PSU Softball earns LEC split with UMass Dartmouth

Panthers pull out nightcap in bottom of seventh

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Allie Luisi delivered a two-run single to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning of the nightcap Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University edged the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 6-5, to earn a split of the Little East Conference softball doubleheader at D&M Park.

            The visiting Corsairs took the first game, 3-2 in eight innings, scoring the winning run on an RBI double by senior Kaitlin Hogan after PSU had rallied to tie the game with a run in the bottom of the seventh.  The split gives PSU a 10-14 overall record and a 2-4 mark in LEC games, while UMD is now 8-16 overall and 3-3 in conference play.

            PSU took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning of the opener on a solo home run to left center field by sophomore Sam Hebert, her fourth of the season.  The Corsairs answered in the top of the fifth as senior Hannah Rounds cracked the first of her two home runs on the day to left field.

            The Panthers loaded the bases with no outs and the top of the order coming up in the bottom of the fifth but couldn't push the go-ahead runner across , and UMD pulled ahead in the top of the sixth on a one-out, bases-loaded RBI single by freshman Sam Gregoire.

            Down to their last out in the bottom of the seventh, the Panthers rallied to tie the game as junior Jenn Bove tripled over the center fielder's head, and sophomore Bekah Jackson lined an RBI single off the second baseman's glove.

            UMD scored the game-winning run in the eighth when freshman Becky Williams  doubled to left with one out and Hogan drove her in with a double to right center.

            Senior Brittany Eldridge recorded the win for UMD, allowing just two runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts to improve to 6-3.  Sophomore Nora Galvin suffered the loss for PSU.

            After the teams traded unearned runs in the first inning of the nightcap, UMD took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on an RBI double by freshman Olivia Kenyon. PSU came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third on back-to-back RBI singles by sophomore Jackie Digman and Hebert.

            Sophomore Emily Pontes doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly for UMD in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 3-3, but PSU regained the advantage in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double by Luisi.  UMD would not quit, and took a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth on a two-run home run by Rounds, her second of the day and season.

            The Panthers pulled out the win in the bottom of the seventh as Jackson led off with a triple to left center field, Bove reached on a bunt single and stole second, and Luisi singled down the left field line to bring home both runners for the victory.

            Jackson finished with three hits in the nightcap for PSU, ending up a home run shy of hitting for the cycle, and Bove and Luisi had two hits each.  Pontes and Eldridge had two hits each for UMD.  Galvin earned the win in relief for PSU, evening her record at 6-6, while Eldridge took the loss for the Corsairs (6-4).

            The Panthers are back in action Sunday with a non-conference doubleheader at New England College, while UMD plays its next six games at home, beginning Monday vs. Salve Regina University.

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