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Second-place Panthers split with USM

GORHAM, Maine - Plymouth State College and the University of Southern Maine split a Little East Conference softball doubleheader Tuesday at Towers Field, with PSC winning the opener 4-1 and USM taking the nightcap, 7-0.

The split allows the Panthers to hold on to second place in the LEC with an 8-4 conference record, while the Huskies are now in third place at 7-5 in conference play (24-12-1 overall). The verdict also gives PSC a 20-10-1 overall record, matching the school record for wins in a season; the 1994 team finished 20-16.

PSC won the opener behind the four-hit, one-run pitching of freshman Kim Jeffs (Stoughton, Mass.). She surrendered an unearned run in the first inning, but shut down the Huskies the rest of the way, striking out 11 to improve her record to 17-4.

The Panthers got the tying run in the fifth inning and added two more in the sixth and an insurance marker in the seventh. Freshman Michelle Dubois (Auburn, Maine) singled in the fifth inning and came around to score on a USM error. Junior Adriene Harvey (Nantucket, Mass.) doubled home a run in the sixth and came home on an RBI single by freshman Anna Godard (Florence, Mass.), and freshman Annie Metz (North Chelmsford, Mass.) contributed an RBI double in the seventh.

Jeffs suffered her toughest outing of the season in the nightcap, allowing eight hits and seven runs (four earned) to take the loss and drop to 17-5. She gave up more than two earned runs in a game for the first time in 25 appearances this spring, and she walked four batters in the nightcap after walking only four in her first 153 innings. Jeffs struck out six batters in the nightcap, increasing her total to 280, which leads the nation in NCAA Division III.

The Panthers managed only three hits off two Husky pitchers in the second game, a pair of singles by Metz and a seventh inning single by freshman Sara Madden (Londonderry, N.H.).

PSC has two more doubleheaders left in the regular season - Thursday in a non-conference twinbill at Southern New Hampshire (3:30 p.m.) and Saturday in the regular season finale at home against UMass Boston (1:00 p.m.). The Panther can clinch second place in the LEC, and a first-round bye in next week's LEC Tournament, with a pair of wins over the Beacons (4-21, 0-10 LEC).