Panthers finish season at 22-16, most wins since 1997
MANSFIELD, Conn. – The Plymouth State University baseball team was knocked out of the Little East Conference Tournament Friday afternoon in an elimination game with a 7-4 loss to Rhode Island College. The six-team, double-elimination tournament is being hosted at top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University.
The fifth-seeded Panthers led 3-0 in the third inning and 4-2 in the fifth, but couldn't hold off the sixth-seeded Anchormen. RIC plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead and added a pair of insurance runs in the last of the seventh, and senior reliever Brad Van Fechtmann threw four innings of two-hit, no-run baseball to seal the win.
Rhode Island College, 13-22 overall, advances to Game 8 of the tournament Friday at 2:30 p.m. against an opponent to be determined. PSU completes its season with a 22-14 record, the most wins in a season since the Panthers finished 22-17 in 1997.
Plymouth State senior Brandon Cox (Nashua, N.H.) went 2-for-4 with a double to lead the Panthers at the plate, while sophomore Jake Broom (New London, N.H.) walked, stole a base, and scored a pair of runs.
PSU scratched the first run of the game in the top of the first courtesy on an RBI ground out from junior Brian Thompson (Southington, Conn.) that scored Broom. The Panthers tacked on two more runs in the top of the third to take a 3-0 lead; Broom drew a walk, stole second base and moved to third on a ground out to the right side before scoring the first run of the frame on a wild pitch, while Thompson came around to score later in the inning on an error, this after he reached on a walk as well.
The Anchormen tallied a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to one. The rally began when sophomore Matt Foley (Seekonk, Mass.) drew a two-out walk, while senior Justin Rainville (Cumberland, R.I.) followed with a single to right-center field to put runners on the corners. After Foley crossed the plate on a wild pitch to put RIC on the scoreboard, Rainville scampered to third and then came around to score on back-to-back wild pitches, making it, 3-2.
PSU added another run in the top of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead after senior Jeff Runnals (Wolfeboro, N.H.) doubled to left-center field, moved to third on a fielder's choice, and came around to score on a passed ball.
Rhode Island College bounced back to take a 5-4 lead with a three-run fifth inning. After junior Dean Beshansky (Cumberland, R.I.) and Foley opened the frame with walks, Rainville ripped a single into right-center field to score Beshansky. Santaniello then lofted a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Foley and knotted the game at four. Freshmen Tyler Rains (North Kingstown, R.I.) and Sean Getman (Oneonta, N.Y.) followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases and sophomore Angelo St. Laurent (Cranston, R.I.) drew a walk to give RIC a one-run lead, but the Panthers induced an inning-ending double play to minimize any further damage.
The Anchormen struck for two more runs in the seventh, sparked by Santaniello's leadoff single down the left field line. After Santaniello took both second and third on wild pitches, the junior came around to score on sophomore Gian Abbruzzese's (North Providence, R.I.) RBI single through the left side. After senior Justin Costa's (Cranston, R.I.) infield single once again loaded the bases, Beshansky drew another walk to score Getman.
PSU junior starter Tucker Regan (Niantic, Conn.) was saddled with the loss (3-3). The right-hander worked 4.1 innings and conceded five runs on five hits and five walks.
(With contributions from Rhode Island College Sports Information)
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