PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18

PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18

No. 9 – Miller's no-hitter leads softball team to LEC Tournament win

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – As Panther Nation gears up for the start of the 2018-19 season, we've decided to look back at the impressive 2017-18 year in Plymouth State Athletics. Over the next few weeks we will reflect on some of the most exciting performances of last season while counting down the Top Ten Moments of 2017-18.

 

            No. 9: Miller's no-hitter leads softball team to LEC Tournament win

            The Plymouth State softball team took the Little East Conference by storm in 2018, earning the program's first outright regular season title while claiming the top seed and home field advantage for the entirety of the LEC Tournament.

            Sophomore sensation Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) dazzled in the circle as one of the most dominating pitchers in the country, compiling a 13-6 record with five saves while pitching to a miniscule 1.62 ERA and striking out 94 batters (5.25/game) through the regular season.

            On May 3, PSU opened the Little East Tournament with a match-up against sixth-seeded UMass Boston. The Beacons had rallied in the 2017 tournament, topping Plymouth State twice on the final day to claim their first Little East Championship, and they would prove to be a thorn in the side of the Panthers once again. UMB scratched a single run across in the second inning, the only run of the game, to pull off the upset and put Plymouth State in the loser's bracket.

            That afternoon Miller responded in typical fashion in PSU's first elimination game, throwing a full seven innings while giving up just five hits in a 4-0 win over Eastern Connecticut State to send the Warriors home.

            Plymouth State came back less than 24 hours later to face UMass Dartmouth in another elimination game with a spot in the semifinals at stake. What followed was one of the most dominating performances at D&M Park in recent history.

            At the onset, the game began like any other. Miller was in control from the get go, retiring the side in order in the first on a pair of fly outs and an easy comebacker. PSU threatened in the second but was unable to score. The Corsairs first baserunner came with one out in the bottom half of the inning courtesy of a Panther fielding error, but Miller worked around it with a strikeout and infield popup.

            Plymouth jumped in front with a pair of runs in the third and Miller went back to work, retiring the side on three groundballs. In the fourth, UMD got its second baserunner when an errant Miller pitch grazed the batter, but back-to-back groundballs to third base ended the threat.

            PSU tacked on two more runs in the fifth and with Miller dealing the lead must have seemed insurmountable for the Corsairs. The southpaw breezed through the bottom of the inning without allowing a ball out of the infield. In the press box the official scorer tapped the scorebook, pointing out the UMD line while being careful not to verbalize what everyone was already thinking.

            The Panthers threatened again in the sixth, loading the bases with one out, but UMD escaped the jam and Miller jogged back to the circle for the bottom half of the frame. In an attempt to spark a rally, UMass Dartmouth sent a pinch hitter to the plate but the result was a harmless pop up to second. An easy ground ball to first base was out number two, and Miller overpowered the next batter to record her second strikeout of the afternoon.

            While many in the crowd were aware of what was happening as Miller toed the rubber in the bottom of the seventh, the stoic look on the pitcher's face was no different from that of any other game. The gravity of the moment certainly didn't seem to be weighing on her.

            Just three outs left …

            The first batter lofted a lazy fly ball to center. Two outs to go.

            Miller lost the strike zone and walked the next batter on four pitches. The first signs of stress? Fatigue setting in? Doubtful.

            The next batter attempted to reach with a bunt but was unable to get the ball on the ground. The resulting soft liner found the mitt of first baseman Mel Goss (Templeton, Mass.), who promptly stepped on the bag for the double play.

            The team mobbed Miller at the circle as the crowd erupted in celebration. The sophomore had needed just 63 pitches, an average of nine per inning, to carve through the UMD lineup and record her first career no-hitter; all in an elimination game of the LEC Tournament, no less.

            The Panthers would go on to knock off Western Connecticut the following day, advancing to the championship game for the second straight year before stumbling to UMass Boston, but Miller's mastery left hope in Panther Nation that PSU will be back with a vengeance next spring.

           

            PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18

            No. 8 – Coming Aug. 6

            No. 9 – Miller's no-hitter leads softball team to LEC Tournament win

            No. 10 – Panther Park renamed Parish Field

 

– 30 –