WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Connor Walsh went 5-for-5 with two doubles and four runs batted in as the Keene State College baseball team pummeled Franklin & Marshall College 16-9 on Wednesday night at Chain of Lakes Stadium. The Diplomats rebounded for a 6-3 win in the second game.
- Keene State: 2-5
- Franklin & Marshall: 7-2
How It Happened - Game 1
The Owls put up four runs in the bottom of the first and scored in all six innings to cruise to a win in the opener. In addition to Walsh, who also scored four runs, Mac Struthers went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs batted in, a walk and three runs scored. Connor Longley chipped in a 3-for-3 effort with two RBI, while Tyler Gammie (2-3, RBI, 2 R, BB, SB) and Sam Czel (2-4, BB, 4 R) each had multiple hits. John Tarascio drove in three.
The first four KSC batters reached and the Owls were in command throughout, as they led 7-0 after two innings. Czel walked and stole second before Struthers took a free pass of his own, and consecutive run-scoring singles from Walsh and Gammie put Keene State on the board first. The lead extended to 4-0 after Tarascio's RBI groundout scored Walsh and Longley's fly to right scored Gammie. The Owls piled on in the next inning, as singles from David Sevigny and Struthers were cashed in on Walsh's two-run double that made it 6-0. Leading 8-2 after three, KSC did not slow down, as seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings combined all but put the game away. The uprising in the fourth featured an RBI triple from Tarascio and a run-scoring base hit from Longley. Struthers (double) and Ryan Linehan (single) each drove in a pair in the fifth inning as the Owls scored four more times to lead 15-2. Walsh drove in Czel with a double in the bottom of the sixth to cap his perfect day at the plate. Trailing 16-3, F&M set the final margin with six runs in the seventh.
Jake Morris (1-1) allowed just one earned run and struck out six over four innings of work to get the win. Diplomats starter Noah Jordan (0-1) allowed five runs in one inning.
How It Happened - Game 2
Franklin & Marshall broke a scoreless tie with a four-run fourth and hung on after that to salvage a split. Czel went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer to lead the offense in the nightcap, while Linehan went 2-for-3. Gammie and Sevigny both went 1-for-3. However, KSC was limited to just five hits.
Owls starter Greg Poggioli and Diplomats hurler Jonathan Pesantez (1-0) traded zeroes over the first three innings, with Poggioli striking out the side in the second to get out of a jam. KSC got their first baserunner on a miscue in the third, but wound up stranding a pair themselves in the frame, and did the same in the fourth after two walks to start things off went by the boards. F&M broke through in their half of the inning, as three singles loaded the bases with one down before Kyle Ebert cleared them with a single. An error later in the frame put the Diplomats up 4-0 after four. The Owls got on the board in the sixth when Struthers walked and Gammie singled to put two on. Tarascio bounced out to first to move the runners up, and Gammie eventually scored on a wild pitch. The Diplomats had a quick answer, scoring two insurance runs in their half of the inning. An RBI single from Will Samuel and an error on Connor Green's grounder made it 6-1. Shawn O'Donnell came in and struck out Kelsey Launi looking to strand the bases loaded and the Owls got a two-out, two-run homer from Czel in the seventh to trim the deficit to three, but could get no closer.
Poggioli fanned six in 3 2/3 innings, but allowed four runs (three earned) and was dealt the loss. Pesantez allowed just one hit and two walks over five innings to get the win.
Around the Horn
- KSC's 16 runs in the opener were the most they scored in a game since a wild 16-15 win over UMass-Dartmouth on May 2, 2014.
- Czel leads the team with three home runs and 10 runs batted in on the season.
- The Owls had never played Franklin & Marshall before.
- Keene State takes on Westminster College (Pa.) on Thursday, March 14 at 2:00 pm in Kissimmee, Fla.
- Franklin & Marshall has a day off before taking on No. 17 Keystone College on Friday, March 15 at 2:00 pm in Auburndale, Fla.