Beard's home run leads Panther offense
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Plymouth State University baseball team had a three-game winning streak stopped Friday, dropping a doubleheader to Otterbein College (Ohio), 12-4 and 6-5, in the Gene Cusic Classic.
The Panthers are now 7-4 overall, while Otterbein remains perfect on its spring break trip (7-0), improving to 11-1 on the season with 10 straight wins.
The two teams traded runs in the third inning of the second game, Otterbein scoring on a PSU throwing error in the top half and PSU senior Dave Tammaro (Cheshire, Conn.) hitting an RBI double to right in the bottom half. The Panthers pulled ahead 4-1 in the fourth inning when sophomores Brian Thompson (Southington, Conn.) and Justin Walsh (Goffstown, N.H./Bedford) reached base with no outs and senior Steve Beard (Middleton, Mass.) cracked a three-run homer to right, his first of the season and first since 2010.
Otterbein came right back with four runs in the top of the fifth inning to regain the lead, all four runs coming with two outs. The rally was capped by a bases-clearing three-run double by sophomore Sean Kettering.
PSU tied the score at 5-all in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by freshman Dave Hall (Groton, Conn.) and had the potential go-ahead run in scoring position with no outs, but a fielder's choice and a 6-4-3 double play ended the threat.
After neither team scored in the sixth inning, Otterbein pulled ahead in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Kettering. Senior Dominic Porretta retired the Panthers in order in the bottom of the seventh to clinch the win.
Plymouth State fell behind 5-0 in the first inning of the first game and never recovered. It was 9-0 by the time PSU got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning on a two-out, two-run single by senior Ryan McIntosh (Lincoln, N.H.). The Panthers tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning when senior Brendan Cosgrove (Merrimack, N.H.) hit a leadoff double and later scored on McIntosh's infield grounder, and then McIntosh came around on singles by juniors Jeff Runnals (Wolfeboro, N.H.) and Brandon Cox (Nashua, N.H./South) and a fielder's choice by junior Rob Madonna (Cranston, R.I.)
Thompson finished with three hits for PSU, while Cox, Runnals and Cosgrove had two apiece. Runnals, freshman Joe Marino (Averill Park, N.Y.) and senior Kevin Allard (Reading, Mass.) each pitched two innings for the Panthers, with Runnals suffering his first loss of the season (1-1).
The Panthers will wrap up their spring trip Saturday with a doubleheader against the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. PSU will be out to avenge a 6-4, 3-2 doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Titans on Monday.
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