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Panther split pair with USM

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - After four postponements, the Plymouth State College softball team finally played its first home games of the season Thursday afternoon at D&M Park, splitting a Little East Conference doubleheader with the University of Southern Maine.

The Panthers won the opener 3-2 behind the pitching of sophomore Kim Jeffs (Stoughton, Mass.), who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning but had to hold on for the complete-game victory. The Huskies came back to take the nightcap 2-0, as freshman Katie Mainville (Coopers Mills, Maine) tossed a four-hit shutout, her third whitewash of the season.

The outcome leaves PSC at 19-6 overall and 5-5 in the Little East, while USM is now 22-10 overall and 8-4 in conference play. The LEC regular season concludes this weekend.

PSC took a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the opener when senior Adriene Harvey (Nantucket, Mass.) doubled and came around to score on a double by junior Kristin Balles (Manchester, N.H.). The Panthers added two more in the fifth when sophomore Anna Godard (Florence, Mass.) walked and junior Maria Curran (Scarborough, Maine) cracked a two-run homer, her first career round-tripper.

Jeffs, meanwhile, kept the Huskies hitless until the sixth when junior Emily Forbes (North Berwick, Maine) smacked a one-out double. She advanced a base on an infield out, but was picked off third by Harvey, the Panther catcher, to end the inning.

The Huskies got on the board in the seventh when junior Angela Cote (Windham, Maine) singled and senior Renee Heath (Brunswick, Maine) followed with a two-run homer. Sophomore Kristen Tong (Swanzey, N.H.) doubled to put the tying run in scoring position, but Jeffs struck out the final Husky batter to preserve the win. Jeffs, who fanned the first seven Huskies she faced, finished the game with 14 strikeouts.

Mainville limited the Panthers to four singles in the nightcap, while striking out five and improving her record to 10-3. The Huskies got one run in the third inning on an RBI triple by Heath, and added an unearned insurance run in the sixth on an RBI single by freshman Caterina Riitano (Sangerville, Maine).

Jeffs went the distance for PSC again in the nightcap, but took the loss to drop to 16-4.

PSC wraps up the regular season this weekend with two LEC twinbills - Saturday at UMass Boston (1 p.m.) and Sunday at home against defending LEC champion Western Connecticut (12 p.m.). Southern Maine returns home to host Keene State Saturday at 1 p.m.