Panthers sweep RIC to share championship with Eastern Conn.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University softball team captured a share of its first Little East Conference regular season championship Sunday afternoon, sweeping Rhode Island College in the regular season finale at D&M Park, 6-5 in eight innings and 10-2 in six innings.
The Panthers wind up the regular season tied for first place in the LEC with Eastern Connecticut State University, both with 11-3 conference records. Eastern Conn., 25-11 overall, will be the No. 1 seed and host the upcoming LEC Tournament, based on the LEC tiebreaker policy, while PSU, 21-11 overall, will be the No. 2 seed. The tournament starts Thursday in Mansfield, Conn.
PSU banged out 28 hits in the doubleheader against RIC, including five doubles and three home runs. Senior Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) clouted two home runs and drove in four, while classmate Jackie Digman (Burlington, Mass.) cracked a double and a home run and knocked in three. Senior Sam Hebert (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) also contributed two doubles and a pair of RBI and classmate Taylor Mancini (Gansevoort, N.Y.) had three hits as the Panther senior hitters celebrated Senior Day by going 15-for-27 at the place with three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI.
Senior pitcher Nora Galvin (Windham, N.H.) also contributed to the Senior Day festivities, earning a complete-game victory in the opener, striking out a season-high 10 batters to improve her record to 8-4.
|PSU seniors Galvin, Digman, Mancini, Hebert and Jackson|
PSU took a 2-0 lead in the third inning of the opener as freshman Masha Lange (Danville, N.H.) ripped a double to left center field, and Jackson smashed her school-record 11th home run of the season over the left field fence.
RIC came right back with five runs in the top of the fourth. After going hitless in the first three innings, the Anchorwomen scored four runs on the first four batters of the inning. Freshman Lindsey Cabral (North Providence, R.I.) led off with a bunt single and senior Kristina Gingell (Pascoag, R.I.) cracked her first home run of the season to left. Junior Justina Thoma (Canterbury, Conn.) followed with a double to right center field, and senior Stacy Pokora (Wilton, Conn.) came through with a two-run homer to left center. Freshman Lauren Duvall (East Greenwich, R.I.) walked and later scored on an RBI double to right center by junior Katelyn Sykora (Waterford, Conn.) to cap the five-run rally.
The Panthers responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 5-5. Freshman Nadia Wasuta (Jefferson, N.H.) drove in a run with a single and Hebert added an RBI with a bases-loaded walk.
PSU pulled out the win in the bottom of the eighth inning. Wasuta and Jackson reached on one-out singles, Hebert walked to load the bases, and Digman singled to left to drive home the winning run.
Plymouth State took control of the nightcap with a four-run first inning. Wasuta walked with one out and Jackson hammered her second home run of the day to center field, extending her school record with her LEC-leading 12th round-tripper of the season. Freshman Katie Kennard (Concord, N.H.) added a sacrifice fly and Mancini singled to left to make it a 4-0 game.
RIC plated single runs in the second and third innings. Pokora hit her second home run of the day and her team-leading eighth of the season to lead off the second, and Sykora doubled in the third and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Gingell.
The home team scored at least one more run in each of the next four innings to put the game away. Mancini singled home a run in the third inning; Digman's two-run homer, her fourth of the season, highlighted a three-run fourth inning; Wasuta drove in a run in the fifth inning; and Jackson scored on Kennard's single in the sixth inning to end the game.
Junior Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.) recorded the win in the nightcap for PSU, improving to 12-5 on the season. She allowed two runs on eight hits, striking out one.
-- 30 --