NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. - A ninth inning, six-run rally by the Newbury Nighthawks came up just shy on Thursday afternoon as the Plymouth State Panthers held off the Nighthawks with a 10-8 win in non-conference play at the New England Baseball Complex.
Panthers senior Geoff Kayo (Londonderry, N.H.) batted 2-for-2 with a double, a triple, and three RBIs. Senior Ryan Boldwin (Penacook, N.H.) went 2-for-3 with four runs scored. Senior Josh Goulet (Nashua, N.H.) finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored.
Nighthawks junior Dante Serino (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and sophomore Dylan Presby (China, Maine) both finished 2-for-4 with an RBI each. Presby added a triple and two runs scored. Sophomore Ronald Zabala (Peabody, Mass.) went 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.
The Panthers were scoring early thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles by Boldwin and Kayo to take a 2-0 lead after the top of the first.
Kayo struck again in the fourth with the Panthers leading 5-0. Kayo did his damage with a two-run triple to right-center field, increasing the Panther lead to 7-0. The Panthers would add one more in the fifth to lead 8-0.
Plymouth State was cruising along with solid pitching by junior Mark Levesque (Milton, N.H.) but Newbury managed to break up the shutout in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI triple down the right-field line by Presby. The triple paid off as Presby later scored on a throwing error, cutting the deficit to 8-2.
The Panthers would score what would become two major runs in the top of the ninth, as they led 10-2 with three outs remaining in the game.
Newbury's rally started with four walks and a hit batter to begin the inning to trail 10-4. Following a Serino sacrifice fly to make it 10-5, an RBI single by junior Brett Cabral (Plymouth, Mass.) and a two-run single by Zabala got the Nighthawks within two at 10-8.
But the Panthers late-game pitching kept calm and ended the game with a strikeout and fly out to center as Plymouth State held off the Newbury run.
Levesque pitched eight innings for the Panthers, allowing two runs, one earned on six hits with nine strikeouts. He improves to 1-2 this season. Nighthawks freshman Joe Persechino (Torrington, Conn.) gets the loss, pitching two innings.
Plymouth State improves to 11-15 with the win while the loss drops Newbury to 5-19.
The Nighthawks return to action on Saturday with a New England Collegiate Conference doubleheader at Dean College. The weather may play a role in the status of those games, but if the Nighthawks and Bulldogs do carry on, first pitch is set for noon.