RINDGE, N.H. - The Keene State College baseball team made their 2019 "home" debut a happy one, as they rode five innings of one-run ball from Greg Poggioli and a grand slam from Sam Czel to a comfortable 10-3 victory over Plymouth State University in Little East action Tuesday afternoon at Pappas Field on the campus of Franklin Pierce University.
- Keene State: 5-9, 1-2 LEC
- Plymouth State: 7-8, 0-1 LEC
How It Happened
Poggioli (1-2) earned his first career win for KSC on the back of five innings where he allowed just one run and three hits on 74 pitches. He walked one and struck out five, and helped the Owls maintain the lead throughout after they scored twice in the bottom of the first. Czel capped a 2-for-5 day where he came on late, hitting a grand slam in his final at bat. David Sevigny went 2-for-4, while Connor Walsh, John Tarascio and Ryan Linehan all doubled. KSC limited Plymouth's offense to six hits, two from Josh Goulet.
After Poggioli pitched a scoreless first, the Owls went out in front in the bottom half, as Walsh's one-out double put two in scoring position. A sacrifice fly to center from Connor Longley and a single up the middle from Tyler Gammie followed, making it 2-0 after one. That was the only scoring for a while, as both Poggioli and PSU starter Dylan Gaita traded zeroes over the next three full innings. The only baserunners in that span came when Chris Mansour was hit by a pitch with two outs in the second and Goulet hit a one-out single to right in the fourth. The Panthers got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. Andrew Salta started the frame with a walk, stole second, and scored on Mansour's RBI double. Now leading 2-1, Poggioli retired three of the next four batters to avoid further trouble, and the Owls hit back immediately with three runs of their own.
Linehan started the fifth inning rally by doubling to center, and was followed by Sevigny's infield single and Meucci getting plunked as KSC loaded the bases with nobody out. Mac Struthers cashed in one run with a sac fly, and the Owls plated two more after Longley's fly ball down the left field line was dropped by Salta. Jake Morris was called to duty in the top of the sixth, and picked up where Poggioli left off, as he faced the minimum in the sixth and struck out the side in the seventh to maintain a 5-1 lead. The teams exchanged runs in the bottom half of that frame and the top of the eighth, as Czel scored on a wild pitch for Keene State before Ryan Richards' single brought Plymouth within 6-2. KSC blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth against two PSU relievers. A pair of free passes to Tarascio and Linehan mounted a threat with one out, and Sevigny followed with a deep single to right to load the bases. With two down, Czel all but iced the game with a grand slam to left, as KSC went up 10-2. The Panthers set the final margin with a run and two hits in the ninth.
Gaita (1-1) allowed six hits and six runs (two earned) over seven innings and was dealt the loss. He walked one and fanned six.
Around the Horn
- Czel now has a team-best five home runs and 18 RBI on the season. He is the first Owl to have at least five home runs in a season since both Bobby Doyon (10) and Larry Longo (5) did it in 2011. Keene State's last grand slam came off the bat of Devin Springfield in last year's 9-5 win at New England College on April 20.
- Poggioli lowered his season ERA to 3.77 and he now has 15 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings.
- KSC has won two of the last three against Plymouth and is 38-24 all-time against the Panthers.
- Today's game will go into the books as a Keene State home game, and is the first game the Owls have played in the state of New Hampshire this season.
- Plymouth State had been averaging 8.9 runs per game entering the contest.
- Keene State stays in conference and will host a doubleheader at Owl Athletic Complex on Saturday, March 30 against Eastern Connecticut State University. First pitch is at 12:00 pm.
- Plymouth State visits UMass Dartmouth for two on the same day and time.