DANBURY, Conn. - Plymouth State College is still alive in the Little East Conference Softball Tournament after splitting its first two games Friday in the double-elimination affair, hosted by top-seeded Western Connecticut State University.
The second-seeded Panthers were upset in their first game by sixth-seeded University of Southern Maine, 4-1. PSC came back in the following game with a 3-0 shutout over fifth-seeded Rhode Island College, guaranteeing the Panthers at least one more game on Saturday.
PSC, 24-11-2 overall, will take the field Saturday at 12 noon, facing Southern Maine in an elimination contest. USM suffered its first loss in the tournament to WCSU in Friday's late game, 6-0. RIC is knocked out with a 23-12 record.
The Panthers fell behind 3-0 in the first inning against Southern Maine and never recovered. The Huskies plated the three runs on just one hit and one Panther error, and added an insurance run in the seventh inning.
PSC's only run came in the last of the seventh, when junior Adriene Harvey (Nantucket, Mass.) cracked her LEC-leading seventh home run of the season. Harvey also tied the PSC record for home runs in a season, matching the mark set by Sara Wormwood in 1999.
Freshman Melissa Henderson picked up the win for USM to improve to 14-6, as she allowed only two hits while striking out eight. PSC freshman sensation Kim Jeffs (Stoughton, Mass.) took the loss (20-6) despite giving up only three hits and a walk while fanning 14.
Jeffs came back to post the victory with her 14th shutout of the season in the next game, blanking RIC for the third time this spring. She gave up only two hits while striking out 11, improving her season totals to an NCAA Division III-leading 341 strikeouts in 201.1 innings.
The Panthers plated their first run against RIC in the fourth inning when Harvey hit her school-record-tying 12th double of the season (equaling the previous marks by Kristen Hodsdon in 1994 and Jen Arrajj in 1997). Pinch runner Jess Rousselle (Deerfield, N.H.) then came around to score on a double by freshman Sara Madden (Londonderry, N.H.).
PSC added two insurance runs in the sixth inning when freshman Annie Metz (North Chelmsford, Mass.) and Madden singled, and both came home on a two-run single by freshman Michelle Dubois (Auburn, Maine).