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PSU Softball splits LEC pair with RIC

Sixth-inning rally lifts Panthers in opener

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University and Rhode Island College split a key Little East Conference softball doubleheader Saturday afternoon, the host Panthers winning the opener, 7-6, and the visiting Anchorwomen taking the nightcap, 8-2, on Senior Day at D&M Park.

            PSU took a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the opener but had to rally from a 6-5 deficit with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.  Both teams scored twice in the first inning of the nightcap, but the visitors pulled away with one run in the third inning and four more in the fifth.  PSU completes the regular season at 20-18 overall and 7-7 in Little East action, while RIC heads into Sunday's doubleheader against Keene State College at 18-15 overall and 9-3 in the LEC.  RIC and KSC enter Sunday tied for second in the conference.

            Plymouth State awaits Sunday's results to learn it s seed in next week's LEC Tournament.  The tourney will be hosted by regular season champion Eastern Connecticut State University, beginning Thursday at noon.

            PSU jumped on top in the opener with a four-run first inning, as the first six batters reached base on five hits and a walk.  Senior Allie Luisi and sophomore Jackie Digman delivered RBI singles and freshman Cynthia Barata capped the rally with a two-run single.

            RIC started its comeback in the fourth inning with two runs, thanks for RBI singles by juniors Emily Johnson and Jessica Borden.  After PSU got one back in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Luisi, sophomore Stacy Pokora cracked a two-run homer for RIC to cut the PSU lead to 5-4.  The Anchorwomen pulled ahead in the top of the sixth on a two-run home run by freshman Katelyn Sykora, her first career blast.

            The Panthers regained the lead in the last of the sixth as junior Calli DeGrace tied the game with a one-out solo home run, and a based-loaded walk to sophomore Sam Hebert proved to be the difference. Junior Ali Keith retired the side in the seventh to pick up the win for PSU.

            A pair of first-inning RBI's by Pokora and freshman Justina Thoma gave the Anchorwomen an early lead in the nightcap, only to see the Panthers match it in the bottom of the first on a two-run double by Hebert.  That ended up as the extent of the Panther offense in the second game.

            RIC took the lead for good  on a solo home run by Pokora in the third inning, and added four more in the fifth on a two-run double by Johnson and a two-run single by Thomas.  Junior Kristina Gingell rounded out the scoring with an RBI double in the seventh.

            Pokora finished the day 6-for-7 for RIC with two home runs and four runs batted in, including a 4-for-4 performance in the opener.                       

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