Gaita tosses six shutout innings in LEC opener
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Junior Dylan Gaita (Melrose, Mass.) threw six shutout innings in the Little East Conference (LEC) opener as the Plymouth State University baseball team topped the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth by 11-1 and 6-3 scores at the UMD Baseball Field on Saturday.
With the sweep the Panthers have won four in a row to improve to 9-5 (2-0 LEC), while UMass Dartmouth falls to 10-5 (0-2 LEC).
Gaita allowed just four hits over six innings of work while the PSU offense scored in bunches to take game one. The 6-1 righty worked out of a second inning jam after the Corsairs loaded the bases with nobody out. Gaita retired the next three batters to keep the game scoreless.
The PSU offense followed with a five-run outburst in the top of the third. Senior Cam Ruziak (Sterling, Mass.) singled and moved to third after a steal and passed ball. Sophomore Jimmy Zimolka (Londonderry, N.H.) singled him home, then promptly swiped second. An error and walk loaded the bases, but UMD starter Matt Cronin (Framingham, Mass.) nearly worked out of the jam, getting a much-needed strikeout for the second out of the inning. Junior Ryan Boldwin (Manchester, N.H.) followed with a two-run single, though, and a walk and fielding error led to two more Panthers' runs.
Gaita recorded his only one-two-three inning in the bottom of the fifth and the Panthers rewarded him with four more runs in the top of the sixth. Ruziak, Zimolka and junior Ryan Richard (Berlin, N.H.) all singled to load the bases with nobody out. Junior Geoff Kayo (Londonderry, N.H.) took ball four to bring in a run and a passed ball scored another. Junior Josh Goulet (Nashua, N.H.) drove in the third run of the frame with a sac fly, and Kayo stole third then scored when the catcher's throw was off target to make it 9-0.
The Corsairs got a run back in the bottom of the seventh off reliever Cam Cossette (Milford, Mass.). A walk, two wild pitches and a sacrifice fly made it a 9-1 game, but the Panthers came back with two more in the top of the eighth.
Zimolka and Richard singled and a bunt moved them both into scoring position. Goulet drove in one with a single and senior Nate Frederick (Worcester, Mass.) doubled down the leftfield line to score Richard.
Cossette and sophomore Alex Larson (Brunswick, Maine) combined for three strikeouts in the bottom of the inning to wrap up the 11-1 win.
Gaita moved to 2-0 on the year, striking out eight while allowing five free passes in the game. Richard, Frederick and Zimolka each had three hits. Zimolka also scored three runs and drove in another.
Cronin took the loss allowing five runs, one earned, on six hits and three walks in five full innings. Senior Zack Reid (Dighton, Mass.) was tagged for four runs without recording an out and the UMD offense could muster just four singles.
The Panthers scored in each of the first three innings to build an early 4-1 lead in game two. PSU used a pair of two-out hits to strike in the top of the first. Frederick singled up the middle to score Richard, who walked to lead off the inning, and Boldwin followed with a double to make it 2-0 in the early going.
UMD answered with an unearned run in the bottom half when a two-out double from junior Erick Ramirez (Boston, Mass.) scored senior Kenny Michael (Norwood, Mass.), who had reached on an error.
PSU got the run right back with a Kayo sacrifice fly to score Ruziak in the second, and Ruziak's fielder's choice plated Boldwin in the third for a 4-1 lead.
Starting pitcher David Sampson (Bellingham, Mass.) retired nine straight batters from the third to sixth innings. Plymouth tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth with two bases-loaded walks, but the Corsairs countered with two in the bottom half of the inning, scoring on a throwing error and single.
UMD attempted to rally in the bottom of the ninth. A leadoff single and one out base hit brought the tying run to the plate, but sophomore Tyler Brown (Littleton, N.H.) earned his first career save with a strikeout and infield grounder to wrap up the sweep.
Sampson allowed just one earned run over his six innings while striking out seven to move to 2-1. Brown scattered three hits and a walk over the final three innings for the save. Boldwin and Zimolka had two hits apiece for the Panthers, with Boldwin recording the only extra base hit for PSU.
Sophomore Ryan Bruning (Centerville, Mass.) allowed six runs, five earned, on eight hits and three walks in 5.1 innings to fall to 1-1. Sophomore Mitch Baker (Braintree, Mass.) and junior Jose Vasquez (Roxbury, Mass.) combined to go 4-8 at the dish, but the rest of the Corsairs' lineup was 4-26.
Plymouth State travels to Babson College on Monday (Apr. 2) for a 3:30 p.m. contest.
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