Panthers avoid elimination, play again Saturday afternoon
GORHAM, Maine – Senior Joe Hudson made the most of his first start of the season Friday afternoon, tossing a complete-game, five-hit shutout as sixth-seeded Plymouth State University stunned fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University, 1-0, in Game 7 of the Little East Conference Baseball Tournament, hosted by the University of Southern Maine.
The Panthers (19-21) are one of four teams still alive in the double-elimination event, and are slated to take the field again Saturday at 3:00 p.m. against second-seeded Keene State College (31-11). The Owls are the only unbeaten team in the tournament (2-0) after edging Eastern Connecticut in 12 innings earlier Friday, 4-3.
Hudson, who had made 14 relief appearances for the Panthers this season, spun a brilliant game allowing only five singles, one walk and two hit batsman while fanning just one. The Warriors got a runner to third base only one time, that coming in the sixth inning when junior Drew Accomando reached third on a wild pitch. Hudson improved to 3-1 and lowered his team-leading earned run average to 2.39.
The Panther defense played error-free ball behind Hudson, and junior catcher David Tammaro twice cut down a Warrior base runner attempting to steal second, including once in the ninth inning.
The Panthers scored the only run of the game in the second inning as senior Ryan McIntosh led off with a double to left field. McIntosh moved to third on a one-out wild pitch by losing hurler Andrew Merritt. After a walk to junior Rew Wilson, Tammaro beat out a fielder's choice to drive in McIntosh.
PSU had a potential second run cut down at the plate in the fourth inning senior Luke Merrill was tagged out trying to score on Wilson's fly ball to right field.
Plymouth State's victory over Eastern Conn. was just the fifth in 37 games against the Warriors since the teams started Little East Conference play in1997. Eastern has won 29 of 32 regular season meetings and three of the four previous LEC Tournament games.
Saturday's game against Keene State will be the third meeting this season between the two rivals after splitting the regular season series. The Owls won the first game in Keene, 9-2, on Apr. 10, and the Panthers won the second contest in Plymouth, 4-1, on Apr. 17, tossing nine-straight no-hit innings after the first two Owls got hits.
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