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Panthers swept by Southern Maine

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The University of Southern Maine pounded out 26 hits and scored 19 runs Tuesday afternoon, sweeping a Little East Conference softball doubleheader from Plymouth State College at D & M Park, 10-2 and 9-2.

The victories kept USM alive for a share of the LEC regular season title as the Huskies improved to 17-9 overall and 8-2 in the conference. PSC, which swept Castleton State on Monday, drops to 6-20 overall and 2-10 in the LEC.

The Huskies scored at least one run in all six innings of the opener, including three in both the first and fifth frames. Freshman Darci Holland (Buckfield, Maine) had a two-run single in the first inning for USM, and sophomore Sarah McLean (Portsmouth, R.I.) added a two-run triple in the fifth. Holland, sophomore Jessie Becher (South Paris, Maine) and freshman Larisa Sobey (Pittsfield, Maine) each recorded two hits for the Huskies in the opener.

Senior Erica Gagnon (Oakland, Maine) went the distance for USM to register the victory, limiting the Panthers to four hits and improving her record to 9-5. PSC got its only runs on a second-inning USM error and a fifth inning groundout that followed hits by senior Steph Ruel (Biddeford, Maine) and freshman Kristen Balles (Bedford, N.H.).

PSC took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap, as freshman Mo Cancellieri (Stoughton, Mass.) singled and scored on a double by classmate Michelle Knox (Gilmanton, N.H.). The lead lasted until the Huskies plated three runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and three more in the sixth. The Panthers got their other run in the fifth on a triple by senior Abby Russell (Newfane, Vt.) and an infield groundout by Cancellieri.

For the Huskies, senior Becky Manson (Limington, Maine), sophomore Renee Heath (Brunswick, Maine) and freshman Sunshine Anders (Richmond, Maine) all had three hits and an RBI in the nightcap. Heath recorded a double and a triple and Manson had a double.

Becher pitched the complete-game for USM in the nightcap, improving her record to 8-4.

PSC plays its final home games Thursday (Apr. 26) with a non-conference twinbill against New Hampshire College (3:30 p.m.). USM has LEC doubleheaders at home Saturday (Apr. 28) against Keene State (1 p.m.) and Sunday (Apr. 29) vs. conference leading Western Connecticut (1 p.m.).