Panthers rally from four runs down to win opener
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Ian Grimes (Medford, Mass.) doubled home two runs to cap a five-run comeback Wednesday afternoon as Plymouth State University captured the first game of a non-conference baseball doubleheader against the University of Maine Presque Isle, 7-6, at Panther Park.
The visiting Owls came back to win the second game in eight innings, 4-3, on the strength of a Matt Cauchon RBI single in the top of the eighth. The split on the day leaves the Owls with a 5-16 overall record while Plymouth State is now 11-19.
Grimes finished with three hits and two RBI in the opener for PSU while junior Paul Reny (South Portland, Maine) had two hits, including a double, and knocked in three. Freshman Peter Esposito (Cranston, R.I.) also had two hits, including a double.
Jesus Garcia hit a pair of doubles for UMPI and Soloman Fast collected two hits in the first game, while Andrew Bartl drove in two runs.
UMPI jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning as Cauchon, Saul Nunez and Bartl recorded RBI singles and one run scored on an error. PSU cut the margin in half in the third inning on Reny's two-run single. The Owls pushed the lead back to four runs as Garcia doubled home a run in the fourth inning and Bartl knocked in a run with an infield grounder in the fifth.
Trailing 6-2, PSU rallied with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Reny doubled to right center to score a run, freshman Luke Mancini (Scotia, N.Y.) singled in another, and Reny scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Dave Hall (Groton, Conn.). The Panthers pulled ahead in the last of the sixth inning on Grimes' two-run double.
Freshman Nolan Flynn (Manchester, N.H./Central) went the distance for PSU to record his first career win (1-0); he allowed just three earned runs over seven innings, striking out one. Matt Curry also completed the game on the mound for the Owls and took the loss.
PSU opened the scoring in the first inning of the nightcap when Reny tripled and came home on a double by senior Justin Walsh (Goffstown, N.H.), but the Owls came right back with three unearned runs in the top of the second. Nunez delivered an RBI single to start the rally.
The Panthers pulled even with single runs in the third and fifth innings as sophomore Jarek Krajewski (Cranston, R.I.) cracked an RBI single in the third and freshman Eric Leitch (Lanesboro, Mass.) hit an RBI triple down the right field line in the fifth.
The Owls pulled out the win in the eighth inning when Garcia led off with a double and one batter later scored on Cauchon's RBI single. Bartl picked up the win in relief, tossing 2.1 innings one one-hit, no-run baseball, and Nunez recorded his first save after getting three outs in the bottom of the eighth.
Sophomore Josh LeBlanc (Rindge, N.H.) went six innings in a no-decision for PSU, surrendering just three unearned runs on five hits and walk, striking out six.
PSU completes its eight-game home stand on Thursday at Panther Park, hosting Keene State College in a Little East Conference match-up at 3:30 p.m. UMPI plays a doubleheader vs. Newbury College Saturday at the University of Maine Orono.
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