KEENE, N.H. – A late comeback attempt came up short as the Keene State College baseball team fell 7-6 to Clark University on Thursday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex.
- Keene State: 14-16
- Clark: 23-10
How It Happened
Keene State scored six times in a three-inning span late in the game to draw within one run on two different occasions, but Clark held on for a one-run non-conference win. Tom Meucci led the Owls' offense, reaching base three times on the strength of two hits, one a triple, and a walk. He also drove in a run and scored. Mac Struthers doubled, scored a run and had an RBI, while Abe Grainger also had a two-bagger. Nick Jordan went 4-for-5 with a double and drove in two runs to lead Clark. Kyle Bonicki had three hits, including a double.
It was a rapidly-moving game early on as starters Shawn O'Donnell and Nick Guarino traded zeroes. The Owls could not cash in a two-out double in the first and Clark grounded into double plays in both the second and third innings to stifle rallies. The Cougars struck first in the fourth inning as three consecutive hits produced two runs. Derek Lefebvre and Nick Jordan each had one out singles before Andrew Thibault plated both with a double to center. Clark extended their lead to 3-0 in the next inning when Dylan Horn led off with a double and scored when Bonicki singled and the ball was misplayed in right.
Keene State, who had been quiet offensively all day, finally got a spark in the bottom of the sixth when Meucci tripled into the right center gap with one down. He scored on Devin Springfield's ensuing sacrifice fly to center, cutting the deficit to 3-1. Clark immediately responded with what proved to be a critical three-run inning. The Cougars loaded the bases with two down on a single and two walks (one intentional) before KSC took out O'Donnell. Lefebvre then took ball four to force in a run before Jordan clubbed a two-run double that put Clark up 6-1.
The Owls didn't go away, however, scoring four times in their half of the seventh. Grainger and Struthers started the rally with back-to-back doubles that drew KSC within four. Struthers moved up to third on a wild pitch and scored on David Sevigny's RBI groundout, trimming the Clark lead to 6-3. Now with two down, KSC got a single from Connor Longley and a walk from Tyler Gammie to bring the tying run to the plate. Meucci stayed hot, as his single up the middle scored Longley and, later in the inning, a passed ball brought home Gammie as KSC drew within 6-5.
The Cougars manufactured a run in the eighth to go back up two, as Chris Radovic was drilled to start the frame, moved up to second on a wild pitch and took third on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on Horn's fly ball to left. Keene State once again made it a one-run game (7-6) when Rossi singled to start their half of that inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch, but the Owls could not plate the tying run, as Teddy Downing entered and got the final out of the eighth before tossing a 1-2-3 ninth.
O'Donnell (0-4) struck out five over 6.2 innings, but took the loss for KSC. Bobby Baril, Michael McDermott, and Connor Johnson also saw time out of the pen, with Johnson striking out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. Guarino (2-4) picked up the win for Clark and Downing earned his fifth save.
Around the Horn
- It was the second matchup of the season between these two teams. Keene State won 8-3 on February 27 in Massachusetts. They now have split four all-time meetings.
- The 6.2 inning outing for O'Donnell was his longest of the season.
- Meucci now has five two-hit games on the season, having most recently accomplished that on April 18 at Western New England.
- Keene State is scheduled to host Framingham State tomorrow, April 27, at 3:30 pm.
- Clark will play their second consecutive Little East opponent tomorrow, as they will host Rhode Island College at 3:00 pm.