Panthers wrap up regular season in second place
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University and Western Connecticut State University softball teams wrapped up the regular season Saturday afternoon by splitting a Little East Conference doubleheader at D&M Park, PSU winning the opener, 10-7, and WCSU taking the nightcap, 3-1.
The Panthers rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the opener with a nine-run fifth inning, highlighted by two-run singles by junior Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) and senior Calli DeGrace (Plymouth, N.H.). Freshman Michaela Roche (Bristol, Conn.) delivered a two-out, two-run single in the sixth inning of the nightcap to break a 1-1 tie and send Western to the win and a split of the twin bill.
PSU finishes the regular season with a 24-15 overall record and a 9-5 mark in LEC play, the most conference wins in a season since the 2003 Panthers finished 9-5. Western winds up at 19-21 overall and 8-6 in the Little East. Both teams will compete in the LEC Tournament which begins Thursday at top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University.
After the teams traded runs in the first inning of the opener, Western pulled ahead with a three-run fourth inning. Sophomore Christine Bighinatti (Rocky Hill, Conn.) hit an RBI single through the right side and senior Alison Russo (Danbury, Conn.) brought home a run with a sacrifice bunt.
The Panthers batted around in the nine-run fifth inning, registering seven singles and three walks in the rally. Senior Jenn Bove (Medford, Mass.) and DeGrace each had two hits in the inning, and junior Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) reached base twice on a hit and a walk.
Western Conn. got three runs back in the seventh inning on a pinch-hit three-run home run by junior Stephanie Moss (Brookfield, Conn.), but the Panthers held on for the win.
Junior Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H.) recorded the victory for PSU, allowing just one earned run on four hits in six innings, striking out six.
Western took a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the nightcap when Russo doubled down the left field line and freshman Michaela Roche (Bristol, Conn.) drove her in with a single to right. PSU answered in the bottom of the third when DeGrace reached second base on a two-out infield error and junior Jackie Digman (Burlington, Mass.) knocked her in with a single up the middle.
The Colonials scored the decisive runs with a two-out rally in the sixth . Freshman Alle Sabith (Meriden, Conn.) singled to center, sophomore Erin Biskup (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) walked and Russo singled to load the bases, and Roche brought home two runs with a single to right.
PSU loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the sixth but couldn't push any runs across the plate and came up empty in the seventh inning as well.
Sabith went the distance to record the victory (9-7) for Western, scattering nine hits and allowing just one unearned run.
Jackson had two hits in the nightcap for PSU, giving her 62 for the season, which ties her own school record for hits in a season, set last year. She also established a new single-season stolen base mark in the first game with her 26th swipe of the year. Jackson has set or tied eight school records this season.
-- 30 –