PROVIDENCE, R.I.--Another strong start for Michael Crimi gave the Keene State College baseball team a split of a Little East Conference doubleheader with Rhode Island College. The Owls claimed the win in the opener, 11-1, before falling to the Anchormen 9-8 in 12 innings in the day's second contest.
- Keene State: 8-9, 1-1 LEC
- Rhode Island College: 11-6, 1-1 LEC
How it Happened - Game One
Every KSC starter had at least one hit, including a 3-for-4 game from John Tarascio. Connor Longley, Connor Walsh, Devin Springfield, and Zach Rollins each had two hits. Walsh finished with three RBI, while Springfield and Tom Meucci knocked in two runs each.
The KSC offense was more than enough for Crimi, who struck out seven in seven innings, allowing four hits and one unearned run to improve to 3-0. Keene State took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Nate Rossi reached on a dropped fly by RIC shortstop Rommy Morel, and moved to third on a wild pitch and a single from Longley. Walsh's double to left-center brought Rossi around, and Christian Bourgea lofted a sacrifice fly to center to bring in Longley.
Rhode Island College broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fourth when Austin Barry walked, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Mike Webb.
Longley drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to center in the fifth. Two more came around in the sixth thanks to an RIC error and an RBI single from Springfield. The Owls continued to pour it on, scoring six times in the seventh for an 11-1 lead. Walsh singled in a pair of runs, and Meucci tripled home two more. Crimi slammed the door shut, retiring the final 10 batters of the game, including setting the Anchormen down in order to end the game via mercy rule.
How it Happened - Game Two
Keene State scored six times in the eighth to force extra innings, but Rhode Island College got the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 12th inning to claim the win.
Zach Rollins was 3-for-6 with four RBI, while Longley, Walsh, and Springfield each had two more hits.
The Owls again grabbed the first run of the game when Springfield walked, stole second, and came around on Rollins' single to left. Rhode Island College went in front in the bottom of the third inning with a 2-run double from Austin Barry. The Anchormen added to the lead in the sixth, with a RBI singles from Mike Webb and Morel, as well as taking advantage of another KSC error to make it 5-1.
Mac Struthers reached on an error to open the seventh, and eventually scored on a single to center from Connor Walsh, but the Anchorman made it 7-2 when Shaun Vigeant launched a two-run homer to right in the bottom of the inning. Morel added another RBI single later in the frame to make it 8-2.
The Owls put together a rally in the top of the eighth inning; Springfield and Meucci singled to set the table for Rollins, who clubbed his first career home run over the fence in left center for a three run shot that made it 8-5. Webb moved from third base to the mound, but began by walking Struthers, and an error allowed Nate Rossi to reach. Walsh stroked a single to left to bring home Sruthers, and another RIC error allowed Connor Longley to score. Springfield beat out an infield hit to shortstop that allowed pinch runner Sam Czel to come home, tying the score at eight.
Rollins singled and stole second to open the ninth, but was left stranded. RIC's Frank Pettinato singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Coppinger got Webb to ground into a 1-6-3 double-play to send the game to extra innings.
KSC's best chance in the extra frames came in the 11th, when Meucci drew a one-out walk and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, but Rollins flew out to right and Struthers popped up to short to leave him stuck on second. Coppinger again worked out of trouble in the bottom of the 11th, getting Webb to fly out to center with the winning run on third, but the Anchormen won the game in the 12th when Morel hit a lead-off single and scored on Nate Donovan's double to right.
Coppinger (0-2) took the loss, going 4.1 innings out of the bullpen. Andrew Houde started and went the first 5.1 innings, striking out five. Michael McDermott, Steven Zadravec, and Noah Rizio all saw time in relief as well for the Owls.
Around the Horn
- It was the sixth extra inning game of the year for the Owls, and the second straight year that the Owls have gone to extra innings with the Anchormen. Keene State beat RIC 2-1 in 11 innings on April 16, 2016.
- Rollins is now 7-for-12 with five RBI in his last three games.
- Walsh extended his hitting streak to six games, including four multi-hit games in that stretch.
- Crimi now has 36 strikeouts in his five appearances thus far this season, after recording 46 in all of 2016. It was the senior's third career complete game.
- Keene State heads out of conference play with a non-conference date at Amherst College on Monday afternoon at 4 p.m.
- The Anchormen head to Elms College on April 5 at 3:30.