Panthers drop pitcher's duel; face WestConn in elimination game
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – For the second straight year Plymouth State University was nipped in the opening game of the Little East Conference (LEC) softball tournament by the University of Massachusetts Boston, falling 2-0 at the UMD Softball Complex at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Thursday.
Junior pitcher Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) and her counterpart, junior Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.), were locked in a battle from the onset. The duo combined to allow just six hits and three walks, while both runs that scored were unearned.
UMB broke through in the top of the fifth as a run scored when a high throw pulled the Panthers' first baseman off the bag, and the Beacons added a key insurance run in the seventh.
Plymouth State drops to 20-17 and will need to win at least four straight games to capture the program's first tournament title. The Panthers face Western Connecticut State University in an elimination game later today.
UMass Boston improves to 22-18 and next plays on Friday (May 3).
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 0, UMass Boston 2
Plymouth State (20-17)
UMass Boston (22-18)
How it Happened:
* Miller was locked in early, needing just six pitches to get through the top of the first. Senior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) led off the bottom of the inning with a seven-pitch walk and was bunted to second, but back-to-back fly outs ended the inning.
* Both teams had a baserunner in the second. UMB got a leadoff single but Miller stranded her at second, while senior Mel Goss (Templeton, Mass.) drew a one-out walk but was unable to advance.
* Miller worked a one-two-three top of the third and Morrill provided the Panthers with their first hit in the form of a one-out single to center. She moved up to second on a groundout, but was again left in scoring position as Greenspan worked out of trouble.
* With one down in the bottom of the fourth, sophomore Samantha Cushing (Amherst, N.H.) singled to center, but a double play ball ended the frame.
* The Beacons used some luck to take a lead in the fifth. A hit batter put the leadoff runner on and a ground ball moved her to second. The next batter grounded to shortstop and the lead runner collided with junior Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.) and was ruled out for fielder's interference for the second out. A single and walk loaded the bases with two away and pinch hitter Drew Washington (Bordentown, N.J.) dribbled a ball just in front of the plate. Miller fielded and fired to first, but the throw was just high and everyone was safe.
* PSU went down in order in the bottom of the inning, and Miller worked a three-up, three-down top of the sixth. Senior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) singled with two down in the bottom of the frame, but was stranded on an infield popup.
* An error put the Beacons' leadoff hitter on in the top of the seventh. UMB failed to advance the runner on a sacrifice, as the bunt was popped up, but a stolen base and single left runners on the corners. The next batter sent a soft liner toward the middle, but the ball popped out of the second baseman's glove. PSU got the out at second base, but a second run came home to make it 2-0.
* The Panthers went down in order in the bottom of the frame.
Inside the Numbers:
* Morrill, Deyo and Cushing had the three Panthers' hits, while Morrill and Goss took the only walks.
* Sophomore Tori Dicenso (Lynn, Mass.) had a pair of singles for the Beacons, while senior Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) also singled.
* Miller struck out four while allowing just the three singles, one walk and a hit batter on 85 pitches, but fell to 13-8. Both UMB runs were unearned.
* Greenspan was equally impressive, scattering three hits and two walks to improve to 15-8.
* PSU falls to 1-6 all-time against the Beacons in the LEC tournament. Plymouth State also dropped the tournament opener to UMass Boston last year, though the Panthers rebounded to advance to the championship game.
* Plymouth State squares off against No. 6 WestConn in an elimination game at 5:15 p.m. today. The Panthers split their season series with the Colonials, winning 5-1 and falling 1-0.
* The Beacons advance to play game six of the tournament Friday (May 3) at 12:00 p.m. against the winner of No. 3 Eastern Connecticut State University and No. 4 University of Southern Maine.
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