Down to last strike, Panthers rally in opener
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Sophomore Drew Metzdorf (Burlington, Mass.) poked a two out single to left field on an 0-2 pitch to erase a 1-0 deficit in the top of the seventh and Plymouth State University erupted for six two-out runs in the eighth to rally past Lakeland University, 7-2, in game one of a non-conference doubleheader at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic on Wednesday.
Lakeland used a seven-run sixth inning to post an 11-1 win in the second game to earn the split.
In a classic pitcher's duel, the Muskies looked poised to take the opening game after pushing across the game's first run in the bottom of the sixth. A Lakeland error gave PSU life in the seventh and Metzdorf came through in the clutch and the game went into extra innings. A bases-loaded, two-out hit batter gave the Panthers the lead and opened the floodgates as PSU added multiple insurance runs to back an impressive start from freshman Richie Marique (Derry, N.H.).
Lakeland put up two runs in each of the first two innings of game two. Senior Andrew Salta (Laconia, N.H.) blasted a shot to right center to cut the deficit to 4-1 in the fourth, but the Muskies put the game out of reach scoring seven times in the sixth on the way to an 11-1 win.
With the split Plymouth State moves to 6-3, while Lakeland ends the day with a 2-4 record.
Plymouth State 7, Lakeland 2 (Game 1 – 8 Innings)
Plymouth State 1, Lakeland 11 (Game 2)
Plymouth State (6-3)
How it Happened (Game 1):
- Both pitchers were brilliant from the onset as the game remained scoreless into the sixth.
- Lakeland pulled ahead in the bottom of the frame and should have had a one-two-three inning in the seventh to close out a win. With one down, freshman Ethan Robitaille (Conway, N.H.) reached on an error but the Muskies got the second out on a liner.
- Senior Jimmy Zimolka (Londonderry, N.H.) singled and Metzdorf came up with the game-tying hit.
- Marique worked around a single in the bottom of the frame to force extras.
- PSU loaded the bases as the first three hitters reached, but a strikeout and infield popup looked to quash the Panthers' rally. Junior Joe Routhier (Nashua, N.H.) was hit by a pitch to break the tie and Zimolka made it 3-1 after reaching on a fielder's choice.
- Metzdorf cleared the bases with a huge three run double and senior James Salta (Laconia, N.H.) added an insurance run with a single to make it 7-1.
- Lakeland got a run back in the bottom of the inning, but senior Alex Larson (Brunswick, Maine) shut the door.
Inside the Numbers (Game 1):
- Metzdorf drove in four with a 2-for-5 day, while the Salta brothers each finished 3-for-5.
- A. Salta had a pair of doubles.
- Marique turned in his second straight impressive performance. He struck out ten and allowed just one run over seven innings to improve to 2-0.
How it Happened (Game 2):
- Lakeland used two singles, two walks and a hit batsman to score a pair of runs in the first, then took advantage of a PSU error to push the lead to 4-0 after two.
- A. Salta led off the fourth with his solo shot to get a run back.
- Aided by some wildness on the mound and two defensive miscues, the Muskies plated seven runs in the sixth to push the lead to 11-1.
Inside the Numbers (Game 2):
- Three of the Panthers' six hits went for extra bases. J. Salta tripled and junior Andy Wasilefsky (Willington, Conn.) doubled to go with A. Salta's dinger.
- All three of A. Salta's home runs have come over the last three game days.
- Freshman Ryan Conklin (Middletown, Conn.) got the start and surrendered three earned over 1.1 innings to fall to 1-1. Classmate Mat Albetski (Hampstead, N.H.) was solid in relief, going 3.2 innings while giving up just three hits and striking out three.
- Plymouth State squares off against Johns Hopkins tomorrow (Mar. 12) at 3:00 p.m.
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