Panthers strike for four-run seventh to win opener
FITCHBURG, Mass. – The Plymouth State University softball team used a four-run top of the seventh inning to pull out a win the opener of a double header at Fitchburg State University at Coolidge Park on Thursday afternoon.
Entering the last inning of game one deadlocked in a 3-3 tie, the Panthers rallied using three hits and a pair of Fitchburg miscues to plate four runs and earn the 7-3 win. The Falcons struck back to take the nightcap 4-1.
Sophomore Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) went the distance in the opener, striking out five while allowing three runs to improve her record to 6-5. Junior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) finished 3-3 and drove in three runs.
Senior Allison Moylan (Methuen, Mass.) was the tough-luck loser in game two, dropping to 2-4 after giving up four runs, three earned, over her 5.1 innings. Deyo went 2-3 in the second game.
With the split the Panthers move to 12-8 on the year, while Fitchburg goes to 7-9.
In what has become a theme as of late, the Panthers handed Miller a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Junior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) led off with an infield single and went to second when classmate Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) reached on a fielder's choice. Both runners moved up after a wild pitch and Deyo singled to score Seidner. Emerson came in when the Falcons' centerfielder misplayed the ball for the early 2-0 lead.
Seidner got another run-scoring rally started in the third with a leadoff single up the middle. She moved up on Emerson's groundout and came in to score when Deyo singled to centerfield.
The Falcons got the run back in the bottom of the inning when freshman Cammi Sperling (Rutland, Mass.) roped a two-out double to left and sophomore McKenzie Lambert (Wilbraham, Mass.) followed with a single up the middle.
Fitchburg scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 3-3. Junior Maddie Medina (Pelham, N.H.) worked a one-out walk and, after a fly out, came all the way around on an RBI triple from Lambert. Junior Nicole Sylvester (Everett, Mass.) tied the game with an infield single to score Lambert.
Plymouth State used a leadoff walk to start the seventh inning rally when senior Taylor Wood (Londonderry, N.H.) earned the free pass. After a strikeout, pinch runner Lindsey Hall (Midlothian, Va.) stole second and junior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) walked. A wild pitch advanced both runners a base and an errant throw on a pickoff attempt brought Hall home with the go ahead run. Seidner added an insurance run with an RBI single to score Morrill. Emerson reached on a bunt single and the Falcons threw the ball away to allow Morrill to score all the way from first and Deyo followed with a base hit to make it 7-3.
Miller set down the side in order in the bottom of the inning to secure the fifth straight win for the Panthers.
Seidner (3-4) and Deyo (3-3) combined for six of PSU's seven hits and were credited with all four RBI. Seidner also scored three runs, with Emerson crossing the plate twice. Miller gave up seven hits and a walk while going the distance for the seventh time.
Lambert had a three hit game (3-4) and drove in two for the Falcons. Freshman Taylor Colvin (Lancaster, Mass.) was responsible for all seven runs, four earned, in her seven innings of work. She allowed seven hits and three walks against seven strikeouts to fall to 3-3 on the year.
Plymouth took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third of game two. Junior Autumn Beyor (Highgate, Vt.) singled to right to start the inning and Morrill sacrificed her to second. Beyor swiped third and came around on an RBI groundout by Seidner. Deyo and senior Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.) followed with back-to-back singles but the rally was halted with a groundout.
Fitchburg came right back with two runs in the bottom of the frame. A walk, single and sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position with one away and Sperling tied the game with an RBI single. Sophomore Haley Birch (Salem, Conn.) gunned down Sperling attempting to steal second base for the second out of the inning, but junior Melissa DiPhilippo (Norfolk, Mass.) came through with a single up the middle to make it 2-1.
Both offenses were quiet through the middle innings, but the Falcons added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Lambert reached on an infield hit and a Panther throwing error on the subsequent sacrifice attempt left runners on second and third with nobody out. A single and a fielder's choice scored the Falcons' third and fourth runs of the game to go up 4-1.
The Panthers were able to bring the tying run to the plate with two away in the top of the seventh. Birch walked with one out and Morrill singled with two away, but a foul popup ended the rally.
Deyo was the only Panther with multiple hits after her 2-3 performance. Birch reached base twice with a pair of walks. Moylan ended up going 5.1, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits and a pair of walks. She struck out two but dropped to 2-4. Junior Kayla Mathieu (Fairfax, Vt.) struck out both batters she faced in relief.
Lambert posted the only multi-hit game for the Falcons, finishing 2-3. Sophomore Mikayla Harnois (Attleboro, Mass.) went the distance giving up six hits and two walks while striking out three. She improved to 2-3 on the season.
The Panthers are back on the road on Saturday for a key Little East Conference (LEC) double header at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The two teams met in last year's championship game, with the Beacons winning twice on the final day to capture their first LEC Championship. First pitch for game one is set for 1:00 p.m.
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