DANBURY, Conn. – The Plymouth State University baseball team recorded its first Little East Conference doubleheader sweep in five years Saturday afternoon, taking two games from Western Connecticut State University, 7-6 and 9-1, at cold and blustery Westside Field.
Plymouth State used an unearned run in the top of the ninth to squeak by Western in the opener, and sophomore Adam Neshe (Framingham, Mass.) limited the Colonials to two hits and one unearned run through seven innings to lead the Panthers in the nightcap. PSU has won three straight to improve to 6-10 overall and 2-2 in conference play, while WestConn falls to 5-14 and 0-5.
It was PSU’s first LEC sweep since defeating Rhode Island College, 13-6 and 12-8, on April 20, 2002.
The Colonials took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the opener, aided by two Panther errors, and the margin stood until PSU came back to tie it at 3-3 in the top of the sixth. Plymouth State pulled ahead 6-4 in the top of the eighth inning, but Western evened the score with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, setting up the dramatic ninth inning.
Senior Josh Labossiere (Lincoln, R.I.) drove in three runs for PSU in the opener with a pair of singles. Senior Dylan Mullin (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) and freshman Jared LeClaire (Portsmouth, N.H./Winnacunnet) also had two hits apiece for the Panthers. Mullin scored the eventual game-winning run in the ninth inning when he singled with two outs, stole second, and scored on a Colonial infield error.
Sophomore Taylor Ketchum (Fairhaven, Mass.) started for PSU and worked six solid innings, allowing just four hits and two walks and one earned run. Juniors Justin Flanagan (Hingham, Mass.) and Chip Hale (Londonderry, N.H.) combined to pitch three innings of two-hit relief, with Hale earning the win after working a scoreless ninth inning.
The nightcap was a pitcher’s dual, with Neshe and WestConn starter Jeff Hancock (Oakdale, Conn.) locked in a 1-0 game through six innings. PSU ran away with the game with four runs in the seventh inning and two in each the eighth and ninth frames to seal the doubleheader sweep.
Neshe struck out seven batters in seven innings for PSU and improved his record to 2-1, and sophomore Chris Welch (Burlington, Vt.) worked two strong hitless innings to preserve the win.
Senior Jamie Aceto (Cumberland, R.I.) delivered an RBI single in the PSU fourth inning for the only run through six innings of the nightcap. The Panthers put together six straight hits in the pivotal seventh inning, the biggest a two-run single by LeClaire.
Mullin delivered an RBI single to highlight PSU’s eighth inning rally, and senior Craig Carpenter (Holderness, N.H./Nashua H.S.) smacked a two-run homer in the ninth inning for insurance. Labossiere and sophomore Josh Roberti (Cranston, R.I.) each had three hits and an RBI for Plymouth State in the nightcap.
PSU hopes to play at Keene State on Monday (3:30 p.m.) in a Little East make-up contest, weather and field conditions permitting. WestConn returns to action Tuesday night against in-state foe Trinity College.
(Courtesy of Western Connecticut Sports Information)
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