KEENE, N.H. – The Keene State College baseball team got eight strong innings from Andrew Houde and provided him with some early run support as the Owls defeated Plymouth State University 8-4 on Monday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex.
- Keene State: 14-14, 4-5 LEC
- Plymouth State: 10-14, 3-6 LEC
How It Happened
Mac Struthers led KSC's offense by doubling twice in a 4-for-5 day. He also drove in a run and scored twice. David Sevigny went 2-for-5 with a double, RBI and run scored, while John Tarascio and Connor Walsh each drove in two runs. Devin Springfield had a hit and drew three walks out of the leadoff spot. Plymouth State got five hits from five different people, including a double from Jimmy Zimolka. Joe Routhier drove in two.
Neither team cracked the scoreboard over the first two and a half innings, as Houde held Plymouth without a hit and the Owls snuffed out threats by bouncing into double plays in each of the first two innings. That changed in the bottom of the third, as KSC erupted for five runs. The rally started with one down when Tom Meucci was hit by a pitch and Springfield worked a walk. Both moved up on a wild pitch by Plymouth starter Mark Phinney (0-3) before scoring on Connor Walsh's two-out, two-run single to left. The Owls weren't done there, though, as Abe Grainger walked and Struthers followed with a run-scoring double down the left field line. Tarascio put an exclamation point on the inning, as he drove in two with a line drive single to left that made it 5-0.
The Panthers got their first hit in the fourth when Josh Goulet singled, but nothing else came of that inning and KSC tacked on another run in their half of the same inning when Nate Rossi scored Connor Longley with a single to right.
The teams mostly exchanged runs from there, as Plymouth got on the board in the fifth with Routhier's RBI base hit to right, only to see KSC respond in their half of that same inning with Sevigny's RBI double to right that made it 7-1.
PSU hung around, getting single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to trim their deficit to four. In the sixth, Zimolka led off with a double to center and came around to score after Geoff Kayo advanced him with a ground out and Ryan Richard hit a sacrifice fly to center. The Owls had a chance to respond in their half of that same inning, loading the bases with one out, but a fielder's choice cut down a run at home and a groundout ended the threat. The Panthers put three on in the seventh with nobody out, but had to settle for just one run on a sacrifice fly by Routhier that made it 7-3. The Owls answered that run with one of their own, as Christian Bourgea's fly ball was deep enough to score Sevigny for an 8-3 advantage.
Plymouth once again had the bases full with nobody out in the eighth, but just as they did in the seventh, scored only once. After two walks and a single started the inning, Houde struck out Nate Frederick and got James Salta to bounce into a run-scoring fielder's choice for the second out. Ben Curry's comebacker to the mound ended the frame and kept KSC on top 8-4.
The Owls left the bases loaded in the eighth, but it did not prove costly as Connor Johnson relieved Houde and worked around a pair of walks for a scoreless ninth, striking out one and preserving KSC's victory.
Houde (4-2) pitched eight innings and earned the win, scattering five hits while striking out four. Phinney lasted 3.1 innings for Plymouth and took the loss.
Around the Horn
- Struthers now has two four-hit games this year and ten multi-hit performances overall. He is hitting .326 on the season.
- Keene State currently has four different players with an on-base percentage of over .400. Springfield's leads the team at .444, while Struthers (.430), Grainger (.412) and Rossi (.407) also have reached over 40 percent of the time among qualifiers (minimum of 30 at bats).
- Houde's fourth victory ties him with Brandon Heath for the most on the team this season.
- These same two teams will battle again tomorrow, April 24, in Plymouth at 3:30 pm. KSC is currently fifth in the Little East Conference standings, one game ahead of the Panthers. The top six will qualify for the conference tournament that begins on Wednesday, May 9.