Panthers move into tie for first place in Little East
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University softball team erupted for 13 runs on 17 hits Thursday afternoon en route to sweeping a Little East Conference softball doubleheader from rival Keene State College, 7-1 and 6-3, at D&M Park.
The Panthers, who improved to 19-11 overall and 9-3 in the LEC, have won eight straight conference games to move into a tie for first place in the Little East with Eastern Connecticut State University. Keene State drops to 11-16 overall and 3-6 in the conference.
Plymouth State used a balanced offense, with five players collecting two hits each and four players slamming home runs. Junior Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) had five hits and three RBI to lead the way for PSU.
Seniors Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) and Jackie Digman (Burlington, Mass.) and freshmen Masha Lange (Danville, N.H.) and Katie Kennard (Concord, N.H.) also cranked home runs for PSU. Jackson extended her PSU single-season home run standard to 10, and became Plymouth State's all-time home run queen with her 23rd career blast. The previous mark of 22 was held by Kortney Nedeau from 2008-11.
PSU jumped on top in the opener with two runs in the first inning. Lange and Jackson both singled and stole second; Lange came home on a wild pitch and Jackson scored on Hebert's single to right.
After Keene State got on the board in the fifth inning with an unearned runs, thanks to two Panther errors, PSU put the game away with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and three in the last of the sixth. Digman cracked a two-run shot to right center field, her third of the season, and Lange belted a three-run blast to left center, her fourth of the year.
Senior Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H.) earned the win for PSU with a complete-game effort, allowing just one unearned run on five hits and three walks. She improved her record to 7-4 on the season and lowered her ERA to 1.77, third-best in the Little East. Galvin also posted her 31st career victory, moving her into second place on PSU's career wins list; she passed Courtney MacFarland, who recorded 30 wins from 2006-09, but trails Kim Jeffs, who was 66-36 from 2002-05.
Junior Katie Newell (Shoreham, N.Y.) went 3-for-3 for the Owls, accounting for three of the visitors' five hits in the opener.
Plymouth State took a 2-0 lead in the second inning of the nightcap as Kennard laced her first career home run to left center field.
Keene State rallied with three runs in the top of the third to take its first lead of the day; freshman Caroline McSherry (Duxbury, Mass.) led off with a double and went to third on a single by classmate Kayla Votto (Durham, Con.). Sophomore Stephanie Long (Salem, N.H.) doubled in a run and freshman Aliza Guerrero (Fairfield, Conn.) and sophomore Morgan Fallon (Reading, Mass.) followed with RBI singles.
The lead didn't last long as PSU answered with a pair in the bottom of the third on Jackson's two-run homer to take the lead for good. The Panthers added some insurance with two more in the fifth inning on Hebert's two-run single up the middle.
Junior Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.) recorded the win for PSU, improving to 11-5 on the season.
Plymouth State wraps up the regular season Saturday on Senior Day at D&M Park, hosting Rhode Island College in an LEC twin bill at 1:00 p.m. Keene State plays five conference games this weekend to wrap up its regular season, a single game Friday at Southern Maine, a home doubleheader Saturday against UMass Dartmouth, and a make-up twin bill Sunday at UMass Boston.
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