Panthers conclude regular season Sunday at Keene State
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Eastern Connecticut State University wrapped up its sixth straight Little East Conference regular season softball title Saturday afternoon with a sweep of Plymouth State University, winning by scores of 7-5 and 9-5 at D&M Park.
The Warriors needed three runs in the top of the seventh inning to pull out the win in the opener. Plymouth State, which still had a shot at a share of the LEC regular season crown entering the day, took a 5-4 lead into the seventh before the rally by the visitors decided the game.
Eastern then erupted for six runs in the third inning of the second game, capped by a grand slam home run by sophomore Kristyn Ryan (Barkhamsted, Conn.), to open up a 6-0 lead. It was 8-0 in the fifth before Plymouth plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend the game, and PSU scored three times in the bottom of the seventh before Eastern turned a 6-4-3 triple play to end the game.
Eastern Connecticut improves to 25-6-1 overall and completes its LEC ledger with a 13-1 mark, earning the top seed and hosting opportunity for next week's LEC Tournament. PSU is now 12-16 overall and tied for third place with Keene State with 7-5 league records. The Panthers and Owls meet Sunday in Keene at 1:00 p.m. in a make-up doubleheader to close out the regular season.
Junior Shannon Martin (Wethersfield, Conn.) had three hits with a double and two RBI to lead Eastern in the opener. Senior Sam Rossetti (Shelton, Conn.) and junior Alyssa Hancock (Waterford, Conn.) had two hits apiece, with Hancock hitting a double and Rossetti connecting on her third home run of the season.
Senior Sam Madore (Bristol, Conn.) led the Panthers with three hits in the opener, including a double and an RBI. Senior Cynthia Barata (New Fairfield, Conn.) cracked a key three-run double in a four-run rally in the third inning that gave PSU the lead. Sophomores Katie Kennard (Concord, N.H.) and Emma Rhodes (Rochester, N.H.) also had two hits each.
Junior Emily Komornik (Shelton, Conn.) earned the win (4-1) for Eastern with three innings of scoreless relief, allowing just three hits, and sophomore Summer Cipriani (North Stonington, Conn.) came on to get the final out to earn her second save. Senior starter Whitney Roberts (Chocorua, N.H.) went the distance for PSU and took the loss.
Ryan finished with three hits and six RBI in the nightcap as she added a two-run double to her grand slam. Martin, Cipriani and sophomore Samantha Bardos (Norwalk, Conn.) also had two hits apiece.
Kennard led PSU in the nightcap with two hits, including a double and two RBI. Freshman Nina Murray (Saugus, Mass.) collected two hits and classmate Kim Leiter (Manchester, N.H.) hit a double and finished with two runs scored.
Sophomore Samantha Valentine (Ridge, N.Y.) pitched the first six innings and earned the win for Eastern (10-2), allowing three earned runs, before Cipriani came on in the seventh to induce the triple play. Freshman Jessica Pietersen (Norton, Mass) worked five innings for PSU and took the loss.
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