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   Thomson has five hits, seven RBI in opener; hosts can't rally in Game 2

thomson_jersey_300_0277.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior outfielder Chris Thomson WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpg(Montville) went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and seven RBI to lead the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team to a 13-2 first-game victory over Plymouth State University and an eventual split of a Little East Conference doubleheader Sunday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At left: Chris Thomson

In the second game, Plymouth (5-18, 1-6 little east) built a 5-0 lead and held on for a 5-4 win over Eastern (19-7, 5-3 little east) to end a 19-game losing sreak at the hands of the Warriors. The first game was stopped due to the ten-run rule.

Thomson, a second-year transfer, had a leadoff double in the third inning of the first game, tripled in three runs with two out in the fourth that gave the Warriors the lead for good (3-2), reached on an infield single to shortstop in the sixth, doubled home two runs in a five-run seventh and singled in two runs in a four-run eighth. His hit total was one shy of the Eastern single-game record and  RBI total three shy of the single-game RBI mark. Thomson also singled in his final at-bat in the second game to extend his hitting streak to 11. He improved his season batting average to .500 (33-for-66) after the first game.

Junior righty Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) pitched at least seven innings for the third straight start in the opener, winning his third (straight) decision. He did not allow an earned run over seven innings, giving up four hits while fanning three and walking two.

Schult also scored three runs and drove in two runs with two doubles to back his strong pitching in the opener. Senior All-America infielder Melvin Castillo (Danbury) also had two hits, three runs and two RBI in the first win which extended the Warriors' winning streak to five.

In the second game, senior lefties Mike Tingley (Rockville) and Wes Dutton (Waterbury) combined on 5 1/3 innings of scoreless, three-hit relief with eight strikeouts and no walks (Dutton also picked off two runners), but Eastern ran itself out of two potentially big innings with baserunning blunders as the Panthers defeated Eastern for the first time in nine years.

Sophomore first baseman Matt Cappiello and junior shortstop Grant Livingston both drove in two runs for Plymouth in the nightcap with two-run singles to power the Panthers to a 5-0 lead after three innings. In the fourth, Eastern scored twice on a hit and two walks, then added two more runs in the fifth on an infield ground out by Thomson and an RBI double by junior outfielder Shane Kingsley (Beacons Falls). The Warriors had a baserunner ruled out in the fourth for missing first on an apparent RBI  triple, then had a baserunner hung up and tagged out at third on an apparent game-tying single by junior outfielder Andrew Dyer (Topsfield, MA).

Junior lefty Bryant Lausberg was credited with the second-game win in relief of junior lefty starter John Andersch. Lausberg took over for Lausberg with a 2-2 count on Castillo in the two-run Eastern fifth. He was charged with both runs in the fifth but faced only 15 batters over the final four innings, allowing three hits and a walk.

Eastern hosts Suffolk University Monday at 3 p.m.