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Panthers clinch 2nd place with sweep of UMB

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State College wrapped up second place in the Little East Conference softball race Saturday afternoon at D & M Park, taking both ends of a doubleheader from the University of Massachusetts Boston, 6-0 and 4-1, in the regular season finale for both schools.

The sweep gives PSC a 10-4 Little East record and a 23-10-2 overall mark, the best in school history. UMB concludes its season at 4-26 overall and 0-14 in conference play. The Panthers clinch second place in the LEC, and earn a first-round bye in this week's LEC Tournament.

Freshman Kim Jeffs (Stoughton, Mass.) pitched both games for PSC, and was her usual self as she improved her record to 20-5. She allowed only three hits in the opener to record her school-record 13th shutout of the year, striking out 15. She gave up back-to-back doubles to start Game 2, but shut down the Beacons the rest of the way, fanning eight batters to improve her season total to 315 strikeouts in 187 innings.

Junior Adriene Harvey (Nantucket, Mass.) drove in three runs in the first game for PSC, two on a first-inning single and one on her sixth home run of the season in the third inning. The three RBI gives her a school-record 33 on the season, breaking the mark of 32 set in 1998 by Kerry Bickford.

Freshman Sara Madden (Londonderry, N.H.) also had an RBI double in the opener. Freshman Annie Metz (North Chelmsford, Mass.), sophomore Krissy Crego (Rochester, N.Y.) and junior Steph Marsland (Cumberland, R.I.) had run-scoring hits in the nightcap.

Junior Johanna Grullon and Kim Olson had the leadoff doubles for UMB in the nightcap to plate a run, but UMB couldn't touch Jeffs the rest of the way, producing only one more hit.

PSC will open play in the Little East double-elimination tournament Friday in Danbury, Conn., site of the regular season champion and top seed Western Connecticut State University. The Panthers' first-round opponent will be the winner of Tuesday's opening round contest between #6 Southern Maine and #3 Keene State. The LEC champion, which receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships, is scheduled to be crowned sometime Saturday afternoon.