Zimolka with three hits, three runs scored in setback
GORHAM, Maine – Sophomore Jimmy Zimolka (Londonderry, N.H.) went 3-for-6 and scored three runs but a late rally by the Plymouth State University baseball team fell short in a 13-10, non-conference loss to the University of Southern Maine at Ed Flaherty Field on Monday evening.
The loss dropped the Panthers back to .500 at 9-9 overall, while the Huskies have won eight of nine to improve to 12-6. The two teams will meet again for a Little East Conference (LEC) doubleheader on April 21.
Batting in the leadoff spot, Zimolka notched his third three-hit game of the year. PSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the top of the third but Southern Maine scored six in the bottom of the fourth to go ahead 7-4. The Panthers put a three-spot on the board to tie the game at 7-7 in the top of the fifth, but USM used a six-run sixth to take a 13-7 lead. Plymouth was able to get the tying run to the plate in the ninth before falling.
PSU scored an unearned run in the top of the first to grab an early lead when senior Nate Frederick (Worcester, Mass.) drove in Zimolka with a sacrifice fly. Zimolka had led off the inning with his first base hit of the day.
Zimolka got another Panthers' rally started in the third. After singling to open the inning he stole second. A walk and hit batsman loaded the bases and Frederick brought in one run with a single through the right side. Junior Chris Mansour (Lowell, Mass.) worked a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-0 and senior Mitch Sytulek (Raymond, N.H.) added a run-scoring ground out for a 4-0 lead.
USM got one back in the bottom of the inning after a leadoff triple and sac fly.
The Huskies put together an impressive two-out rally to post a big fourth inning. After two quick outs, back-to-back walks and an infield single made it 4-2. Another walk loaded the bases, but it looked like Plymouth would get out of the inning with a lead when junior Zach Quintal (Eliot, Maine) struck out, but the ball got away and Quintal was safe at first as another run came home. Junior Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine) followed with a two-run single and classmate Devin Warren (Smithfield, Maine) added a two-run single of his own to put the hosts ahead 7-4.
Plymouth State battled right back in the next half inning. Frederick singled and Mansour walked to start the inning. A sacrifice moved both into scoring position and a walk loaded the bases with one away. Sophomore Ben Curry (Hampstead, N.H.) doubled to the right-center field gap to score two and Zimolka followed with an RBI groundout to tie the game at 7-7.
The Huskies retook the lead with another two-out, six-run rally, this time in the bottom of the sixth. With a runner on second and two down USM used an RBI double and run-scoring single to go ahead 9-7. Another single and a PSU error loaded the bases and freshman Jason Komulainen (Gorham, Maine) brought all three runners home with a double down the right field line. A walk and RBI single capped the inning as the hosts pulled ahead 13-7.
Zimolka scored for the third time in the top of the eighth. After reaching on an error he later came around on a single from junior Josh Goulet (Nashua, N.H.). USM escaped further trouble, however, when the next batter grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The Panthers rallied again in the top of the ninth. Back-to-back walks put the first two batters on to start the inning. Sophomore Andrew Salta (Laconia, N.H.) scored on a wild pitch and senior Cam Ruziak (Sterling, Mass.) scampered home on Curry's sac fly to make it 13-10. Zimolka singled for his third hit of the day and junior Geoff Kayo (Londonderry, N.H.) walked to bring the tying run to the plate with two away, but junior Jake Dexter (Oakland, Maine) got a strikeout to close out the game.
The teams combined to use 12 pitchers in the game. Graduate student Dallas DeFrancesco (Meriden, Conn.) took the loss for the Panthers to fall to 1-1, while sophomore Colton Lawrence (Farmington, Maine), the third Huskies' pitcher, earned the win to go to 2-0. Dexter recorded his seventh save after coming on for the final out.
The Panthers' bats collected just seven hits, with three from Zimolka and two from Frederick, but PSU earned nine free passes. Curry finished with three RBI.
Dexter, who started at second base for the Huskies, and freshman Sam Troiano (South Portland, Maine) both had three hits for Southern Maine, which pounded out 16 hits on the afternoon. Komulainen finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and five RBI.
PSU travels to Salem State University for a non-conference game on Wednesday (Apr. 11). First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.
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