Panthers down Western Conn., UMass Boston to move into title game
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The top-seeded Plymouth State University softball team won two games Thursday at D&M Park to advance to its first Little East Conference championship game, defeating third-seeded Western Connecticut State University, 3-0, and fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston, 5-2.
The Panthers are slated to play in the LEC title game on Friday at noon (weather permitting) against the winner of the 10 a.m. elimination game between UMass Boston and second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University. The winner of that game would have to defeat PSU twice to claim the championship.
PSU is seeking its first conference championship in its 43 years as a varsity sport, and the first LEC title in the 20 years of the conference.
NCAA Division III College Softball – Little East Conference Tournament
at D&M Park, Plymouth, N.H. – Thursday, May 4, 2017
#1 Plymouth State 3, #3 Western Connecticut 0
#1 Plymouth State 5, #4 UMass Boston 2
Records: Plymouth State 23-15-1; Western Connecticut 18-21, UMass Boston 25-11
GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS
* PSU eliminated Western Connecticut from the tournament on a five-hit shutout by freshman Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.). She walked just one and struck out five to improve her record to 11-5 with her third shutout of the season. Miller has now pitched 18 consecutive scoreless innings, including 14 in the LEC Tournament.
* The Panthers got all the runs they would need with two in the third inning. Senior Katie Kennard (Concord, N.H.) singled and classmate Rachel Morrissey (Salem, N.H.) reached on an error. Senior Emma Rhodes (Rochester, N.H.) moved the runners along with a sacrifice bunt, and junior Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.) delivered a two-run single past the third baseman.
* Plymouth State added an insurance run in the fourth when freshman Haley Birch (Salem, Conn.) singled, advanced on a sac bunt by sophomore Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.), and scored on Kennard's single to right.
* Kennard and Morrissey had two hits each for PSU, while juniors Tori Dugan (Norwalk, Conn.) and Kayla Nowak (North Branford, Conn.) had two singles each to account for four of Western's five hits.
GAME 2 HIGHLIGHTS
* PSU handed UMass Boston its first loss in the double-elimination affair in the final game of the evening. Junior Nina Murray (Saugus, Mass.) had three hits and scored two runs to lead the Panthers, Morrill had two hits and knocked in two runs.
* The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when sophomore Mel Goss (Templeton, Mass.) walked and later scored on an infield error. PSU extended the lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Murray cracked an RBI double to left, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Morrill's infield single.
* After UMB got on the board in the fifth on two singles, a sac bunt and a wild pitch, PSU tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Goss walked and Emerson and Murray singled to load the bases, Morrill followed with an RBI single up the middle, and Kennard's fielder's choice brought home the final run.
* Freshman Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) earned the win with a complete-game effort for PSU, improving her record to 7-2. She allowed two runs on six hits, striking out two.
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