Miller, Mathieu overpowering as Panthers sweep LEC doubleheader
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Sophomore Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) and junior Kayla Mathieu (Fairfax, Vt.) combined to allow just nine hits as Plymouth State University swept a Little East Conference (LEC) softball doubleheader from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth at the UMD Softball Fields on Saturday.
Miller (8-6) went all seven innings in the first game, giving up four hits while keeping the Corsairs off the scoreboard as PSU earned a 2-0 win. Mathieu (5-0) was just as impressive in game two, completing six innings while allowing just three hits and two unearned runs while striking out six. Miller came on to pitch the seventh to earn her fourth save as the Panthers won 5-2.
With the sweep the Panthers have won 9-of-12 to improve to 16-10 overall and 5-1 in LEC play. UMass Dartmouth drops to 19-7 and 4-2 in league games.
The Panthers opened the game with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Junior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) singled to start the rally. A bunt and passed ball moved her to third. Junior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) walked and an error advanced both runners to give PSU an early lead. After a foul popup for the second out, junior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) doubled to score Deyo and the Panthers led 2-0.
With Miller on her game, the two runs were more than enough. She cruised through the first three innings, retiring the side in order in the first and third, while surrendering just a two-out single in the second.
Plymouth had a chance to tack on a run in the fourth. Emerson singled with one out and sophomore Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) had a base hit to move her to third with two away, but both were stranded after the next batter grounded out.
UMass Dartmouth put together its first real rally in the bottom half of the sixth. An error, stolen base and sacrifice bunt put junior Maddie O'Gryzek (Norfolk, Mass.) on third with one out. The next batter hit an infield grounder and O'Gryzek tried to score but was cut down at the plate. Sophomore Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) singled to put runners on first and second, but Miller escaped with a strikeout.
Things got interesting in the bottom of the seventh. Still trailing 2-0, the Corsairs got a leadoff single to start the frame. After an infield popup, a stolen base and walk put the tying runners on base. Miller got a ground ball for the second out but the runners advanced to second and third. Another walk put the winning run on first, but Miller closed out the win by getting an infield popup.
Emerson had three of the Panthers' six hits. Morrill, Landers and senior Mary King (Lancaster, N.H.) accounted for the other three. Miller allowed just four singles and two walks while posting her ninth complete game in 13 starts.
Senior Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) was solid in the circle for the Corsairs, but dropped to 8-4 on the year. She gave up just the two first inning runs, one of which was unearned. Emerson was 3-for-3 off her, but she limited the rest of the Panthers' lineup to just 3-for-19.
Mathieu turned in an outstanding performance in game two. She retired the side in order in four of her six innings (first, second, fifth, sixth) and allowed just two unearned runs while striking out six.
PSU plated a run in the second when sophomore Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.) singled with one out. Butler moved up on an infield grounder and junior Kayla Nester (Fairfax, Vt.) drove her in with a clutch two-out single up the middle for the 1-0 lead.
Morrill opened the third with a single and quickly stole second. She moved to third on a groundout and Deyo's RBI single made it 2-0.
UMass Dartmouth got a one-out double in the bottom of the third, but Mathieu induced a pair of ground balls to erase the threat.
The Corsairs evened the game with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth. Mathieu retired the first two batters, but Sheerin reached on a two-base error. Freshman Jill Richards (Kingston, Mass.) had a run-scoring double and classmate Kylie Fletcher (Dighton, Mass.) followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2.
PSU got the runs back right away in the next half inning. With one out, Morrill singled for the third time, then stole her second base of the game to get into scoring position. Junior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) grounded out to third to advance pinch runner Lindsey Hall (Midlothian, Va.) and an error allowed Hall to score. Deyo followed with her third home run of the season to make it 4-2.
Mathieu breezed through the fifth and sixth innings and the Panthers tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Nester singled and pinch runner Autumn Beyor (Highgate, Vt.) stole second. It looked like she might be stranded after an infield popup and strikeout, but Seidner singled to left for the 5-2 lead.
Miller came on in the bottom of the seventh to attempt to close out the sweep. Fletcher singled with one out and moved to second on a ground out to shortstop. Sophomore Nicole McSweeney (Bridgewater, Mass.) singled and stole second to put two runners in scoring position, but Miller induced a ground ball to second to pick up her fourth save of the year.
Morrill finished 3-for-3, with Deyo and Nester both going 2-for-3 at the plate. Deyo drove in two with Seidner and Nester recording an RBI each. Mathieu (5-0) hasn't allowed an earned run in consecutive starts, covering 10.1 innings.
Fletcher and McSweeney both had two-hit games for the Corsairs. Richards (0-1) took the loss, giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits over her 4.2 innings.
PSU will travel to Keene State College on Tuesday (Apr. 17) for a twin bill with the rival Owls. Games are set for 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
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