Panthers head to LEC Tournament as sixth seed
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Katie Corey earned a victory in the first game and a save in the second Sunday afternoon as the University of Massachusetts Boston swept a Little East Conference softball doubleheader from Plymouth State University, 8-2 and 7-5, in the regular season finale for both schools at D&M Park.
Corey scattered six hits and seven walks in the opener to pick up the complete-game victory, striking out seven to improve to 10-8 on the season. She came on in the sixth inning of the nightcap with one out and the tying run at the plate, got out of the jam and held the Panthers scoreless in the seventh inning to post her first save. The Beacons were also highlighted by freshman Toni Scola, who hit her first two home runs of the season, one in each game.
UMB concludes the regular season with a 23-13 overall record, establishing a program record for victories in a season (set last spring when they won 21 games). The Beacons also finish in fifth place in the LEC with a 7-7 mark, while Plymouth State wraps up the regular season with a 17-20 overall record, 4-10 mark in Little East games.
Both teams advance to this week’s LEC Tournament, which will be hosted by second-seeded Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. (Top-seeded Eastern Connecticut’s home field is currently under construction). PSU and the University of Southern Maine finished in a tie for sixth place but the Panthers earned the final spot in the tournament based on defeating the Huskies in both games this season. Sixth-seeded PSU will meet top-seeded Eastern Conn. in the first tournament game on Thursday at 12 noon, and fifth-seeded UMB will face second-seeded WestConn in the second game at 12:00 p.m.
The Beacons scored at least one run in each of the first four innings of the first game against PSU en route to a six-run lead. A Panther error led to an unearned run in the first inning; sophomore Sue Killilea highlighted a three-run rally in the second inning with a two-run single; and Scola’s lead-off home run in the fourth inning made it 6-0.
PSU scored its two runs in the fifth inning when two Panthers reached base on two-out walks and senior Kortney Nedeau (Kennebunk, Maine) smacked a two-run double to left center field. The Panthers loaded the bases in both the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t push any runs across, leaving 13 runners on base in the game. Freshman Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H.) reached base in all four plate appearances with two hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch, and classmate Jackie Digman (Burlington, Mass.) reached three times on two hits and a walk.
UMB added two insurance runs in the seventh inning on RBI singles by sophomores Taryn Asta and Kasey O’Connell. Senior Christina Polsonetti had three hits in the game for UMB, including two doubles, and Asta had three singles.
The visitors batted around in the top of the first inning of the nightcap, jumping on PSU for six runs, four of which were unearned. Freshman Natalia Bouyea had the big hit in the inning with a two-run double to right field, and junior Jaci Goodwin also contributed an RBI single. That and Scola’s third-inning home run would be all the offense the Beacons would need, while Bouyea finished with three hits.
PSU got on the board with two runs in the first inning as Hebert and freshman Taylor Mancini (Gansevoort, N.Y.) hit RBI singles, and Digman contributed an RBI hit in the second inning. The Panthers pulled to within two runs (7-5) with two more in the sixth inning as Digman and Nedeau knocked in runs, but PSU left runners in scoring position in the final two innings and had a runner thrown out at third to end the game.
Junior Heather Blase (Milford, N.H.) had three hits and scored three runs for PSU in the nightcap, and Mancini also had three hits. Digman and freshman Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H.) each collected two hits.
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