighth inning against RIC to pull to within four runs at 9-5, but the Anchormen added one more in the top of the ninth and shut down the Panthers in their final at bat.
Both teams remain alive in the tournament and will play again on Friday. PSU (18-21) is slated to play at 12:30 p.m. against the loser of the 9:30 a.m. contest between Eastern Connecticut and second-seeded Keene State College; RIC (26-16) is scheduled to play in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m. against host USM.
The PSU offense was led by senior Luke Merrill and junior Ryan McIntosh, who knocked in two runs each. Merrill came around to score after his leadoff double in the second inning and he delivered a two-run single in PSU's four-run eighth inning. McIntosh followed Merrill's single in the eighth with a two-run triple.
Sophomore C.J. Tsoumakas started and earned the win for RIC, pitching six innings and allowing just one hit and one unearned run while striking out five. Three Anchormen relievers combined to work the final three innings. PSU senior Jonathan Bishop worked the first five innings for PSU and took the loss. Junior Rew Wilson pitched the final four innings for the Panthers, surrendering just two runs (one earned) on five hits.
In previous games this season against Friday's potential opponents, PSU dropped 5-2 and 8-2 decisions to Eastern Conn. on Apr. 14, while splitting two games against Keene State, with the Owls winning 9-2 on Apr. 10 and the Panthers taking the Apr. 17 match-up, 4-1.
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