MacMillan's inside-the-park home run caps game two win for Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Rylee MacMillan (Mystic, Conn.) got her first career hit, an inside-the-park home run, to close out a game two win as Plymouth State University earned a doubleheader split with the University of New England in the home-opener at D&M Park on Thursday afternoon.
UNE took the opener in five innings, 12-1, behind an impressive pitching performance from junior Sydnee Bessler (Everett, Mass.), but PSU rebounded to blank the Nor'easters by an 8-0 score in six innings in game two.
Plymouth State has won seven-of-ten to move to 14-10 on the year, while UNE sits at 12-10.
Both starting pitchers looked good in the early going, with Bessler and PSU sophomore Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) posting matching zeros through the first two innings. The Nor'easters got a runner to third with one away in the second after a hit-by-pitch, sacrifice bunt and passed ball, but Miller induced a soft liner to first and groundout to escape unscathed.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Singles from junior Kayla Nester (Fairfax, Vt.) and senior Mary King (Lancaster, N.H.) and a walk to junior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) loaded the bases with one out. Junior Lindsey Hall (Midlothian, Va.) lofted a sacrifice fly to center and Nester beat the throw home to put PSU on top.
UNE took advantage of a key Panthers' miscue in the top of the fourth to pull in front. The first two batters reached on seeing-eye singles and senior Sam Dreissig (Linden, N.J.) reached on an error that allowed one run to score. Miller got a foul out and popup around a walk to set up a bases loaded, two-out situation. Junior Anna Sessa (Tewksbury, Mass.) came through with a two-run single and classmate Andrea Gosper (Wyoming, R.I.) followed with a two-RBI base hit of her own to give the visitors a 5-1 lead. Just one of the five runs was earned.
The Nor'easters broke the game open in the top of the fifth. Sessa had the big hit, plating three runs with a triple to the left center field gap and Gosper, pinch hitter Sophia Monti (Lincoln, R.I.), Dreissig and freshman Meg Harvey (Westmoreland, N.H.) all came through with run-scoring hits to make it 12-1 and PSU was unable to rally in the bottom of the inning.
The Panthers were limited to just three hits, singles from Morrill, Nester and King. Miller suffered the loss to drop to 7-6, going four innings while surrendering six hits and striking out three. She allowed just one earned run. The PSU defense committed three errors in the game, leading to eight unearned runs.
Junior Alexis Kapsambelis (Merrimack, N.H.), sophomore Sarah Lachapelle (Gilford, N.H.) and Sessa all had two hits for the Nor'easters. Sessa drove in five runs and also scored twice. Bessler posted her 14th complete game of the year to improve to 12-5.
The Panther bats came to life in the second game as PSU plated an early run. Junior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) ripped a one-out double to left center and came around on a screaming drive off the bat of classmate Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) to make it 1-0 in the first.
Seidner made an impact in the field as well. After two quick outs in the top of the second, sophomore Caty Flagg (Methuen, Mass.) reached on an infield single. Sessa following with a hit down the left field line, but Seidner nailed Flagg trying to advance to third to end the inning.
Seidner came up with another defensive gem in the third. With one out, UNE strung together three straight hits to load the bases. Lachapelle sent a ball to left field that Seidner tracked down, then fired home to gun down the runner attempting to tag up to keep the one-run lead intact.
Morrill singled, stole second and moved to third on a groundout in the bottom of the inning, and Deyo drove her in with a sacrifice fly to up the lead to 2-0.
Miller came on in relief of Mathieu after two of the first three batters reached base in the top of the fifth. She quickly induced a pair of groundouts to squash the UNE rally.
Plymouth State put up a five-spot in the bottom of the inning. Morrill singled with one out and Seidner reached when the UNE catcher was called for obstruction. Deyo singled to load the bases and senior Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.) drove in one with a sac fly to right. Junior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) followed with a run-scoring single and classmate Mel Goss (Templeton, Mass.) ripped a two-run triple over the right fielder's head to make it 6-0. Sophomore Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) capped the inning with a double down the left field line to score Goss and make it a 7-0 game.
UNE put runners on the corners with one down in the top of the sixth, but Miller got a key strikeout and an easy comebacker to retire the side.
MacMillan ended the game as the first batter of the bottom of the inning. Behind in the count, 0-2, she blasted a drive just beyond the reach of the diving UNE right fielder that rolled all the way to the fence. MacMillan raced around the bases for the game-ending, inside-the-park home run.
Morrill, Seidner, Deyo, Emerson and Landers all had two hits for the Panthers. Deyo and Goss each drove in two runs. Morrill, Seidner and Deyo, the top third of the lineup, finished 6-for-8 with four runs scored and two RBI. Mathieu allowed six hits in 4.1 innings to improve to 4-0 and Miller got the final five outs to earn her third save.
Bessler, the game one winner, took the loss for UNE giving up one run over two innings of work to drop to 12-6. Freshman Molly Drescher (Merrimac, Mass.) tossed the final three innings, allowing ten hits and seven runs, though just three were earned. Sessa was the only Nor'easter to reach multiple times, going 2-for-3.
The Panthers travel to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for a pair of Little East Conference games on Saturday (Apr. 14), with first pitch set for 12:00 p.m. PSU is scheduled to host New England College in a non-conference doubleheader on Sunday (Apr. 15) starting at 1:00 p.m., weather permitting.
– 30 –