PLYMOUTH, N.H. - It was Senior Day at D&M Park for the Plymouth State University softball team, but it was a pair of freshmen that led the Panthers to a sweep of the University of Massachusetts Boston, 10-1 and 5-0, Saturday afternoon in a Little East Conference doubleheader.
Freshman Kristen Abbott (Londonderry, N.H.) hit a walk-off home run for PSU in the bottom of the fifth inning of the opener as PSU pulled ahead 10-1, ending the game on the mercy rule. Classmate Courtney MacFarland (Hampstead, N.H.) scattered seven hits in the nightcap, earning her second straight shutout victory for the Panthers.
The Panthers have now won four straight to improve to 8-23 overall and 3-9 in LEC play, while UMB completes its season at 12-25-1 overall and 0-14 in the conference. PSU wraps up regular season play Sunday with a make-up doubleheader at Eastern Connecticut (2:00 p.m.) The Panthers need a sweep of the Warriors to qualify for next week's LEC Tournament.
PSU scored seven runs in the first two innings of the opener before Abbott's homer, the first of her career, ended the game. Abbott reached base all in all three plate appearances for PSU with two hits and a walk. Senior Jess Fortin (Chester, N.H./Pinkerton) went 1-for-2 with an RBI, and classmate Rose Eaton (Concord, N.H.) picked up the victory in the circle, allowing just two hits and one unearned run.
UMB scored its only run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Katherine Wall (Arlington, Mass.)
MacFarland surrendered seven hits and a walk en route to her second shutout in the nightcap, lowering her earned run average to a team-leading 2.13. PSU scored all five runs in the first three innings and played error-free defense the rest of the way in support of MacFarland.
Freshman Leanne Barry (Auburn, N.H./Pinkerton) finished the second game with two hits and two runs scored for the winners, while freshman Rachel Pothier (Reading, Mass.) also had two hits, including a two-run single.
Freshman Brittainy Knight (Buxton, Maine) and junior Andrea Ciarletta (Watertown, Mass.) collected two hits apiece for UMB in the nightcap, but the Beacons couldn't push a run across the plate.
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