PSU Softball knocked out of LEC Tournament

Panthers finish successful season at 24-15

            MANSFIELD, Conn. – It was a rough day on the diamond for the Plymouth State University softball team Friday as the Panthers suffered a pair of losses and were knocked out of the Little East Conference Tournament, hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University.

            The second-seeded Panthers, who won their first tourney game Thursday over Rhode Island College, 6-4, went down to defeat in Friday's Game Six against third-seeded Western Connecticut State University, 8-2. PSU came right back in the losers' bracket in Game Seven, but was eliminated with a 9-1 loss to the fifth-seeded Anchorwomen of RIC.

            Friday's outcome doesn't diminish an outstanding season for PSU, which winds up with a 25-17 overall record under 10th-year head coach Bruce Addison.  This year matches the most victories in a season since the 2008 Panthers finished 25-15, and the 25-win seasons are tied for the second-most in a season in the program's history. PSU's runner-up finish in the LEC race during the regular season was the highest since 2002.

            Plymouth State took one-run leads over Western in the first and third innings of the first game Friday, but the Colonials matched the Panthers each time.  Junior Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H.) doubled home a run for PSU in the first and junior Jackie Digman (Burlington, Mass.) knocked in a run with a sacrifice bunt in the third.  Junior Jessica Caturano scored both Western runs, coming home on an illegal pitch in the first inning and tripling and scoring on an infield grounder in the third.

            The Colonials took the lead for good with two unearned runs in the fourth inning, aided by two Panther errors, and put the game out of reach with four unearned runs in the sixth inning, with help from two more PSU miscues.  Sophomore Nina Wojtkiewicz hit a two-run single and Caturano followed with an RBI double in the Colonial rally.

            Freshman Alle Sabith was the winning pitcher for Western, improving to 11-7 after allowing just two runs on five hits in six innings.  PSU junior Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H.) gave up just two earned runs on six hits in 5.2 innings but took the loss.

            PSU took a 1-0 lead over RIC in the first inning of the second game when junior Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) led off the game with a triple to right-center field, and then scored on a passed ball.  But that ended up as the extent of the offense for the Panthers, who managed just four hits the rest of the way.

            The Anchorwomen got all the runs they would need in the second inning with a four-run rally.  Freshman Abigail Francis hit a two-out, two-run double to put RIC on the board, and sophomore Katelyn Sykora capped the rally with a two-run single.

            Junior Stacy Pokora tripled and scored in the third inning as RIC extended the lead, and a three-run rally in the fourth inning opened up an 8-1 margin as senior Marisa Jandreau drove home a run with a single and Pokora cranked a two-run home run to center field. The game ended in the fifth inning when RIC freshman Tori Lussier reached base on a PSU outfield error, and scored the winning run on an infield error.

            Junior Michelle Sylvestre went the distance in the circle for RIC to earn the win, giving up one run on five hits in five innings. Sophomore Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.) started for PSU and took the loss, and was followed by senior Ali Keith (Northfield, N.H.), Galvin and freshman Vanessa Przybylo (Queensbury, N.Y.)

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