LEC Baseball Tournament: Panthers hand Owls first loss of the tournament 9-2
GORHAM, MAINE 5/12/12 – Keene State's run through the Little East Conference Baseball Tournament hit a snag on Saturday with an 9-2 loss to rival Plymouth State University at the University of Sothern Maine.
Second seed Keene State (31-12) will have to win two games on Sunday if it hopes to capture its first Little East title since 2008. The Owls will face top seed Southern Maine in an elimination game on Sunday at 11 a.m. Continuing its surprise run in the tournament, the sixth-seeded Panthers will play the winner of the KSC-USM game at 2 p.m. PSU, which prior to this week hadn't won an LEC Tournament game since 2001, has now captured three wins in four days over the #1, #2 and #4 seeds.
Owl bats were kept in check all afternoon by sophomore Jeff Runnals and junior Rew Wilson. Runnals started and recorded the win for the Panthers, pitching 5-1/3 innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits, striking out four, while Wilson earned the save, pitching the final 3-2/3 scoreless innings and giving up just three hits and a walk.
"Plymouth has come up here and done a pretty good job of what you're supposed to do at play-off time,' said KSC Coach Ken Howe. "We had opportunities early and couldn't cash in and they cashed in numerous times in the middle innings.
Keene State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a RBI double down the left field line by senior Erik Bergstrom (Enfield, Conn.).
Freshman David Foote cracked a two-run triple to highlight a four-run fourth inning that put PSU up for good. Junior David Tammaro and sophomore Brendan Cosgrove also had RBI hits in the inning.
PSU pulled away with two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Junior Steve Beard and Tammaro knocked in runs in the fifth, Runnals drove one home in the sixth, and freshman Paul Reny and Runnals added RBIs in the seventh.
Bergstrom belted a solo home run, his third of the season to account for the Owls second run in the game.
The Panthers finished with 15 hits in the game. Beard had three hits while Foote, Reny, senior Ryan McIntosh and sophomore Spencer Webb collected two hits each.
Keene State used seven pitchers in the game. Senior Nick Winn (West Hartford, Conn., who evens his record at 2-2, got the start and took the loss for KSC. He pitched 3.2 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.
"Nothings a shoe-in in this conference," said Howe. "It's a grinding, grueling tournament and it's just a matter of who's going to survive. We're in survival mode now."