Panthers Ground Cardinals For Ninth-Straight Victory

Gray Goolsby had a pair of hits in Wednesday's victory.
Gray Goolsby had a pair of hits in Wednesday's victory.

Middlebury scored nine runs in the first three innings, as the Panthers extended their winning streak to nine games with a 12-7 road win Wednesday at Plattsburgh State. Middlebury (15-13) finishes the regular season this weekend with three-game NESCAC West series with Amherst, starting with a doubleheader Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on Forbes Field

Middlebury jumped out to a big lead early, scoring five times in the top of the first inning. Sam Graf made 1-0 with a double to center field to bring home Hayden Smith, who reached base after being hit by a pitch. Gray Goolsby added two runs to the advantage with a single to left field, bringing home Graf and Brooks Carroll. Goolsby made it a four-run difference, racing home on a wild pitch, while Henry Strmecki capped the big inning with an RBI single to right field.

The Cardinals (10-24) got two of the runs back in their half of the inning, as James Hartunian produced a two-out two-run double to center field.

The Panthers got one of those runs back in the second, as Carroll scored from first base on a triple to left by Graf to make it a 6-2 contest. Middlebury produced three more runs an inning later, as Ryan Hanrahan scored on a wild pitch and Smith plated two more with a double to left-center field for a 9-2 lead.

The Cardinals cut the margin to 9-4 runs in the bottom half of the third, but that score held until the sixth when the Panthers tallied once. Graf touched home plate on a sacrifice fly to right field by Hanrahan.

Plattsburgh State made a late push with three runs in the seventh, starting with an RBI fielder's choice by Keller Kowalowski. Stephen Bryant made it a 10-7 score, driving in two more Cardinals with a base hit to left field.

The Panthers closed out the scoring with single runs in the eighth and ninth innings, making it a 12-7 final. Jake Dianno delivered a two-out pinch-hit single to right field to plate Carroll, before Smith drove in Han in the ninth.

Will Oppenheim (2-1) earned the win on the mound for Middlebury, allowing one hit with five strikeouts over 3.2 innings. Jack Miller struck out all four batters he faced, over the final 1.1 innings to notch his first collegiate save. As a team, the Panthers finished with 14 hits, as Han, Graf, Smith and Goolsby each had two, with Smith driving in a team-high three runs.

Bryant led the hosts, going 3-6 with a run scored and two RBI. Jon Craft (0-1) suffered the loss for the hosts, allowing five runs on six hits in only one inning of work.