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April 2, 2013

DeGrace and Jackson lead PSU Softball past Lesley

Panthers sweep Lynx to extend winning streak to eight

            CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Calli DeGrace (Plymouth, N.H.) and junior Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) hit key home runs Tuesday afternoon to lead Plymouth State University to a doubleheader sweep of Lesley University, 9-5 and 4-2, in non-conference softball action. Game two was called after six innings due to darkness.

            The wins push PSU's winning streak to eight games as the Panthers improve to 10-7 on the season.  The Lynx, playing their first home games of the season, dip to 4-10.

            DeGrace cracked a grand slam in the fifth inning of the opener as the Panthers rallied from a 5-3 deficit with a five-run rally.  DeGrace also had a sacrifice fly to finish with five RBI in the game.  Jackson hammered a three-run home run in the fifth inning of the second game, breaking a 1-1 tie and ending up as the difference in the game. Jackson has a team-high three homers this season while DeGrace has a pair.

            The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning of the opener when freshman Vanessa Przybylo (Queensbury, N.Y.) doubled and sophomore Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.) walked, and they scored on a fielder's choice by junior Shannon Murphy (Chester, N.H./Pinkerton) and DeGrace's sac fly. After Lesley got on the board with three runs in third inning, PSU made it 3-3 in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by junior Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H./Memorial).

            Lesley pulled ahead again, 5-3, with two more runs in the last of the fourth, but PSU rallied to take the lead for good in the fifth.  Junior Taylor Mancini (Gansevoort, N.Y.) started things with her third hit and second double of the game, and after a couple of walks and a Lesley error brought one run home and loaded the bases, DeGrace cleared the bases with a shot over the fence in straightaway center field.  PSU added an insurance run in the seventh on Murphy's RBI single.

            Roberts earned the win in relief for PSU, improving to 5-2 on the season.  She pitched three-and-a-third innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits and no walks while striking out six.  Junior Cynthia Barata (New Fairfield, Conn.) pitched the first three-and-two-thirds innings and received a no-decision.

            After Lesley manufactured a run in the first inning of the nightcap, PSU came back to tie in the third when DeGrace singled home a run.  The fifth-inning burst won the game for the Panthers, as senior Jenn Bove (Medford, Mass.) and DeGrace reached on one-out singles and Jackson smashed a home run to center field to put PSU ahead, 4-1.

            Junior pitcher Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H.) went the distance for PSU and struck out a season-high nine batters to earn the win.  She allowed just two runs on four hits and four walks to even her season record at 4-4. Freshman Shirley Butterfield (Atkinson, N.H./Timberlane) helped the offense, going 3-for-3 at the plate.

            The Panthers play a non-conference twin bill Thursday at Fitchburg State University. 

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