Butler, Landers help Panthers salvage split
FITCHBURG, Mass. – Juniors Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) combined for four hits, three runs scored and two RBI to lead Plymouth State University to a 6-5, eight-inning win over Fitchburg State University in the second game of a non-conference softball double header at Coolidge Park on Thursday. The Falcons took the opener in five innings by a 9-1 score.
Butler singled to drive in Landers and later came around to score on a ground out as the Panthers took a 2-0 lead in game two. The duo hooked up again in the fourth when Butler knocked in Landers with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead, but Fitchburg knotted the game in the bottom of the inning. After three scoreless frames, the Panthers pushed three runs across in the top of the eighth and held off a rally in the bottom of the inning to earn the 6-5 win.
Playing for the first time in eight days, PSU got off to a slow start in game one. Fitchburg took a 2-0 lead in the first with a pair of unearned runs, and extended the margin to 4-0 with a two-run third. PSU got a run back in the fourth, but the Falcons answered with five runs in the bottom of the frame and the Panthers couldn't chip away.
With the split the Panthers move to 9-9 on the year, while Fitchburg goes to 14-8.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 1, Fitchburg State 9 (Game One – Five innings)
Plymouth State 6, Fitchburg State 5 (Game Two – Eight innings)
Plymouth State (9-9)
Fitchburg State (14-8)
How it Happened (Game One):
* Fitchburg State took advantage of a pair of Panthers' miscues to plate two runs in the bottom of the first.
* The Falcons extended the lead to 4-0 with a pair of run-scoring groundouts in the third.
* Plymouth State broke through in the fourth. Sophomore Sam Cushing (Amherst, N.H.) singled to left, moved to third on a pair of ground outs and came home when freshman Katie Burk (East Islip, N.Y.) poked a single to right to cut the deficit to 4-1.
* Fitchburg went right back to work in the bottom of the frame with another two-out rally as five runs crossed the plate.
* PSU was unable to cut into the margin in the top of the fifth.
Inside the Numbers (Game One):
* Deyo also reached on a walk.
* Junior Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) took the loss to drop to 5-5 on the year, striking out four over 3.2 innings.
How it Happened (Game Two):
* PSU drew first blood in the nightcap with two runs in the second. Landers singled, was sacrificed to second and came around on Butler's single. Butler moved up on the throw home and scored on a ground ball by senior Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.).
* Landers and Butler teamed up to manufacture another run in the fourth. Landers reached on a two-base error and moved to third on a ground out, before Butler lofted a sac fly to push the lead to 3-0.
* The hosts answered in the bottom of the frame, loading the bases with one away before plating runs on a bases-loaded walk, fielder's choice and sac fly.
* Neither team had a baserunner until Butler's one-out single in the seventh, but she wouldn't get any further than second base.
* PSU stranded a leadoff single in the bottom of the frame to force extra innings.
* Emerson gave Plymouth the lead in the eighth as her well-placed bunt scored freshman Lauren Archambault (Rehoboth, Mass.). Classmate Madison Harris (Randolph, Mass.) added to the lead with an RBI triple and senior Kayla Nester (Fairfax, Vt.) made it 6-3 with a sac fly.
* The Falcons loaded the bases with one out and cut the deficit to 6-4 with an infield hit. Another run came home on a ground out, but Miller got the final batter to pop up on the infield to close out the win.
Inside the Numbers (Game Two):
* Senior Kayla Mathieu (Fairfax, Vt.) had a strong start for the Panthers, striking out four and allowing just one earned run over six innings, but she did not get a decision.
* Miller gave up a pair of runs over the final two innings (one earned) to get the win to move to 6-5.
* Landers (single, double) and Butler (two singles) both had two-hit games. Landers scored twice while Butler scored once and drove in two.
* Harris had the big triple, while Deyo and Nester both singled.
* The Panthers are 42-15-1 all-time against Fitchburg.
* PSU faces Castleton on Sunday (Apr. 7) in a Little East Conference double header played on the campus of the University of Southern Maine. The games were moved due to unplayable field conditions at Castleton. First pitch for game one is set for 12:00 p.m.
* Fitchburg hosts MCLA for a MASCAC twin bill on Saturday (Apr. 6) with games at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
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