Cushing blasts first career dinger in setback
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – For the second time in three days the Plymouth State University softball team fell in a pair of tight battles at Fortune Field at THE Spring Games. A late rally came up just short in a 4-3 setback to Marietta College on Tuesday morning, and the Panthers were nipped by Wheaton College, 5-3, in the second game of the day.
Against Marietta, PSU rallied from a 4-0 deficit with a three-run sixth and had the go-ahead runner on second base with no outs in the seventh, but the Panthers were unable to come up with the clutch hit.
In game two, Wheaton jumped out to a 3-0 lead before an out was recorded, but sophomore Sam Cushing (Amherst, N.H.) blasted a no-doubt two run shot in the bottom of the frame to bring the Panthers back. The Lyons took a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth and PSU had the tying runs on base in the bottom of the inning, and at the plate in the seventh, but again the comeback attempt was stymied.
Plymouth State has dropped five straight games, all by two runs or less, to fall to 2-6, while Marietta improves to 4-1 and Wheaton goes to 5-1.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 3, Marietta 4
Plymouth State 3, Wheaton 5
Plymouth State (2-6)
How it Happened (Marietta):
* Marietta grabbed a first inning run after a stolen base and two-out single plated junior Maicy Kirk (Lewis Center, Ohio).
* The Pioneers scored twice in the bottom of the third on an error, single and two-run double to extend the advantage to 3-0.
* Marietta strung together three singles to make it 4-0 in the fourth, but senior Kayla Mathieu (Fairfax, Vt.) came out of the bullpen to retire the next two batters and avoid further trouble.
* Senior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) started the PSU rally in the sixth with a single and Cushing followed with a base hit. Goss drove both runners in with a booming triple to right to chase the Marietta starter.
* Emerson greeted the new pitcher with an infield hit, but the next two Panthers struck out. Freshman Madison Harris (Randolph, Mass.) came up big with an RBI single up the middle to make it 4-3 and senior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) followed with a base hit to load the bases, but a groundball to first ended the threat.
* Deyo singled and stole second to start the seventh, and junior Haley Birch (Salem, Conn.) walked before both runners advanced to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with nobody out.
* Marietta got a groundball to short and was able to cut down Deyo at the plate. The next batter also reached on a fielder's choice as the Pioneers took the out at third, and the Marietta pitcher made a nice play on a comebacker to end the game.
Inside the Numbers (Marietta):
* Deyo went 2-for-3 and drew a walk, while Goss (single, triple) and Emerson (two singles) had two hits apiece.
* Goss has five hits in her last nine at bats and drove in four of the team's seven runs over the past three games.
* Junior Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) gave up four runs (three earned) over the first 3.1 innings to fall to 2-2, while Mathieu was great in relief, going the final 2.2 innings while surrendering just one hit.
How it Happened (Wheaton):
* Wheaton caught a break in the top of the first when the leadoff batter reached on an error, but the next four batters all had singles and the Lyons took a 3-0 lead before an out was recorded.
* Miller came on in relief and struck out two around a ground out to avoid further damage.
* The Panthers used a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning to get right back in the game. With two down, Deyo was hit by a pitch and Cushing made the Lyons pay launching her first career home run to make it a 3-2 game.
* Wheaton made it 4-2 in the top of the fourth when an errant throw on a bunt attempt got past everyone, allowing the batter to race all the way around the bases.
* PSU got the run right back in the bottom of the frame. With two on and two out, Harris poked a base knock to center scoring one run, but the trail runner was tagged out at the plate.
* Wheaton tacked on an unearned run in the sixth, but the Panthers came right back in the bottom of the inning. With two down, PSU got the tying runners on base after singles by sophomore Rylee MacMillan (Mystic, Conn.) and freshman Katie Burk (East Islip, N.Y.), but a ground ball to second ended the rally.
* Junior Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) singled to start the bottom of the seventh, but she was erased on a double play and the Lyons held on for the win.
Inside the Numbers (Wheaton):
* Morrill had two hits and Cushing reached base three times (homer, two walks) for the Panthers.
* Goss was kept off the bases for the first time this season.
* Miller allowed zero earned runs over seven full innings while striking out five in relief, though the Lyons score two unearned runs. Freshman Jillian Aziz (Plaistow, N.H.) took the loss (0-1) in her first collegiate start.
* Six of the Panthers' eight games have been decided by two runs or less.
* The Panthers face a pair of New England teams in Winter Haven, Fla. on Wednesday (Mar. 13). PSU opens with a match-up against the University of New England at 12:15 p.m., before squaring off against Salve Regina University at 2:30 p.m.
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