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George’s no-hitter leads PSU Softball to sweep of Castleton

(Game 1 Box) (Game 2 Box

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Jenna George (Cumberland, R.I.) tossed a six-inning no-hitter Friday afternoon to lead the Plymouth State University softball team to an 8-0 victory over Castleton State College in the first game of a non-conference softball doubleheader at D&M Park.

            The four Panther seniors, playing their final home game on Senior Day, led the team to a 5-1 victory in the nightcap and a sweep of the twinbill.  Pitcher Courtney MacFarland (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton) recorded the victory with a complete-game five-hitter, allowing just one run and striking out nine batters; Leanne Barry (Auburn, N.H./Pinkerton) and Michelle Kelly (Hill, N.H./Franklin) had two hits apiece, and Heather Bartolo (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) hit a two-run home run, the first of her 119-game career.

            The two-game sweep gives the Panthers a 20-13 overall record heading into the final games of the regular season, while Castleton is now 13-13.

            George (right), who was also playing in her final home game because she will graduate in the fall after three-and-a-half years, allowed only two Spartans reach base in the opener, both on PSU errors.  She did not walk a batter and struck out three, improving her record to 7-5.  George also played centerfield in the nightcap and went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

            The Panthers slowly pulled away from the Spartans in the opener.  Freshman Heather Blase (Milford, N.H.) singled home a run in the first inning, and sophomores Andrea Pydynkowski (Danvers, Mass.) and Melissa Caiazzo (Portland, Maine) added RBI singles to highlight a three-run third inning.  Freshman Jen Skilton (Bedford, N.H./West) knocked in another run for PSU in the fifth inning, and Caiazzo's second double of the game in the sixth inning knocked in two and ended the game on the mercy rule.

            After four scoreless innings of the nightcap, the Spartans got on the board in the top of the fifth after a pair of singles by freshman Shannon Jipner (Bristol, Vt.) and sophomore Tosha Whittemore (Bridgeport, Vt.) and an infield groundout by sophomore Sarah Flore (Springfield, Vt.)

            PSU came right back with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Pydynkowski singled home a run, junior Sammi Romano (Kingston, N.H.) brought home two more with a double to left, and Bartolo followed with a two-run homer.  That was plenty for MacFarland, who shut down the Spartans the rest of the way to improve her record to 11-6.

            PSU wraps up the regular season Saturday at 2:30 p.m. with a Little East Conference doubleheader at UMass Boston.  Castleton continues its weekend road trip, moving on to Maine to face Thomas College on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and UMaine Farmington Sunday at 12 noon. 

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