Panthers belt three home runs to sink Anchorwomen
MANSFIELD, Conn. – Juniors Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H./Memorial), Jackie Digman (Burlington, Mass.) and Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H./North) belted home runs Thursday afternoon as second-seeded Plymouth State University led from start to finish in a 6-4 victory over fifth-seeded Rhode Island College in game two of the Little East Conference softball tournament, hosted by top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University.
The Panthers avenged two regular-season losses to RIC (19-22), defeating the Anchorwomen in the first round for the second straight season. Plymouth State improved to 25-15 overall and advances in the winners' bracket to game six Friday at 2:00 p.m. against third-seeded Western Connecticut State University. The Colonials advanced with a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Keene State College Thursday in game three of the tourney. Rhode Island was scheduled to face sixth-seeded Massachusetts Boston in a losers' bracket game Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Five of Plymouth State's 13 hits off two Rhode Island pitchers went for extra bases. Hebert unloaded a two-run home run in the first to give the Panthers an early two-run lead; Digman cracked a leadoff home run in the third to make it 3-1; and Jackson drove in runs with a home run and triple. Sophomore Cynthia Barata (New Fairfield, Conn.) also opened the fourth inning with a double and raced home on Jackson's three-bagger.
Hebert reached safely four times for PSU with three hits. Jackson's triple was her 13th of the season, which leads the nation in Division III, and extended her single-season school record in the category. Her home run was also her eighth of the season, tying the school record set by Adriene Harvey in 2003. Jackson has tied or set nine school records this season.
PSU led 5-2 in the sixth inning when RIC rallied for two runs to cut the margin to one. Senior Marisa Jandreau (Plainville, Conn.) plated one run with a single and junior cleanup hitter Stacy Pokora (Wilton, Conn.) drove in the second with a sacrifice fly. Jackson's home run leading off the sixth, however, re-stored a two-run lead for Plymouth State.
Sophomore Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.) gained her first save of the year for PSU in support of junior starter Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H). Galvin carried a 5-1 lead into the fifth but leadoff singles by Pokora and sophomore Justina Thoma (Canterbury, Conn.) chased Galvin.
Thoma collected four of Rhode Island's hits, with senior leadoff hitter Jessica Borden (Lincoln, R.I.) registering three. The Anchorwomen stranded 12 batters, two or more in four innings.
(Courtesy of the Little East Conference)
-- 30 --