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Panther Softball takes two from New England College

            HENNIKER, N.H. - Plymouth State University used a strong combination of pitching and hitting Thursday afternoon en route to a sweep of a non-conference doubleheader at New England College, 12-0 and 4-1.

            The Panthers extended their winning streak to four games, improving to 9-11 overall, while the Pilgrims fell to 11-12.

            The Plymouth State bats banged out 12 runs on 18 hits in the opener to win the game in five-innings (eight-run mercy rule).  Senior Michelle Dubois (Auburn, Maine), sophomore Jenny Norton (Minot, Maine) and freshman Ashley Fleming (Farmington, Conn.) all collected three hits for PSU, with Norton smacking two doubles and driving in a pair.  Fleming and freshman Kristi Curry (Nottingham, N.H.) drove in three runs apiece.  Curry's two-run home run, the first of her career, highlighted a three-run first inning for the Panthers.  PSU put the game away with four runs in the fourth inning and five more in the fifth.

            Senior pitcher Kim Jeffs (Stoughton, Mass.) was terrific for PSU, allowing only three hits and striking out 14 (out of 15 outs) to post her third shutout of the season.  Jeffs also moved into second place on the all-time NCAA Division III strikeout list with 1,038 career whiffs.

            NEC senior Amy Girard (Essex, Mass.) had two hits off Jeffs in the opener, a second-inning single and a fourth-inning double.

            PSU needed all seven innings in the nightcap to earn the win.  Junior Jess Fortin (Chester, N.H./Pinkerton) put the visitors on the board with an RBI double in the third inning, and then came around to score on an NEC error.  PSU added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning when Curry doubled home a run and then scored on freshman Devin Caswell‘s (Wilton, N.H.) RBI single.

            That was enough for PSU junior pitcher Rose Eaton (Concord, N.H.), who allowed only one run on four hits while striking out eight to improve her record to 4-3.  Eaton was perfect through four innings before Girard led off the fifth inning with a solo home run.

            PSU returns home to host Western Connecticut this Saturday in a Little East Conference twinbill.  The games have been moved up an hour and will begin at 12 noon.

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