Panthers wrap up regular season at Colby on Monday
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Western Connecticut State University put together a pair of ninth-inning rallies to sweep a Little East Conference (LEC) baseball doubleheader over Plymouth State University at Panther Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Colonials scratched out a run in the ninth to take the opener, 5-4, then used a four-run rally to win game two, 11-10. PSU falls to 14-17 (5-9 LEC) while Western Connecticut moves to 16-19 and 3-11 in league play.
After matching zeros through the first two innings, PSU took the lead in the bottom of the third. Freshman Joe Routhier (Nashua, N.H.) reached on a two-base error and sophomore Jimmy Zimolka (Londonderry, N.H.) drove him home with a run-scoring single. A steal and grounder moved Zimolka to third and junior Ryan Richard (Berlin, N.H.) made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Western Connecticut jumped in front in the next half inning. A double, hit batsman and passed ball put two runners in scoring position with nobody out, and a single and run-scoring groundout tied the game. Sophomore Matt Mancini (Waterbury, Conn.) put the Colonials ahead with a single through the right side. Sophomore Tyler Brown (Littleton, N.H.) escaped further trouble when he induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Colonials added a run in the fifth with a two-out rally. A walk followed by back-to-back singles put the visitors ahead 4-2.
PSU got the run right back in the bottom half when Richard drove a ball over the right field fence for his first home run of the year.
The Panthers tied the game in the eighth after the first two batters were hit with pitches. A double steal and RBI single from senior Nate Frederick (Worcester, Mass.) evened the game at four-apiece, but WCSU got out of the jam with a double play ball and infield grounder.
Western pulled back in front in the ninth. Senior Bill Buscetto, Jr. reached on an error, was balked to second and came around on another Panther miscue to take a 5-4 lead, and PSU went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Junior Dylan Gaita (Melrose, Mass.) was charged with the loss to drop to 3-2, despite not allowing a hit or walk in his inning of work. Zimolka finished 2-for-5 at the top of the Panther lineup, while Richard was 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Mancini and senior Clete Lorusso (New Milford, Conn.) both had three hits for the Colonials. Lorusso added a pair of RBI and scored a run. Junior Taylor Donofrio (Terryville, Conn.) came on to pitch the final two innings, giving up just one hit, to earn the win and improve to 1-1.
The two teams traded punches in a wild second game. The Colonials took a 1-0, first inning lead with sacrifice fly, but Routhier answered with a run-scoring single in the second to plate senior Luke Mancini (Scotia, N.Y.).
Lorusso homered in the third to put the visitors back in front but the Panthers rallied in the bottom half, as four walks forced in the tying run. Routhier followed with a two-run single, pushing senior Cam Ruziak (Sterling, Mass.) to third, and the duo pulled off a double steal to make it a 5-2 lead for PSU.
Sophomore Moe Ortiz-Echevarria (Norwalk, Conn.) drove in two with a double and he moved up to third on the throw, then came home on a wild pitch to tie the game in the fifth, but Plymouth went back in front in the bottom of the frame thanks to a pair of WCSU errors. Ruziak singled and an error and wild pitch put runners on second and third. After a fly out, junior Geoff Kayo (Londonderry, N.H.) reached on an error allowing one run to come home and a passed ball made it a 7-5 advantage for the Panthers.
Western Connecticut rallied to tie it again in the seventh. Senior Zach Sagar (Trumbull, Conn.) started the inning with a double and an error and walk loaded the bases with one down. Ortiz-Echevarria singled and a throwing error allowed junior Adam Wilson (Southington, Conn.) to even the game at 7-7.
PSU took its final lead with two runs in the eighth. The Panthers opened the inning with singles from senior Mitch Sytulek (Raymond, N.H.) and Mancini, and Ruziak worked a walk to load the bases. An error allowed one run to come home and Zimolka hit a sac fly to left to give Plymouth a 9-7 lead with three outs to go.
After a quick foul out to start the ninth a double and two-run shot from senior Stanly Rijo (Torrington, Conn.) evened the score yet again. Buscetto, Jr. followed with another double and senior Joe Daigle (Southington, Conn.) launched the inning's second two-run blast to give the Colonials an 11-9 lead.
PSU got the tying runs on in their last at bat after a walk and hit batsman. Ruziak's single drove in one run and brought the tying run to third base, but a strikeout ended the rally.
Ruziak reached base five times with three hits and a pair of walks. He also scored twice and drove in two. Routhier finished 2-for-6 and drove in three. Senior Ryan Perro (Glen Head, N.Y.) got the start, going five innings while allowing five runs (four earned). Junior David Sampson (Bellingham, Mass.) was tagged with the loss to dip to 2-3.
Sagar and Ortiz-Echevarria both had three hits as the Colonials hit six doubles in the game. Donofrio, the game one winner in relief, got the start and allowed eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits and five walks over 6.1 innings. He struck out five. Junior Michael Esposito (Plainfield, Conn.) improved to 2-2 after recording the final five outs.
PSU will travel to Colby College for a non-conference doubleheader on Monday. The first game is set for 5:00 p.m.
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