Leitch with GW hit, Wakefield earns win as Panthers win opener in extras
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Freshman Eric Leitch (Lanesboro, Mass.) delivered an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday afternoon to drive in the game-winning run and lead the Plymouth State University baseball team to a split of a doubleheader against 24th-ranked Augustana College in the Gene Cusic Classic.
Leitch's hit came in the eighth inning in the first of two seven-inning contests to give the Panthers (8-4) a 4-3 victory. The Vikings (7-3) came back to take the nightcap, 8-3, to earn the split.
Augustana took the lead in the opener with two runs in the top of the second inning on a double steal and an RBI single by sophomore Trace Gingerich. Sophomore Dave Hall (Groton, Conn.) helped PSU take a 3-2 lead, delivering a double to left center to score a run in the second inning and cracking a two-run double in the third to put the Panthers ahead.
The Vikings came back to tie the game with an unearned run in the sixth inning, sophomore James Camalick driving home the run with a single to right. Senior Ryan Wakefield (Sanbornton, N.H.) prevented further damage for PSU, coming out of the bullpen with two outs and the bases loaded to strike out Gingerich to end the inning.
Wakefield pitched two more hitless innings to earn the win (1-0), walking two and hitting a batter while fanning three. The Panthers pulled out the win when junior Brian Thompson (Southington, Conn.) singled to lead off the last of the eighth, junior Dan Armstrong (Danville, N.H.) sacrificed pinch runner Jake Broom (New London, N.H.) to second, and and Leitch, who had entered the game as a pinch-runner in the sixth inning, doubled to score Broom.
Augustana scored runs in the first inning and three in the second to take control of the second game. The Vikings tacked another run on in the fourth inning to make it a 6-0 lead.
PSU got on the board in the sixth inning with an RBI single by freshman Jarek Krajewski (Cranston, R.I.), but the Panthers left the bases loaded when freshman reliever Cooper SantAmour induced a two-out grounder to end the inning. PSU added two more runs in the seventh inning on an infield groundout by senior Brandon Cox (Nashua, N.H.) and an RBI single by Thompson.
Junior Cody Gilchrist (Tyngsboro, Mass.) pitched the first four innings for PSU and suffered the loss (1-2).
PSU will complete play in Florida on Saturday in Port Charlotte with a doubleheader against Nichols College, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
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