Goulet posts three hit game for Panthers in setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Josh Goulet (Nashua, N.H.) had three hits and stole two bases, but fifth-seeded Plymouth State University suffered a 4-1 setback to second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University in Game Two of the Little East Conference (LEC) baseball tournament at Monan Park at the University of Massachusetts Boston on Wednesday afternoon.
The Panthers (16-18) will face sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Thursday morning in an elimination game. The Corsairs dropped the tournament opener to the host Beacons by a 7-3 score. Eastern Connecticut advances to play the winner of third-seeded University of Southern Maine and fourth-seeded Rhode Island College on Thursday evening.
The Panthers put pressure on ECSU starting pitcher Jordan Muchin (West Hartford, Conn.) in the first. Junior Geoff Kayo (Londonderry, N.H.) lined a one out single to right and Goulet pushed a base hit through the right side with two down. Senior Nate Frederick (Worcester, Mass.) followed with a base hit up the middle to score Kayo and give PSU an early lead. Frederick swiped second, but Goulet was cut down at home on the back end of the double steal to end the inning.
A fantastic defensive play by junior Ryan Richard (Berlin, N.H.) kept the Warriors off the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. After two quick outs freshman Jack Rich (Meriden, Conn.) doubled to left center and the next batter smashed a hard ground ball to the right side, but Richard made a diving stop and strong throw to first to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Eastern Connecticut loaded the bases with one out in the third with two singles and a walk and a ground ball to shortstop got the game-tying run home, though junior Dylan Gaita (Melrose, Mass.) escaped further trouble by inducing a ground out to third.
The top three batters in the PSU lineup all reached base to open the top of the fourth. Richard worked a leadoff walk, Goulet singled to right center and Frederick took ball four, all with none out, but Muchin responded in a big way striking out the next three batters on 12 total pitches.
The ECSU offense repaid Muchin with a run in the bottom of the inning. Gaita struck out the leadoff batter, but the next four all reached on singles to put the Warriors ahead 2-1. A double play kept the deficit at one.
Sophomore Jimmy Zimolka (Londonderry, N.H.) singled to center with one down in the fifth, then got into scoring position with a stolen base but the Panthers were unable to bring him in.
The Warriors added an unearned run in the sixth to extend to a 3-1 lead on a sacrifice fly.
Senior Cam Ruziak (Sterling, Mass.) walked and stole a base with one down in the seventh, but a pair of groundouts left him stranded at third.
Freshman Will Austin (Sunapee, N.H.) came on in relief of Gaita for the seventh, getting two quick outs before the Warriors rallied with two singles and a double to add another run.
Goulet got his third hit of the day in the eighth before stealing second, but a strikeout retired the side and the Panthers went down in order in the ninth.
Goulet posted his fifth three-hit game of the year. Zimolka, Kayo and Frederick had the other three Panthers' hits. Gaita (3-3) allowed three runs, two earned, while striking out six over his six innings of work.
Muchin (5-4) needed 141 pitches to get through seven innings, but surrendered just the first inning run. He struck out nine.
PSU will face UMass Dartmouth in an elimination game at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. The winner will advance to play on Friday, while the loser will be eliminated from the tournament.
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