Panthers to play in elimination game Thursday afternoon
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) surrendered just one run over seven full innings, but Plymouth State University fell to the University of Massachusetts Boston, 1-0, in Game 1 of the Little East Conference (LEC) softball tournament at D&M Park on a rainy Thursday morning.
The top-seeded Panthers (23-14) were limited to just six base runners by Beacons' sophomore starter Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.). UMass Boston (14-23) will advance to play the winner of third-seeded University of Southern Maine and fourth-seeded Western Connecticut State University Friday morning (10:00 a.m.), while Plymouth State will face the loser of second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University and fifth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in an elimination game at 4:00 p.m. later this afternoon.
The Beacons scored the only run of the game in the second inning. Junior Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) opened the inning with a double to deep left center field and junior Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) followed with a single. A steal put runners on second and third but Miller induced a soft infield popup for the first out. Junior Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) hit a soft roller between Miller and third base and Vento got a good read and was able to score. Tulley stole second but Miller got a key strikeout and a soft liner to right to limit the damage.
Sophomores Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) were both robbed of base hits by the UMass Boston outfield in the fifth. Butler smoked a line drive to the right center field gap to start the inning, but the Beacons' right fielder made a diving catch to rob her of extra bases. After the second out of the inning, Landers sent a soft liner to center field but Pawlina made a sliding grab to end the inning.
The Beacons had a chance to add-on in the top of the sixth. With one out, singles from Vento, Pawlina and a well-placed bunt single from sophomore Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.) loaded the bases, but Miller fired a called third strike past Tulley and got a soft liner to shortstop to end the inning.
The Panthers' best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the inning. With one down senior Nina Murray (Saugus, Mass.) poked a single through the right side, her second hit of the day, and junior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) beat out a grounder to put two runners on with the heart of the order coming up, but Greenspan escaped with a foul out and grounder to third.
PSU got a base runner in the bottom of the seventh on a single by Butler, but Greenspan was able to retire the side to close out the win.
Miller (13-7) allowed 10 hits but only the one run while striking out three. Murray reached base three times, including a pair of singles, while stealing a base.
Greenspan (9-14) gave up just five singles and a walk while striking out one to earn the win. Vento had two hits and scored the game's only run.
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