WALTHAM, Mass. - Plymouth State University rebounded from a 4-1 loss to second-seeded Keene State College Saturday afternoon with a 5-0 victory over fourth-seeded Western New England College in an elimination game in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Softball Tournament, hosted by top-seeded Brandeis University at Marcus Field.
The sixth-seeded Panthers, 24-17, advance to another elimination game on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. against Brandeis after the Judges, 27-16, were defeated by Keene State in Saturday's late game, 6-3. The winner of Sunday's PSU/Brandeis game will have to defeat Keene State twice on Sunday to claim the title. WNEC, which eliminated Plymouth State from last year's ECAC tournament with a 1-0, nine-inning victory, completes its season at 30-16.
PSU's victory over WNEC Saturday also marked career win #100 for Panther head coach Bruce Addison. Now in his sixth season, Addison has a career record of 100-111.
It took until the sixth inning of the first game for PSU to get its first hit against Keene State freshman Courtney Savoie (Stratham, N.H.). Freshman Heather Blase (Milford, N.H.) broke up the no-hit bid with a two-out pinch-hit single to left, and sophomore Melissa Caiazzo (Portland, Maine/Deering) followed with an infield hit, but Savoie retired the next batter to end the Panther threat.
Senior Katie Allenson (Clifton Park, N.Y.) led the KSC offense with three hits and three runs scored. She doubled in the second inning and scored KSC's first run on a single up the middle by freshman Haley Chandler (Wakefield, Mass.); she cracked her team-leading sixth home run of the season in the fourth inning; and she started a two-run rally in the sixth with a lead-off single. Junior Staphanie Lavado (Wallingford, Conn.) finished off the rally with a two-run single to give KSC a 4-0 lead.
The Panthers broke up the shutout in the seventh inning when sophomore Kortney Nedeau (Kennebunk, Maine) hit her fifth home run of the season to right field. Senior Courtney MacFarland (Hampstead, N.H.) started for PSU and pitched into the sixth inning but suffered the loss and fell to 13-9.
PSU freshman Ali Keith (Northfield, N.H./Winnisquam) scattered seven hits against WNEC to record her second shutout of the season in PSU's second game of the day. She did not walk or strike out a batter and had only one 1-2-3 inning in the complete-game effort, but got out of several jams to improve her record to 3-2. WNEC had two runners on base in four different innings but couldn't push a run across.
The Panthers got on the board in the first inning when freshman Allie Luisi (North Kingstown, R.I.) led off with a double and eventually came home on a sacrifice fly by Nedeau. Blase doubled with one out in the third inning and scored on a single to center by Caiazzo, and Luisi put the game away with a three-run home run to center field in the fourth inning, her second round-tripper of the year.
PSU is seeking its first ECAC Championship since capturing the 2003 title. The Panthers upset third-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine) in Wednesday's first round game.
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