Leitch with three hits to lead Panther hitters
SALEM, Mass. – Richard Fecteau (Newbury, Mass.) laced a walk-off single down the left field line to lift the Vikings of Salem State University past the Plymouth State University Panthers, 4-3, Wednesday afternoon at the Central Campus Baseball Field.
A lead-off single by Andrew Deloury (Peabody, Mass.) and a sacrifice bunt set the stage for Salem's ninth-inning rally. After a hit-batter and a fielder's choice, Fecteau delivered the game-winning RBI as Salem State upped its record to 10-12-1 while the Panthers fall to 12-11.
After a pitching duel over the first three innings, the Vikings finally reached the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Dan Connors (Danvers, Mass.) and Joe White (Bellingham, Mass.) led off the inning with back-to-back singles to left field. Jose Cedano (Lawrence, Mass.) advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt to set up Rourke Flynn (Norwood, Mass.), who knocked them both in with a single to left. Flynn stole third and scored on a passed ball on the next pitch to enhance the Vikings' lead to 3-0.
The Panthers answered immediately in the fifth as they scored three runs. A Viking error allowed Luke Mancini (Scotia, N.Y.) to get on. Next, Freshman Josh Goulet (Nashua, N.H.) singled then was moved up by Cam Ruziak (Sterling, Mass.), who reached base due to a miscommunication in the Vikings' infield. With the bases loaded Eric Leitch (Adams, Mass.) drove in a run with an RBI-single to cut the deficit to 3-1. Nate Frederick (Worcester, Mass.) lined one up the middle that drove in two runs to tie the game at 3-3.
Cato LaCroix (Holliston, Mass.) came on in relief for Mike Richardson (Belmont, Mass.), who went five innings, allowing one run on six hits. LaCroix came out firing in the sixth inning, retiring the side in order. He ran into some trouble in the seventh inning where he found himself with the bases loaded after giving up a single and two walks. With one out and the bases juiced, LaCroix pulled through for the Vikings as he struck out the next two batters to escape the inning unharmed and still tied at 3-3. LaCroix continued to dominate in the late innings as he set down the side in the eighth and only saw four batters in the top of the ninth to preserve the tie.
In the bottom of the ninth, Deloury led off with a single to left and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Mac Daniel Singleton (Everett, Mass.). PSU reliever Taylor Doyle (Peterborough, N.H.) hit Teghan Malionek (Salem, Mass.) with a pitch to put another Viking on base late in the game. Doyle got the dangerous Mike Davis (Peabody, Mass.) to ground into a fielder's choice that ended in Deloury getting tagged out at third. With Malionek at second and Davis at first, Fecteau drove the first pitch he saw down the left field line to secure the 4-3 win.
Doyle drew the loss putting him at 3-2 as he pitched 0.2 innings giving up two hits and an earned run. Starter Cam Cossette (Milford, MA) went six innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. LaCroix earned the victory bringing him to 2-1, tossing four shutout innings, and striking out eight batters along the way.
Salem State will host the Gulls of Endicott College Thursday at 3:30 p.m. while the Panthers will take on the Warriors of Eastern Connecticut State in a Little East Conference doubleheader Saturday at noon.
(Courtesy of Salem State Sports Information)
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