DeGrace, Jackson club homers for Panthers in LEC wins
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Calli DeGrace (Plymouth, N.H.) and junior Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) each cracked four hits Tuesday afternoon, including a home run apiece, as Plymouth State University swept a Little East Conference softball doubleheader from the University of Southern Maine, 4-2 and 12-0, at D&M Park.
DeGrace clubbed a two-run homer to left field to cap a three-run rally in the third inning of the first game for what ended up as the game-winning hit. Jackson hammered an opposite-field grand slam to left in the third inning of the nightcap as PSU took the second game in five innings. PSU extended its winning streak to five games, improving to 20-11 overall and 5-3 in Little East games and one win shy of matching last season's win total. USM dropped to 5-23 overall and 1-7 in the LEC.
Freshman Julia Royer (Pawcatuck, Conn.) also registered four hits on the day for PSU, two in each game, and junior Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) had three hits, including a pair of doubles. Junior Taylor Mancini (Gansevoort, N.Y.) drove in four runs in the nightcap.
PSU got solid pitching performances from senior Ali Keith (Northfield, N.H.) and junior Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H.). Keith went the distance in the opener to improve to 2-0, blanking the Huskies the first six innings before surrendering two runs in the seventh. Galvin tossed a three-hit shutout in her five-inning stint in the nightcap, walking two and matching her season-high with nine strikeouts.
Senior Stefanie Stockwell (Buxton, Maine) produced three hits, including a double, and knocked in two runs to lead the Huskies. Sophomore Lillian Cooper (Lamoine, Maine) and senior Katie Davis (Woburn, Mass.) also collected two hits apiece.
The Panthers took a 3-0 lead in the third inning of the first game, as Jackson laced an RBI single to right and DeGrace followed with her fourth home run of the season to left. PSU added an insurance run in the fourth when Hebert doubled to right and came around to score on Royer's single to left.
The Huskies produced a two-out rally in the seventh inning when freshman Morgan Scavetta (Damariscotta, Maine) and Nicole Nutter (Westbrook, Maine) reached on singles and Stockwell drove them home with a double to right field. Keith retired the next batter on a groundout to seal the win.
PSU jumped on top 2-0 in the first inning and never looked back. The Panthers added four runs in the second inning and batted around in the third, finishing with six runs to open up the 12-0 advantage. Mancini had a two-run single to highlight the second-inning rally, and Jackson's bases-loaded blast, her seventh home run of the season, was the big blow in the third.
USM managed just three hits off Galvin in the nightcap, including a double by Davis to lead off the second, but she was stranded at third base to end the inning.
The Panthers are right back on the diamond Wednesday with a non-conference twin bill at Middlebury College. USM returns home to host Bates College Wednesday in a non-league doubleheader.
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