WORCESTER, Mass. - The Keene State College baseball team used a pair of triples in two big innings to help erase a 5-0 deficit and wound up defeating Rhode Island College 10-7 in the second game of a rescheduled conference doubleheader Friday afternoon at Clark University's Granger Field. The Anchormen got a dominant outing from Mike Webb on the mound to take the opener 7-2.
- Keene State: 9-17, 3-7 LEC
- Rhode Island College: 22-10, 7-4 LEC
How It Happened - Game One
Rhode Island College scored a pair of runs early and those stood up behind Webb's eight-plus inning effort, as he did not allow a run until reliever Jake Rockefeller allowed an inherited runner to score on John Tarascio's two-run homer in the ninth. KSC was limited to just five hits, which included Tarascio's two-run homer and a walk, and Tom Meucci's 2-for-3 effort. Both hits were doubles and he also walked. Sam Czel and Michael Montembeault both singled, but that was the extent of the Owls' offense in the opener.
Meucci walked to lead off the game, but was immediately erased on a double play, and Rhode Island College took a 2-0 lead in the first after Tyler Walsh's single scored Joseph Coro and Sam Franco's fielder's choice grounder plated Ryan Rotondo. That is the way it stayed for a while, as Webb and KSC hurler Shawn O'Donnell traded zeroes over the next four full innings. The Owls were not without opportunities, as Meucci doubled with two down in the third and was stranded before a walk and a single in the fourth, also with two outs, resulted in no runs. The Anchormen managed just two baserunners, neither of whom advanced past first in that span, but the makeshift home team pulled away with three runs and four hits in the sixth. Franco made it 4-0 with a two-run triple and Charlie Amarante added another with an RBI base hit to right. Keene State never threatened after that, not scoring until Tarascio's blast to left that trimmed the deficit to 7-2 with one out in the ninth.
O'Donnell (3-3) pitched the first six innings and took the loss before being relieved by Isaac Keehn. Webb improved to 5-0 after striking out eight in eight innings.
How It Happened - Game Two
The second game started out much the same as the first, with the Anchormen sprinting out to a 3-0 lead before the first inning was over, but KSC got two huge triples to help score nine consecutive runs after falling behind by five after four. Mac Struthers got the Owls back in the game with a bases-clearing triple, finishing 2-for-5 with three runs batted in and two runs scored. Connor Walsh also had a three-bagger and a double in a 2-for-4 effort that saw him drive in two to put Keene State ahead for the first time, score twice, and also walk. Connor Longley and Tarascio added multiple hit nights.
After KSC went down 1-2-3 in the first, Coro's leadoff home run in the bottom half put Rhode Island College ahead 1-0 right away. The Anchormen later extended the lead to three with two more in the frame, and eventually took a 5-0 advantage after singles from Josh Silva and Coro in the fourth. Keene State came back with a vengeance in the top of the fifth after being stymied by RIC starter Erry Baldayac over the first four innings. Tarascio's infield single to third started the rally, and a walk to Tyler Gammie and David Sevigny's single into left loaded the bases with one out. A free pass to Montembeault got the Owls on the board, and later in the inning, Struthers' big swing with two outs helped bring the Owls within 5-4. He tied the game after scoring on a wild pitch following Walsh's walk.
Even at five, KSC reliever Ryan Sliwinski continued his strong relief effort, keeping the score right there until the Owls surged ahead after batting around in the seventh, scoring four times with two outs. That uprising began with a pair of walks to Sevigny and Montembeault by RIC reliever Rotondo. Walsh made the free passes hurt, tripling over the head of Silva in center as Keene State went in front 7-5. Longley followed with a ringing single to left to extend the lead further, and the inning did not end until walks to Czel and Tyler Gammie made it 9-5.
Rhode Island College threatened in the eighth, loading the bases with nobody out, but closer Connor Johnson limited the damage to just two runs on a pair of groundouts as KSC maintained a 9-7 advantage through eight. Walsh came through again to kick off the ninth, doubling down the left field line, and Tarascio later scored him with a sacrifice fly for an insurance run. Down three, the Anchormen did fill the bases once more in the ninth on a pair of walks and a single, but could not score as Tyler Walsh struck out swinging representing the tying run and Franco popped to right representing the winning as Johnson picked up his sixth save.
Sliwinski (1-2) picked up the win after pitching 6 1/3 innings of relief after entering in the first inning. Rotondo did not record an out and fell to 1-1.
Around the Horn
- Tarascio hit his first home run of the season in the opener and is now hitting a team-high .321 on the season.
- The two teams have split their last four doubleheaders in a row.
- Keene State is currently in seventh place in the LEC, one and a half games behind the sixth and final playoff spot that is currently held by Castleton University (5-6). The Owls and Spartans play Tuesday in Vermont.
- Rhode Island College played as the home team in both games, as the DH was originally scheduled for Saturday in Providence but was moved up due to weather.
- Keene State has the weekend off before traveling to Amherst College on Monday, April 22 for a 4:00 pm start.
- Rhode Island College goes to Bridgewater State University on Tuesday, April 23 at 3:00 pm.