Runnals leads Panthers to sweep of Lasers
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Junior Jeff Runnals (Wolfeboro, N.H./Kingswood) had a big day at the plate Sunday as the Plymouth State University baseball team swept Lasell College, 8-4 and 6-5, in the first doubleheader in this year's Gene Cusic Classic.
Runnals finished the twin bill 4-for-5 with two doubles, two triples, two walks and five runs batted in. He had a double and a triple in each game, knocking in three runs in the opener in reaching base in all four plate appearances in the nightcap. Runnals also pitched the first four innings of the nightcap, receiving a no-decision after allowing three hits and three runs while striking out two.
Junior Brandon Cox (Nashua, N.H./ South) cracked five hits on the day for the Panthers, going 3-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored in the opener and adding two more hits in the nightcap. Junior Rob Madonna (Cranston, R.I.) and senior Brendan Cosgrove (Merrimack, N.H.) each had key hits to spur a come-from-behind rally in the nightcap.
PSU scored in six of the seven innings of the opener to win 8-4, finishing with 10 hits. Cox and Runnals had back-to-back RBI doubles in the first inning to jump start the offense. Junior Steve Beard (Middleton, Mass.) added an RBI single in the second inning, and PSU stretched the margin on sacrifice flies by Runnals and sophomore Paul Reny (South Portland, Maine) in the fifth and sixth. The Panthers capped the scoring in the seventh inning when Runnals tripled home a run and then scored on a hit by sophomore Dan Armstrong (Danville, N.H.)
Sophomore Cody Gilchrist (Tyngsboro, Mass./Bishop Guertin) posted his first win of the season for PSU, pitching the first four innings and surrendering three hits and three runs while striking out four, departing with a 4-3 lead. Junior Spencer Webb (Warwick, R.I./Pilgrim) earned his first save of the season, allowing just one hit and one run over the final three innings. Webb also matched the PSU career saves mark of seven set by Jason Lewis from 1994-97.
PSU took a 3-0 lead in the second game with RBI singles by Madonna and Cosgrove in the second inning and a Runnals RBI triple in the third. After Lasell rallied for four runs in the fourth inning and one in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead, PSU answered with a three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead for good. Runnals hit a run-scoring double to plate the first Panther run, and after a single by Armstrong, Madonna and Cosgrove delivered clutch two-out RBI singles.
Senior Kevin Allard (Reading, Mass.) earned the win in relief for PSU, pitching the last three innings and allowing just three hits and one run while striking out five.
The Panthers are back on the diamond Monday morning with a doubleheader against the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
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