Panthers score late to win opener, drop back-and-forth nightcap
BOSTON, Mass. – Plymouth State University scored four times in its final two at-bats to earn a 4-1 win over the University of Massachusetts Boston in the first game of a Little East Conference (LEC) softball double header at UMB Softball Field on Saturday afternoon. The Beacons answered with an 8-6 victory in a back-and-forth second game.
The game was the first meeting between the two teams since last year's LEC Championship where the Beacons topped PSU twice in the final day to earn the title.
Sophomore Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) gave up a first inning run before shutting down the UMB offense over the final six innings in game one. She allowed six hits while striking out five to improve to 7-5 on the year. Junior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) and sophomore Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.) each drove in a run in the top of the sixth to give PSU a 2-1 lead and the Panthers added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh to steal the win in game one.
The teams went back-and-forth in game two. PSU rallied from deficits of 3-1 and 6-4. Sophomore Haley Birch (Salem, Conn.) tied the game at six-apiece with a two-RBI single in the top of the fifth, but UMass Boston scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to earn an 8-6 win.
Plymouth State has split its last two double headers to go to 13-9 overall (3-1 LEC), while the Beacons now stand at 8-12 (1-1 LEC).
The Beacons took an early lead with a run in the bottom of the first. Freshman Kelly Danahy (Kingston, Mass.) reached on an infield single and junior Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) followed with an RBI double. UMass Boston was hoping for more, but Miller got out of the inning when the next batter lined out and Vento was doubled off second.
The Panthers had runners on base in each of the first three innings, but each time Beacons' starter Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) worked out of trouble.
Plymouth State finally broke through in the top of the sixth. Junior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) singled up the middle and, after a foul out, moved up a base when sophomore Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) walked. Emerson tied the game with a single down the right field line and Butler put PSU in front, 2-1, when she reached on a fielder's choice.
Given the lead, Miller mowed through UMB in the bottom of the inning, retiring the side in order without allowing a ball out of the infield.
The Panthers tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Junior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) doubled with one out, Deyo walked and senior Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.) followed with a double down the left field line to make it 3-1. Landers' groundout plated the fourth Plymouth run.
Miller retired the first two batters in the bottom of the inning, before sophomore Giovanna Bonilla (Queens, N.Y.) singled, but the game ended when the next batter grounded out to third.
The top four batters for the Panthers (junior Debra Morrill, Seidner, Deyo and Davis) finished a combined 5-11 with four walks and three runs scored. Miller earned her seventh win of the year (7-5) with a complete game, six-hit effort, striking out six while allowing just the first inning run.
Greenspan fell to 3-7 after giving up four runs on six hits and seven walks over seven innings. Danahy was the only Beacon to reach base twice, going 2-3 for the game.
PSU grabbed a quick lead in game two. Seidner singled, but was erased when Deyo hit into a fielder's choice. Davis singled and Emerson drove in Deyo with a single up the middle for the 1-0 lead.
The Beacons pulled in front with a three-run bottom of the second. Freshman Drew Washington (Bordentown, N.J.) drove in two with a one-out triple and a Panther error allowed Washington to come home with two outs to put the hosts in front 3-1.
Plymouth answered with a three-run inning of its own, retaking the lead in the next half inning. Deyo singled and Davis brought her home with an RBI double. Davis moved up on a wild pitch and Emerson's single through the middle tied the game at 3-3. After a sacrifice to move Emerson into scoring position, Butler ripped a double to left center field to put the Panthers in front, 4-3.
UMB evened the score at four-apiece after two batters in the bottom of the inning. Vento led off with a triple and junior Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left field.
The home team pulled in front with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.) singled and was bunted to second before Danahy drove her in with a single. Danahy eventually came around to score on a wild pitch to give the hosts a 6-4 lead.
PSU rallied to tie the score yet again in the top of the fifth. Davis reached with a leadoff walk and Emerson singled to center. After an infield out, Butler drove the first pitch she saw to right field to load the bases and Birch tied the game at six with a single. Butler also tried to score when the ball got away from the Beacons' catcher, but she recovered and flipped to Greenspan, who had come on in relief, to cut down Butler at the plate.
UMass Boston came right back to grab a 7-6 lead with a single run in the next half inning. Freshman Tori Dicenso (Lynn, Mass.) singled to open the inning, moved to second on a groundout and came home when freshman Cassidy Gaeta (North Reading, Mass.) singled up the middle.
Deyo nearly tied the game in the top of the sixth when she rocked a ball off the fence in left field for a two-out double, but the next batter was retired on a weak comebacker.
Danahy doubled to open the bottom of the sixth, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder's choice to give the Beacons some breathing room and the Panthers were retired in order in the top of the seventh, the only one-two-three inning of the game.
PSU pounded out 12 hits in the loss with Emerson leading the way with a 3-4 effort. She also scored twice and drove in a pair. Deyo (2-4, two runs scored) and Butler (2-4, RBI) also had multi-hit games for the Panthers. Junior Kayla Mathieu (Fairfax, Vt.) got the start, giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits and two walks in three-plus innings. Senior Allison Moylan (Methuen, Mass.) gave up three runs over two-plus innings of relief to suffer the loss and drop to 3-4 while Miller got the final three outs.
Washington and Pawlina combined go to 1-6 at the plate, but drove in four Beacons' runs. Danahy and Gaeta both had two-hit games for UMB. Sophomore Megan Hoben (Bedford, Mass.) got the nod in the circle, giving up four runs on eight hits in three innings of work. Greenspan threw the final four innings, allowing two runs on four hits to get the win and move to 4-7.
Plymouth State will enjoy a four-day break before opening its home schedule on Thursday (Apr. 12) with a double header against the University of New England. Game times are set for 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
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