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April 29, 2003

Panthers blank ECSU in LEC Tourn.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Kim Jeffs (Stoughton, Mass.) tossed a four-hit shutout Tuesday afternoon at D&M Park, lifting third-seeded Plymouth State College past sixth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University, 2-0, in a quarterfinal game of the Little East Conference Softball Tournament.

With the victory, the Panthers improve to 24-6 overall and advance to the LEC double-elimination tournament this weekend at top-seeded Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. PSC will take on second-seeded Rhode Island College Friday at 2 p.m. in Game Two, following the opening game of the tournament at 12 noon between WCSU and fifth-seeded Keene State College.

Tuesday's game was a pitching duel between Jeffs and ECSU freshman Lindsay Savelle (Cheshire, Conn.). Through five innings, PSC managed only one hit off Savelle while Eastern could muster just two hits off Jeffs.

The Panthers plated the winning runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior Steph Marsland (Cumberland, R.I.) and junior Maria Curran (Scarborough, Maine) singled off Savelle to put two runners on with one out. Eastern got Curran out on a force play at second, but PSC's first run came home on a Warrior throwing error. Junior Michelle Knox (Gilmanton, N.H.) followed with an RBI single to give the Panthers a two-run cushion.

ECSU got a runner into scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but Jeffs closed the door each time. She finished with six strikeouts en route to her 10th shutout of the season, improving her record to 21-4 and lowering her ERA to 0.74. Jeffs leads the nation in Division III with 272 strikeouts.

PSC advances to the LEC Tournament for the second straight year. The Panthers won one game before being eliminated last season.

The 24 wins for PSC this season ties the school record set last spring, when the Panthers finished 24-13-2. Eastern Connecticut concludes its season at 17-17.