KEENE, N.H.--The Keene State College baseball team won its conference opening doubleheader for the first time in six years, sweeping Western Connecticut State University on Saturday at Owl Athletic Complex. The Owls took the opener 3-2 in 10 innings, followed by a 10-4 win in the nightcap.
- Keene State: 10-5, 2-0 LEC
- Western Conn. State: 8-8, 0-2 LEC
How it Happened - Game One
Andrew Houde (3-1) scattered seven hits over nine innings and Tyler Gammie hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning as the Owls squeaked out a win in the opener. Nate Rossi had three of the Owls nine hits in the game, while David Sevigny reached base all five times he went to the plate, going 2-for-2 and walking three times.
Connor Walsh, John Tarascio, Abe Grainger, and Gammie each had a single hit for Keene State. The Owls loaded the bases with one out in the second, going in front when Grainger dropped an RBI single to right that brought in Walsh. Tarascio would score on a wild pitch later in the inning for a 2-0 lead.
It remained 2-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when Bill Buscetto led off with a walk and moved to third on Brett Shaw's double to left-center. Zach Sagar floated a sacrifice fly to left to score Buscetto, and Clete LoRusso tied the game with an RBI single to center. Houde got out of the jam by getting Zach Piroh to fly out to right and inducing Kyle McLean to hit into a fielder's choice.
The Colonials could have won it in the bottom of the ninth when Matt Mancini singled with two out, but pinch-runner Dan Paglialunga was left stranded when Joe Daigle flew out to center. The Owls took the lead for good in the top of the 10th, as Sevigny drew a leadoff walk, took second on a wild pitch, and moved to third on Grainger's flyout to right. Gammie smacked a laser to short center field, where Shaw made a sliding catch, but the throw was not in time to get Sevigny, who scored on the play.
Tyler Fitzgerald came on in the top of the 10th, allowing a leadoff single to Stanly Rijo but struck out Shaw and got Sagar to fly out to Sevigny in center to end the game and pick up his first save of the season.
How it Happened - Game Two
The Owls had 17 hits off of four different WCSU pitchers in a 10-4 win. The Owls broke open a close game with four runs in the seventh and three in the ninth. Connor Longley was 4-for-5 with a double and scored three times, while Walsh had three hits, and Tarascio, Sevigny, Grainger, and Mac Struthers all had two.
Keene State grabbed a 2-0 lead in the game's opening inning, getting an RBI single from Walsh and a fielder's choice from the bat of Devin Springfield. Western Conn. State tied the game in the bottom of the second on an RBI single from Buscetto, followed by a bases loaded balk from KSC starter Isaac Keehn that leveled the score.
The teams traded runs in the fifth, as Longley roped a one-out double and scored on Walsh's single to center. The Owls should have been out of the bottom of the inning, but Mancini reached on a dropped third strike to load the bases with two out, and Greg Campbell followed with a walk to tie the score again.
KSC scored four times in the top of the seventh, greeting WCSU reliever Erik Nicholson (1-1) with three hits and two walks, including an RBI single to center by Springfield and another RBI single from Tarascio. Grainger followed with a deep double to left-center that made it 7-3. The Owls tacked on three more runs with a wild pitch, an RBI single by Struthers, and a sacrifice fly by Rossi in the top of the ninth. The Colonials got one run back in the ninth on a wild pitch that allowed Moe Ecchevaria to score.
Around the Horn
- Keene State had not won its first two conference games of the season since sweeping the Colonials, 13-7 and 13-0, on March 31, 2012. Ironically, those games were also moved to Keene from Danbury due to field conditions, and the first game in that twinbill also went 10 innings.
- With the win, Houde now has more victories in this season than in all of his freshman campaign. The nine innings represent a new career high.
- Walsh extended his hitting streak to 11 games and upped his batting average to .407.
- Keene State remains at home to face Western New England University on Wednesday, April 4, at 3:30 p.m.
- The Colonials travel to Manhattanville on April 3 for a 4 p.m. start.