KEENE, N.H. – Fitchburg State University took the lead in the fifth inning and added on from there, beating the Keene State College baseball team 9-4 on Tuesday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex.
- Keene State: 10-9
- Fitchburg State: 7-10-2
How It Happened
Abe Grainger led the Keene State offense, going 4-for-4 on the afternoon with two doubles and three runs batted in. Mac Struthers also had a multiple hit day, going 2-for-3 with a walk. He stole a base and scored two runs. Nate Rossi chipped in an RBI double. Fitchburg was led by Brennan Cuddahy and Sean Maki. Cuddahy cranked a double and a home run, going 3-for-4 with 4 runs batted in and a walk, while Maki was 2-for-5 and drove in three runs.
Fitchburg took the lead in the first inning off KSC starter Shawn O'Donnell. The Falcons got two walks to start the game and cashed in with Maki's two-run single to left with one out. After another walk, Joshua Macomber drove in another run for a 3-0 Fitchburg lead. The Falcons threatened for more, but left the bases loaded when KSC reliever Ryan Sliwinski got Andrew Currie to fly to center.
Keene State responded, picking up a pair of runs in the both second and fourth innings to take the lead. In the second, David Sevigny and Mac Struthers got the rally started with one out singles and were both driven home on the first of Grainger's four hits, trimming the Owls' deficit to 3-2. KSC threatened for more, getting a walk from Tom Meucci to put runners on first and second, but two strikeouts ended the frame. Sliwinski kept the Falcons off the scoreboard over the next two innings and Keene State took their first lead when Grainger and Rossi each connected on RBI doubles in the fourth that made it 4-3.
Fitchburg went back in front in the very next half inning, though, as Noah Milliard was hit by a pitch and came home on Cuddahy's two-out, two-run homer. Leading 5-4, the Falcons added on in the ensuing innings. Currie walked and stole second to start a two-out rally in the sixth and was driven home on Nicholas Cordeau's RBI single to right that made it 6-4. KSC threatened in the sixth, getting consecutive singles from Mac Struthers, Grainger and Meucci, but Devin Springfield bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. The Falcons tacked on another run in the next half inning, going up 7-4 on Cuddahy's double to deep center, and two more in the eighth to pull away. In that frame, FSU had the bases loaded and nobody out via a single and two walks. KSC reliever Tyler Fitzgerald induced a ground ball to third that cut down the runner at the plate and then struck out Milliard looking, but back-to-back run-scoring singles from Maki and Cuddahy with two down gave Fitchburg a 9-4 lead. Keene State made a late comeback attempt, loading the bases with two down in the eighth, but Rossi bounced into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Sliwinski (0-1) entered in relief of O'Donnell in the first and only allowed the Cuddahy home run while striking out four over 4.1 innings of work, but took the loss. Connor Johnson, Fitzgerald and Michael McDermott also saw time on the mound. Adam Somers (1-1) got two outs in the fourth and earned the win for Fitchburg. Austin Alzate followed him with three scoreless innings after FSU took the lead.
Around the Horn
- Grainger is 6-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI in the last two games, raising his overall batting average to .339. He also has driven in a team-leading 16 runs.
- Sliwinski has now struck out 12 over ten innings of work on the season. Today's 4.1 inning appearance was his longest of the season.
- It was the first meeting between these two teams since April 13, 2016.
- Keene State, in the midst of four straight home games, is scheduled to entertain Springfield College on Thursday, April 12 at 3:30 pm.
- Fitchburg State will travel to face another Little East opponent, visiting Rhode Island College on Friday, April 13 at 3:30 pm.