LEESBURG, FLA. 3/8/13 – The Keene State College baseball team began its Spring Week trip to Florida by splitting a pair of seven innings games against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) at Pat Thomas Stadium in Leesburg, Fla. on Friday afternoon.
The Owls (2-4) dropped the opener 3-1 before coming back to win the second game 6-5 in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
Struggling to get runners across the plate, Keene State erupted for five runs in the top of the sixth inning and held on for a 6-5 victory in the nightcap.
The Owls jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Senior Greg Bates (Salem, N.H.) led off with a walk and he came around on a single up the middle by junior Nick Vita (Spofford, N.H.). The Engineers tied in the game in the bottom of the inning.
WPI scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead.
In the sixth, Vita singled up the middle to drive in one run, freshman Cody Dube (Windham, Maine) had a two-run single and sophomore Ray Carmel (Waterford, N.Y.) came through with a two-out RBI single to plate another run, giving KSC a 6-3 lead.
The Engineers got two runs back in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-5. WPI loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but Dube came in and got junior David Trujillo (Sutton, Mass.) to ground out to Bates at first for the final out.
"We're battling. We put a nice crooked number up in the sixth inning and held on for dear life in the bottom of the seventh," said KSC Coach Ken Howe. "I can't say enough about our pitching. We just have to minimize our walks. We're putting guys on and their coming around to score."
Keene State finished the game with eight hits. Both Vita and Carmel went 2-3 in the game. Vita is hitting .385 in the Owls first six games.
Junior Dan Osorio (Manchester, N.H.) got the start for Keene State. He pitched four innings, allowing three runs on three hits with six strikeouts. Junior Shawn Egan (East Hartford, Conn.) and senior John Coughlin (Litchfield, N.H.) followed him to the mound. Egan (1-0) picked up the win. Dube got the final out to notch his first save of the season.
Keene State continued to have trouble scoring runs in the first game. After WPI went up 2-0 in the top of the third, KSC got its lone run in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore Tyler Estevez (East Hartford, Conn.) led off the inning with a single up the middle. He stole second and came home on a RBI double to left center by Vita.
The Engineers added another run in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by freshman Alex Venditti (Newton, Mass.).
Sophomore Tanner Chase (York, Maine) had two of the Owl's seven hits in the game. Chase along with Vita had doubles.
Senior Spencer Hutchinson (Broad Brook, Conn.) took the loss for KSC. He went the first four innings, giving up three runs on four hits with one strikeout and four walks. Freshman Dylan Collett (Altamont, N.Y.) was impressive in relief, tossing three innings of no-hit ball while fanning four batters.
Keene State plays a doubleheader against Roger Williams University on Saturday in Auburndale, Fla.