KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College softball team extended its winning streak to seven games Thursday afternoon with a Little East Conference sweep of rival Plymouth State University, 4-1 and 7-1, at Owl Athletic Complex.
KSC junior Ashlee Nicholson (Swanzey, N.H.) and senior Erin Fuoroli (Warwick, R.I.) held the Panthers at bay all afternoon. Nicholson limited Plymouth State to just four hits and a walk in the opener while striking out 13, one shy of her personal best, and improving her record to 11-0. Fuoroli scattered eight hits and two walks to pick up the win (11-4) in the nightcap, keeping PSU scoreless until the seventh inning and fanning nine.
The Owls, ranked second in New England, improve to 24-4 overall and 9-3 in Little East play. PSU suffered its sixth and seventh straight losses and dropped to 11-16 and 3-7.
KSC took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the opener on a sacrifice fly by Mo Scata (Medway, Mass.) and an RBI double by Allie D'Amato (Bristol, Conn.). KSC added one more run in the second on an RBI single by Jenna Patnode (Surry, N. H.) off the pitcher's glove, and another run in the third on Colleen Ferguson's team-leading fifth home run of the season.
The Panthers scored their only run in the fourth inning when sophomore Leanne Barry (Auburn, N.H./Pinkerton) singled and scored on a double by junior Danielle Normand (Rumford, R.I.).
Keene State took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third of the second game. Patnode had an RBI triple to right field and came home on Julia May's single up the middle. KSC broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Patnode had a sacrifice fly, and Jessica Starkey (Keene, N.H.), Katie Allenson (Clifton Park, N.Y.), and Conklin had RBI hits.
The Panthers broke the shutout bid in the seventh inning when junior Ashley Fleming (Farmington, Conn.), freshman Jenna George (Cumberland, R.I.) and Barry strung together three straight singles with one out and sophomore Michelle Kelly (Hill, N.H.) drew a bases-loaded walk. Fuoroli struck out the next two batters to end the threat and the game.
Plymouth State completes the regular season this weekend with a pair of LEC doubleheaders, Saturday at UMass-Boston (1:00 p.m.) and Sunday in the home finale against Western Connecticut (12:00 p.m.) Keene State travels to Southern Maine for an LEC twinbill on Saturday (1:00 p.m.)
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