Miller picks up win in game one as Panthers gear up for LEC Tournament
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) tossed a complete game shutout to lead Plymouth State University to a 2-0 win over Western Connecticut State University in game one of a Little East Conference (LEC) softball doubleheader at D&M Park on Saturday afternoon. Western Connecticut rebounded to take game two, 6-1, spoiling the Panthers' Senior Day festivities.
With the split Plymouth State ends the regular season with a 23-13 mark, posting the most wins since the 2013 season. PSU's 11-3 LEC record matched the Panthers' best conference mark since they were regular season co-champions with Eastern Connecticut State in 2014. Plymouth finished in sole possession of first place in the conference for the first time in program history. In addition to finishing tied with ECSU in 2014, Plymouth finished last season in a four-way tie for first place.
Prior to the start of game two Plymouth State recognized the five Panthers' seniors playing their final regular-season home game; Allison Moylan (Methuen, Mass.), Taylor Wood (Londonderry, N.H.), Mary King (Lancaster, N.H.), Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.) and Nina Murray (Saugus, Mass.). The group was joined by family members in an on-field ceremony honoring their contributions to the PSU softball program over the last four years.
|PSU seniors with their families prior to game two against Western Conn.|
The Colonials put early pressure on Miller getting runners on base in each of the first four innings. In the first the visitors reached on a two-out single before Miller got the third out on a spectacular diving catch by King to retire the side.
Two singles and a double steal gave the visitors two runners in scoring position with two down in the second, but Miller induced a groundball and shortstop Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.) made a nice play ranging to her left to get the third out. In the third Western got back-to-back, two-out singles but another groundball to Butler ended the threat.
Meanwhile, Colonials' starting pitcher Angelina Miller (Holbrook, N.Y.) was perfect through the first three innings, but junior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) broke through with a leadoff double to the left center field gap to open the bottom of the fourth. After a groundout moved her to third, junior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) ripped a double to right center field to put the Panthers up 1-0.
PSU got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Moylan reached on an infield hit with one out and Deyo was safe at first after a WCSU error. Davis worked a walk to load the bases and junior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) brought a run home with a sacrifice fly to center.
Miller finished out the win with an uneventful top of the seventh to improve to 13-6. She didn't allow a baserunner over the final three innings after giving up five hits through the first three. She struck out three.
Angelina Miller (9-9) took the loss for Western Connecticut, giving up the two runs on three hits and a pair of walks while striking out one.
The Colonials got a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second to take a 2-0 lead. With runners on second and third and one away, an errant pickoff throw allowed both runners to score.
Western added two more in the top of the third. With runners on the corners and one down the Colonials pulled off a double-steal to score one run and the next batter singled up the middle to make it 4-0. WCSU added two more in the fifth.
The Panthers were held to just three baserunners over the first four innings; a walk to freshman Rylee MacMillan (Mystic, Conn.), an infield hit by sophomore Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) and King, who reached on an error, but PSU broke through in the sixth.
PSU seniors (L-R): King, Wood, Moylan, Davis, Murray
Murray singled and freshman Samantha Cushing (Amherst, N.H.) blasted a shot to left field that hit the fence for a run-scoring double. After a strikeout, Davis poked a single to right field, but Cushing was cut down at the plate after a perfect throw from the WCSU right fielder. Junior Autumn Beyor (Highgate, Vt.) beat out an infield hit in the bottom of the seventh but the Panthers were unable to rally.
Moylan threw the first four innings for PSU, giving up two earned runs while striking out four. Junior Kayla Mathieu (Fairfax, Vt.) went the final three innings, striking out three while allowing a pair of runs.
Junior Jaclyn Smith (Sandwich, Mass.) surrendered just two hits in her four innings of work to improve to 4-1, while Tenke worked the final three innings to pick up her second save of the year.
PSU travels to Emerson College for one final twin bill before hosting next week's LEC Tournament. Game one is set to begin at 1:00 p.m.
Plymouth State will kick off the LEC Tournament on Thursday (May 3). Although the league has not released official seeding yet, the Panthers are expected to face sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston in the tournament's opening game, with first pitch scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
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