New Hampshire Hardball

Keene State tops PSU

RINDGE – Senior Josh Goulet (Nashua, N.H.) had two hits to extend his on-base streak to 15 straight games, but Keene State College topped Plymouth State University, 10-3, in the Little East Conference (LEC) opener for the Panthers Tuesday night at Pappas Field on the campus of Franklin Pierce University.

            Keene scored twice in the bottom of the first and the score remained the same until PSU cut the margin in half with a run in the fifth. The Owls answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame and tacked on a single run in the seventh to extend the lead to 6-1. Plymouth State got one back in the eighth, but KSC broke the game open with a grand slam in the bottom half. The Panthers tried to rally in the ninth as the first two batters reached base, but Keene got out of the jam to hold on for a 10-3 win.

            Plymouth State wrapped up a stretch of six games in four days, dropping to 7-8 overall and 0-1 in the LEC. Keene improved to 5-9 and 1-2 in league action.

            How it Happened:

  • The Owls took advantage of a PSU miscue in the first to plate two runs. Senior Dylan Gaita (Melrose, Mass.) struck out the first two batters, but the second reached as the ball got away from the catcher. KSC followed with a double, sacrifice fly and RBI single to score two unearned runs for a 2-0 lead.
  • Gaita faced the minimum over the next three innings, but the PSU offense couldn’t get anything going.
  • Junior Andrew Salta (Laconia, N.H.) started a Panthers’ rally in the fifth, drawing a leadoff walk and promptly stealing second base. Senior Chris Mansour (Lowell, Mass.) followed with a run-scoring double to make it a 2-1 game.
  • Keene loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom half. Gaita got a strikeout and fly ball, but the lead runner tagged to make it 3-1, and two batters later a PSU error led to two more unearned runs.
  • Junior Sam Czel (Newtown, Conn.) manufactured a run for the Owls in the bottom of the seventh, reaching on a bunt single, stealing second, advancing to third on a ground out and coming home on a wild pitch, pushing the Keene advantage to 6-1.
  • Junior James Salta (Laconia, N.H.) opened the eighth with a walk and one batter later he came around to score on a single from senior Ryan Richard (Berlin, N.H.) to make it 6-2.
  • Freshman Derek Walker (Littleton, N.H.) relieved Gaita in the bottom of the inning and struck out the leadoff hitter, but lost the strike zone as the next two batters walked. Junior Alex Larson (Brunswick, Maine) came on and surrendered a single to load the bases, but struck out the next hitter to nearly work out of the jam. Czel followed with a grand slam to left, however, to break the game open.
  • Senior Geoff Kayo (Londonderry, N.H.) and Andrew Salta both singled to start the ninth. The next two batters grounded into fielder’s choices, allowing Kayo to score, and the Owls got the final out on a fly ball to center.

            Inside the Numbers:

  • Goulet was on base three times (single, double, walk) and has reached safely in all 15 games this season.
  • Richard (single), Kayo (single), A. Salta (single) and Mansour (double) also had hits for the Panthers.
  • Sophomore Joe Routhier (Nashua, N.H.) picked up his 14th RBI of the year, tied for second most on the team behind Goulet’s 19, with his ninth inning ground out.
  • Gaita allowed just two earned over his seven full innings of work while striking out six, but dropped to 1-1.

            Up Next:

  • The Panthers continue league play on Saturday (Mar. 30) with a trip to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Games are set for 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Keene is also in LEC action on Saturday (Mar. 30) as the Owls host Eastern Connecticut State University for a double header.

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