Murray belts walk-off double to lead Panthers to come-from-behind win
CLERMONT, Fla. – Senior Nina Murray (Saugus, Mass.) ripped a walk-off RBI double to right centerfield to score sophomore Haley Birch (Salem, Conn.) and cap a four-run bottom of the seventh inning as Plymouth State University topped Worcester State University, 8-7, in a non-conference softball game at Hancock Park on Sunday morning.
With the win the Panthers move to 2-3, while Worcester State falls to 0-1.
PSU entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 7-4. Sophomore Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) worked a leadoff walk and, following a strikeout, senior Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.) hit a pinch hit single to right. Freshman Rylee MacMillan (Mystic, Conn.), running for Landers, moved up to third and junior Autumn Beyor (Highgate, Vt.) came on to run for Davis. Sophomore Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.) followed with a two-run triple to right and Birch drove in the runner from third with an RBI fielder's choice. After an infield popup, Birch advanced to second on a wild pitch, setting up Murray's game-winning double.
Senior Allison Moylan (Methuen, Mass.) pitched 3.2 strong innings in relief to earn the win and move to 1-1. She came inherited a 4-2 deficit with two runners on in the top of the fourth. After an infield groundout for the second out of the inning, senior Dakota Smith-Porter (Montague, Mass.) doubled in both runners before Moylan got a ground ball to second to end the inning trailing 6-2.
PSU got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when senior Taylor Wood (Londonderry, N.H.) scored on a Butler sacrifice fly to leftfield. The Panthers got runners on second and third with two down but were unable to get another run.
Moylan worked out of a jam in the top of the fifth as the Lancers looked to extend the lead. The first three batters of the inning all reached base and WSU plated a run on a Panther error to push the lead to 7-3. Moylan buckled down, though, getting a comebacker to cut down a run at home, then inducing a line out and another groundout to limit the damage.
Wood came through with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to plate freshman Samantha Cushing (Amherst, N.H.) to make it 7-4. Moylan set down six of the next eight batters to give the Panther bats the chance for the comeback.
Junior Kayla Mathieu (Fairfax, Vt.) got tagged for six runs in 3.1 innings before Moylan came on in relief. The Lancers got a solid start from sophomore Carly Zielinski (Monson, Mass.), who surrendered four runs, two earned, in six innings. Junior Rachel Frisch (Worcester, Mass.) took the loss after giving up four runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning.
After collecting just one single against #7 Amherst College in Saturday's second game, the Panthers had ten base hits against the Lancers, including two doubles and a triple. Junior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.), double and single, Butler (triple, single), and Wood (two singles) all had two-hit games for the Panthers. Butler drove in a career-high four runs.
The Panthers face their second nationally-ranked opponent in as many days when they square off against No. 14 Babson College at 11:30 a.m.
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