Panthers fall to Western Conn., end season at 22-13
MANSFIELD, Conn. – Plymouth State University's chance for a Little East Conference softball championship ended Saturday afternoon when the second-seeded Panthers were eliminated by third-seeded Western Connecticut State University, 8-4, in an elimination Game Seven at the Eastern Connecticut State University Softball Stadium.
The Colonials, the preseason favorites to capture the LEC title, improve to 31-10-1 overall and advance to Game Nine of the tournament, another elimination contest Sunday at 10:00 a.m. PSU, which shared its first LEC regular season championship this spring, finishes the season at 22-13.
Senior Jessica Caturano (Holbrook, N.Y.) led the Colonials with three hits, including a double and two runs batted in. Classmate Kylee Ruther (Stamford, Conn.) also cracked her third home run of the season as Western defeated PSU for the third time this season against no losses. Freshmen Masha Lange (Danville, N.H.) and Nadia Wasuta (Jefferson, N.H.) led the Panthers with two hits apiece.
Western took control of the game in the second inning with a five-run explosion. Sophomore Maegan Rodriguez (East Haven, Conn.), the No. 8 hitter in the line-up, drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly and sophomore Kristen Sliman (Brewster, N.Y.) followed with an RBI single. After a walk to junior Nina Wojtkiewicz (Griswold, Conn.), Caturano broke it open with a two-run double to left and she then scored on a PSU error.
The Panthers got right back in the game with three runs in the top of the third. A walk by freshman Emma Rhodes (Rochester, N.H.) and a double by Lange put two runners on base; junior Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.) brought home one run with an infield grounder, and senior Bekah Jackson (Nashua, N.H.) knocked in a run with a single to right. Jackson then stole second and scored on a Western throwing error to pull PSU to within 5-3.
The teams alternated runs in the next three half-innings. Ruther homered to right center for Western in the bottom of the third and singled home a run in the last of the fourth, while Rhodes brought home a run for PSU with an infield grounder in the top of the fourth.
Sophomore Alle Sabith (Meriden, Conn.) came out of the bullpen and shut down PSU on three hits and no runs over the final three-and-a-third innings to preserve the win and eliminate the Panthers.
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