Panthers win opener, drop nightcap in 12 innings
CASTLETON, Vt. – Junior Ruby Bushey beat a throw to home with a headfirst slide in the bottom of the 12th inning Saturday afternoon to give Castleton State College a dramatic 3-2 victory over Plymouth State University and a split of the non-conference softball doubleheader at Spartan Field. PSU won the first game of the day by a 5-2 margin.
Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 12th, Bushey was placed on second to start the inning in accordance with softball's tiebreaker rule. Senior Stephanie Sylvester led off the frame and put a bunt down right in front of the plate. The defense fielded it and tried to throw it to first but the ball hit Sylvester in the back and trickled into foul territory, allowing Bushey to head for home for the winning run.
The marathon second game matched PSU's school record for longest game, equaling the 12-inning affair against Springfield College in the 2003 ECAC Tournament. Saturday's game featured five pitchers, including Castleton's Kayla Wood who earned the win by tossing five innings of scoreless extra inning relief with just three hits allowed and five strikeouts.
PSU freshman Allison Moylan (Methuen, Mass.) took the loss though she didn't give up a hit in one inning of work. Freshman starter Jessica Pietersen (Norton, Mass.) tossed over 130 pitches and went 10.0 innings in a strong no-decision, allowing just two unearned runs on five hits and four walks, striking out four.
The Panthers managed just six hits in the nightcap, including two each by sophomore Katie Kennard (Concord, N.H.) and Pietersen.
After seven scoreless innings, PSU took a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning on an RBI single by freshman Taylor Wood (Londonderry, N.H.), but Castleton answered with a Kim Daigle RBI single in the bottom of the inning to tie it 1-1. The Panthers pulled ahead in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by freshman Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.), but the Spartans got a RBI double by Brittany Brayman to tie the score in the ninth before winning it in the 12th.
The PSU offense pounded out 12 hits in the opener and scored single runs in five of the seven innings to secure the win. Sophomores Rachel Morrissey (Salem, N.H.) and Emma Rhodes (Rochester, N.H.) had three hits apiece to lead the way. Kennard also had two hits and drove in two runs while Davis had two hits, including her team-leading second home run of the season.
Senior Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.) earned the victory for PSU with a complete-game effort, allowing just two runs over seven innings while striking out six.
Both teams play again on Sunday. The Spartans, 8-6, host Lyndon State for a doubleheader at 2 pm., while PSU, 4-11, plays Western Connecticut State University in a Little East Conference doubleheader at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, beginning at noon.
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