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PSU Softball records first victory of season over Smith

           FORT MYERS, Fla. - Sophomore Devin Caswell (Wilton, N.H.) singled home freshman Heather Bartolo (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday to lift Plymouth State University's softball team to a 2-1 victory over Smith College in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.

            It was PSU's first win of the season after the Panthers dropped Thursday's first game to Buffalo State, 2-0, to suffer their seventh loss.  PSU has dropped several contests this week in the sixth inning or later, including the Buffalo State contest as the Bengals plated single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to pull out the win.  The Panthers then took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning against Smith, only to see the Pioneers tie it up in the top of the seventh before PSU won it in the last of the eighth.

            Tough-luck PSU senior pitcher Rose Eaton (Concord, N.H.) had another strong outing with nothing to show for it.  She took a shutout into the sixth inning against Buffalo State and finished with a complete-game effort, allowing only two runs and three hits while striking out six.  Junior Laurie Hutter Tonawanda, N.Y.) scored Smith's first run in the sixth inning on a fielder's choice, and sophomore Jordan Banach Cheektowaga, N.Y.) added an insurance marker in the seventh inning with a home run.  Sophomore Nicole Sabuda (Orchard Park, N.Y.) limited the Panthers to two hits for the shutout, singles by Bartolo and Leanne Barry (Auburn, N.H./Pinkerton).

            Caswell also sparked the second-inning PSU rally that led to its first run, one of her three hits in the game.  Her game-winning hit in the eighth inning made a winner out of freshman pitcher Lisa Illinger (Hanover, Conn.), who went the distance for the Panthers, allowing six hits and one run in eight innings and striking out two.

            PSU wraps up the week of competition on Friday in Fort Myers with games against Fredonia (N.Y.) and Middlebury. 

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