Panthers score twice in final at-bat to knock off Western Conn.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Top-seeded Plymouth State University used three base hits and an error to score twice in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-4, walk-off win over fourth-seeded Western Connecticut State University in Game 9 of the Little East Conference (LEC) softball tournament at D&M Park on Saturday morning
Plymouth State (26-14) advances to the championship game against sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston, in a rematch of last year's title game. Plymouth will need to beat the Beacons twice to earn the LEC title. Western Connecticut (17-24-1) was walked-off for the second straight game, after being downed, 7-6, in 11 innings by UMB on Friday night.
The Colonials had rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth but the Panthers struck back in the seventh. After a quick out, senior Nina Murray (Saugus, Mass.) dropped a single into left field. Junior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) followed with a single up the middle and junior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) lined a game-tying base hit to center. With the go-ahead run on second, senior Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.) grounded a ball to the left side. The WCSU shortstop attempted to get the runner at second, but the ball deflected off the second baseman's glove into shallow right field allowing Seidner to come around for the game-winning run.
Plymouth jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Murray opened with a single up the middle and was bunted to second. Deyo worked a walk and PSU pulled off a double steal. Davis knocked in a run when the Western second baseman couldn't cleanly field her ground ball and junior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) drove in another run with a base hit to left field. Sophomore Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) drove home the third Panthers' run with a single through the middle.
Western cut into the PSU lead with a two-out rally in the fifth inning. Sophomore Sara Tenke (Glen Cove, N.Y.) started things off with a single. A bunt single and throwing error put runners on second and third and pinch hitter Natalia Hart (Milford, Conn.) came through with a ground ball single up the middle to make it 3-2.
The Colonials pulled in front in the sixth. With a runner on third and one down, senior Sofia Palacios (San Fernando, Calif.) ripped a double down the right field line to tie the game. Freshman Reilly McMahon (South Windsor, Conn.) put the visitors ahead with a base hit to left. Western had a chance to tack on more as the next two batters both singled, but a foul out and groundball ended the threat, allowing for PSU's walk-off in the seventh.
Murray finished 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored. Sophomore Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) struck out three in seven innings to improve to 16-7.
Tenke and senior Tori Dugan (Norwalk, Conn.) combined to go 5-for-7 with two runs scored atop the Colonials' lineup. Junior Jaclyn Smith (Sandwich, Mass.) threw 6.1 innings, striking out five but taking the loss to drop to 4-2.
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