Garnett provides Panther highlight with home run
BOSTON – Senior Craig Frobel (Southington, Conn.) hurled eight strong innings Thursday afternoon to power sixth-seeded Western Connecticut State University to a 4-1 win over fourth-seeded Plymouth State University in Game 5 of the Little East Conference Baseball Tournament at Monan Park.
The Panthers' season comes to an end with a 20-22 overall record while the win moves the Colonials to 2-0 in the LEC tournament and 21-18 on the year. Western Conn. plays again Friday at noon against the winner of the No. 5 Eastern Connecticut State University vs. No. 3 UMass Dartmouth game later Thursday evening.
The highlight for the Panthers was a solo home run by junior James Garnett (Newport, R.I.) in the sixth inning, which tied the game at 1-1. It was the eighth homer of the season for Garnett, which ties for the LEC lead and winds up one shy of the school record.
Plymouth State used three hits to load the bases in the first inning but left them loaded as Frobel got an inning-ending strikeout to retire the side. The Colonials threatened in the top of the fourth, putting runners on the corners with a pair of hits but PSU freshman starter David Sampson (Bellingham, Mass.) worked out of the jam.
Western Connecticut opened the scoring in the sixth, collecting three hits to push across a run. Senior John Kelly (Stratford, Conn.) led off with a single and moved into scoring position on a sac bunt. Senior Chris Callahan (Southington, Conn.) collected his 100th career hit to move Kelly to third and he'd come around to score on a fielder's choice by senior Matt Greene (New London, Conn.).
Garnett wasted no time to even the score at 1-1, hammering a home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the sixth.
Western took the lead for good in the eighth inning. Callahan opened the inning with a single, and Green worked a walk to put two on with no out. Junior EJ Lavoie (East Granby, Conn.) sacrificed the runners into scoring position, and junior Frank Vartuli (Westport, Conn.) delivered in the clutch with a single through the left side of the infield. Western loaded the bases after Nick Delotto (Southbury, Conn.) was hit by a pitch, and junior Bryan Harper (Ledyard, Conn.) drew a base on balls to force in the second run of the inning. Panthers sophomore reliever Ryan Perro (Glen Head, N.Y.) came on to get the final two outs of the inning and strand the bases loaded to keep it a 3-1 game.
The Colonials added an insurance run in the ninth as Lavoie doubled down the right field line to drive in sophomore Bill Buscetto (Old Lyme, Conn.).
Taylor Donofrio (Terryville, Conn.) came on for the save in the ninth, recording the final three outs for his seventh save of the year. Frobel earned the win to improve to 4-3 on the year.
Sampson allowed just one run on six hits in six innings for PSU. Sophomore Taylor Doyle (Peterborough, N.H.) suffered the loss in relief.
Junior Jarek Krajewski (Cranston, R.I.) had two hits for the Panthers to finish the season with a team-high batting average of .384.
(Courtesy of UMass Boston Sports Information)
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