-Score: Clark University 7, Keene State 6
-Records: Clark: (23-10), Keene State (14-16)
-Location: Keene, N.H. (Owl Athletic Complex)
The Lead: The Clark University baseball team held off the Owls of Keene State College in a non-conference matchup to come away with a 7-6 victory on Thursday evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a rapidly-moving game early on as starters Shawn O'Donnell (Pepperell, Mass.) and Nick Guarino (New Haven, Conn.) traded zeroes. The Cougars struck first in the fourth inning as three consecutive hits produced two runs. Derek Lefebvre (Groton, Mass.) and Nick Jordan (Seaford, N.Y.) each had one out singles before Andrew Thibault (Nashua, N.H.) plated both with a double to center. Clark extended their lead to 3-0 in the next inning when Dylan Horn (Sterling, Conn.) led off with a double and scored when Kyle Bonicki (Waterbury, Conn.) 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 Tom Meucci (Newington, Conn.) tripled into the right center gap with one down. He scored on Devin Springfield's (Jaffrey, N.H.) 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. Abe Grainger (Bedford, Mass.) and Mac Struthers (Strafford, N.H.) 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 (Rocky Hill, Conn.) RBI groundout, trimming the Clark lead to 6-3. Now with two down, KSC got a single from Connor Longley (Foxboro, Mass.) and a walk from Tyler Gammie (Newington, Conn.) 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 (Fairfield, Conn.) 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 Nate Rossi (Hampstead, N.H.) 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 (Cambridge, Mass.) entered and got the final out of the eighth before tossing a 1-2-3 ninth.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-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.
-Jordan went 4-for-5 with a double and drove in two runs to lead Clark. Bonicki had three hits, including a double.
-O'Donnell (0-4) struck out five over 6.2 innings, but took the loss for KSC.
-Guarino (2-4) picked up the win for Clark and Downing earned his fifth save.
-Clark plays at Salve Regina on Saturday, April 28th at 1:00 p.m.