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Eastern Conn. sweeps PSU Softball

Warriors need late rally to down Panthers 

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Molly Rathbun (Hebron, Conn.) capped a three-run, seventh-inning rally with a two-out, two-run home run to left center field Saturday afternoon to help Eastern Connecticut State University earn a Little East Conference softball doubleheader sweep over Plymouth State University in the home opener at D&M Park.  Eastern took the first game 8-0 in five innings before pulling out the nightcap, 5-3.

            In addition to her hitting heroics, Rathbun shut down the Panthers from the rubber to pick up the win in both games, improving to 10-0 on the season with a 0.61 earned run average.  A First Team All-America in 2010, Rathbun pitched a five-inning shutout in the first game, allowing only one hit and two walks while striking out nine.  She earned the win in relief in the second game, pitching the final five innings and giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out nine.

            Eastern, which is ranked #2 in New England and #16 in Division III, improves to 17-3 overall and 6-0 in the Little East, while PSU had its four-game winning streak stopped and fell to 11-12 overall and 1-5 in conference play.

            PSU’s only hit off Rathbun in the first game was a one-out single in the fourth inning by junior Heather Blase (Milford, N.H.).  The Warriors put the game away early with two runs in the first inning and a five-spot in the second.  Naturally, Rathbun led the way, going 3-for-3 with three runs batted in.

            After Eastern took a 1-0 in the third inning of the nightcap, PSU rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning.  The Panthers loaded the bases with no outs on a walk by freshman Taylor Mancini (Gansevoort, N.Y.) and singles by sophomore Jenn Bove (Medford, Mass.) and junior Allie Luisi (North Kingstown, R.I.)  Blase and senior Kortney Nedeau (Kennebunk, Maine) delivered RBI hits and a third run scored on an Eastern throwing error.

            Eastern got one run back in the fourth inning on a PSU error and rallied with three runs in the seventh inning to win it.  Freshman Stephanie Johnson (Plantsville, Conn.) doubled to center with one out, and junior Priscilla Alicea (Stratford, Conn.) delivered a game-tying RBI single to center with two outs.  Rathbun followed with the game-winning homer and then shut down the Panthers in the bottom of the seventh.

            PSU continues its 10-game home stand on Monday with a non-conference doubleheader against Lyndon State College (3:30 p.m.)  Eastern Conn. returns home to host UMass Dartmouth in a Little East twinbill Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. 

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