MESA Ariz. – The Keene State College baseball team swept a doubleheader, 10-6 and 9-2, against Simpson (Iowa) College at Gene Autry Field in Mesa, Arizona and presented their coach a milestone victory on Sunday.
The first game victory was Keene State Coach Ken Howe’s 400th career win. “I knew coming into the season that I was two wins shy of the mark, and so did the players and my coaching staff,” said Howe, who has a career mark of 400-408-8 in his 24th season. “They were really rooting for me to get it today.”
“A lot of it has to do with longevity, because there were many losses along the way, but I couldn’t have done it without the many great players and assistant coaches I’ve been able to work with over the years.”
It didn’t take KSC players long to get Coach Howe, a Keene naive, his milestone win.
After tying the game 1-1 on an RBI single by junior Vinny Ganz (Waterbury, Conn.) in the second, the Owls erupted for eight runs in the third inning.
Senior Anthony Cipolla (Glastonbury, Conn.) and Jesse Cahill (Cranston, R.I.), sophomore Cody Callahan (Seekonk, Mass.), junior Bobby Doyon (Keene, N.H.) and Ganz each had RBI hits in the uprising. The inning featured a double steal and a great slide by junior Peter Burgio (Bolton, Conn.) to avoid a tag at home plate.
Cahill and Doyon led the KSC 12-hit parade with three hits each. Doyon and Callahan each had two RBIs.
Making his first start for the Owls, Kyle Davis (Rochester, N.H.), a junior transfer from UMass-Lowell, picked up the win on the mound. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits with four walks.
Keene State bats banged out 15 hits more hits and freshman Eric Perrault (Salem, N.H.) tossed five innings of one hit ball with 10 strikeouts in the second game victory.
The Owls jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on two-run double by sophomore Erik Bergstrom (Enfield, Conn.) and a two-run single from sophomore Larry Longo (Londonderry, N.H.).
KSC added single runs in the second and third on RBI hits from Cipolla and senior Keith Patnode (Keene, N.H.) to go up 6-0. In the fifth, Ganz had a two-out triple and sophomore Kyle Morrill (Auburn, Maine) followed with a RBI single to make it 7-1.
Doyon hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot, in the sixth. Six Owls had at least two hits in the game. Cipolla led the way with three hits.
Perrault was making his first appearance on the mound after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last season. “It felt good to get back on the mound,” said Perrault, who fanned the side in the second and third innings. “I worked really hard throughout the off-season to get this opportunity.”
Keene State (3-1) plays a key in region game against Western New
England on Monday.