Keene State Sneaks by Baseball in Little East Tournament Opener

GORHAM, Maine – An RBI fielder's choice by Peter Burgio in the bottom of the seventh would be the deciding factor as the Owls of Keene State College (30-11) slipped by baseball (18-21-1) by the final of 6-5 Wednesday afternoon at USM Baseball Stadium in game two of the 2012 Little East Conference baseball tournament hosted by the University of Southern Maine.

With the loss the fifth seeded Beacons will play in the elimination game tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. against the top-seeded Huskies of Southern Maine.  Southern Maine was upset in game one of the tournament by Plymouth State University (3-2).

During the regular season UMass defeated Southern Maine by the finals of 6-5 (April 10) and 7-5 (April 17) to sweep the regular season series with the Huskies. 

In Wednesday's match-up the two teams saw solid pitching performances from both of their aces.  For the Beacons Daniel Heefner (Tracy, Calif.) went seven complete innings and allowed eight hits, with only two of those stretched for extra bases.

Keene State's Jeff Pelkey went 6.1 innings and allowed the five runs on nine hits.  Charles LaPaglia (Marshfield, Mass.) went deep against Pelkey in the top half of the seventh, a one run shot, which cut Keene State's lead down to two (6-4).  The Beacons would then get their final run in the eighth on an RBI single by Matt Consiglio (Southbury, Conn) which scored Ty Buccetti (Wallingford, Conn.) and moved the tying run to third with only one out on the scoreboard.  Keene managed to get out of the inning when they turned a double-play and ultimately securing the victory.

On the day, Buccetti went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, while Jamill Moquette (Boston, Mass.) finished with 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and a double.  LaPaglia's homer in the seventh marked the only hit of the day for the freshman outfielder. 

Chuck Vogt led the Owls with his 2-for-4 afternoon, which included a double, two runs batted in and a run scored.  Burgio's game clinching run in the seventh scored Kyle Morrill, unearned.  Erik Bergstrom had the only other extra-base hit for the Owls, a triple in the first which scored one of Keene's two runs to make it 2-1 after one complete. 

After the first, the Beacons regained the lead in the third on Moquette's two-run double to left field which scored both Buccetti and Mark McCormack (Shelton, Conn.).

Last season, UMass and Southern Maine faced-off on the first day of the 2011 Little East Tournament, with the Huskies pulling out the victory by the final of 9-4.  The Beacons need to win tomorrow to stay alive in the tournament.  If they do win they will play on Friday against the loser of game six.  For all the up-to-date scores and highlights from the Little East tournament go to http://www.littleeast.com/sports/tourney/2011-2012-tourney-central.