Plymouth State stays alive in LEC Softball Tournament

            WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Sixth-seeded Plymouth State University stayed alive in the Little East Conference softball tournament Thursday night, overcoming a 5-1 deficit and pulling out an 8-6 victory over fifth-seeded University of Southern Maine at Eastern Connecticut State University's Spector Field.

            The Panthers (25-13), who dropped the opening game of the tournament earlier in the day against top-seeded Eastern Conn., play again Friday at 5:00 p.m., against a team to be determined.  There are tournament games at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. , the results of which will determine PSU's opponent. USM, which split the regular season series with Plymouth State, ends its season at 16-21 overall.

            PSU got 13 hits from the top five batters in the order, including at least two from all five hitters.  Sophomore Kay LaBrie (Somersworth, N.H.) led the way, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored, and junior Leanne Barry (Auburn, N.H.) was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. 

Freshmen Kortney Nedeau (Kennebunk, Maine) and Melissa Caiazzo (Portland, Maine) and senior Danielle Normand (Rumford, R.I.) all collected two hits apiece.

            Plymouth State jumped on top in the second inning on doubles by Caiazzo and sophomore Sammi Romano (Kingston, N.H.)  USM exploded for five runs in the bottom half of the inning on five hits and a walk.  After loading the bases with no outs, juniors Meghan Ford (Mechanic Falls, Maine) and Sabrina Mills (Westford, Mass.) delivered RBI singles, sophomore India Lowe (Gloucester, Mass.) added an RBI ground out, a run came home on a wild pitch, and junior Anita Dixon (Limington, Mass.) followed with a run-scoring single to put USM up, 5-1.

            The Panthers chipped away at the deficit, answering with three runs in the top of the third.  Normand drove in a run with a double, and two runners scored on USM errors.  Another Husky miscue in the fourth inning allowed two runs to score to give PSU the lead, 6-5. Plymouth State extended the margin to 8-5 with solo runs in the fifth and sixth innings, the latter on an RBI double by freshman Laura Kaplan (Franklin, N.H.).

            USM managed one more run in the bottom of the sixth on a Plymouth State error, but that's as close as the Huskies could get.  PSU sophomore Kat Roland (Norton, Mass.), who pitched six innings in Friday's loss to Eastern Connecticut, came back to earn the win over USM, allowing only one unearned run and four hits in five and one-third innings of relief, striking out three. 

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