FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Plymouth State University softball team used the reliable combination of strong pitching and error-free defense Sunday afternoon to capture its first two games of the season at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.
The Panthers defeated Saint Lawrence University in the opening game, 6-1, and came back with a 5-0 triumph over Western New England College in the second contest. Keys to the wins were the pitching efforts by junior Jenna George (Cumberland, R.I.) and senior Courtney MacFarland (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton). The two wins were the first of 10 games PSU will play this week on the Spring Break trip.
George held Saint Lawrence scoreless the first five innings of the first game before surrendering a run in the sixth. George worked into the seventh inning before MacFarland came on with the bases loaded and got the final out on a strikeout to earn the save.
PSU got all the runs it would need in the second inning with a pair of sacrifice flies by seniors Rachel Pothier (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) and Heather Bartolo (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton). Pothier added a two-run single in the third inning to make it 4-0, and freshman Allie Luisi (North Kingstown, R.I.) and sophomore Andrea Pydynkowski (Danvers, Mass.) provided insurance runs with RBI hits in the fourth inning.
MacFarland earned the complete-game shutout victory in the nightcap, blanking WNEC on six hits and two walks while striking out eight. It was the fifth career shutout for MacFarland. It was also a little sweet revenge for PSU to defeat WNEC and pitcher Laura Bower (Hudson, Mass.), who knocked the Panthers out of the ECAC Tournament last season with a 1-0, nine-inning decision.
After three scoreless innings, PSU got on the board in the fourth on doubles by Luisi and freshman Jen Skilton (Bedford, N.H./Manchester West). Sophomore Kortney Nedeau (Kennebunk, Maine) contributed a single that scored two runs in the fifth inning to make it 3-0, and PSU tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning on RBI hits by Luisi and Pydynkowski.
The Panthers are back on the diamond Monday with two more games, facing Centenary (N.J.) at 1:00 p.m. and Lasell College at 3:00 p.m.
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