Emerson, Butler, Miller lead Panthers to another win
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Senior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) hit her first collegiate home run, junior Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.) had her first career four-hit game and classmate Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) tossed a complete game shutout as Plymouth State University topped the University of Southern Maine, 6-0, to advance to day three of the Little East Conference (LEC) softball tournament at UMD Softball Complex on the campus of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Friday.
Emerson smacked a first inning homer over the fence in left field to spark a three-run rally and the Panthers never looked back. Miller's only real trouble came in the top of the fourth when the Huskies loaded the bases with one down, but a strikeout and soft liner ended the threat. PSU would tack on a single run in the bottom of the frame and two more in the fifth and Miller cruised the rest of the way.
The Panthers improve to 22-17 on the year and have gone 5-1 in their last six elimination games dating back to last season. PSU will face Eastern Connecticut State University – unbeaten in the tournament thus far – on Saturday (May 4) for a chance to advance to the championship game for the third straight year.
Southern Maine wraps up its season with a 22-18 mark.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 6, Southern Maine 0
Plymouth State (22-17)
Southern Maine (22-18)
How it Happened:
* The Huskies threatened in the top of the first, wrapping a pair of singles around a strikeout. PSU nearly turned a double play on a ground ball to short, but the batter beat it out to put runners on the corners with two down, and Miller struck out the next hitter.
* For the second straight game the Panthers got a first inning run as Emerson launched a home run to left for a 1-0 lead. Senior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) followed with a walk and freshman Madison Harris (Randolph, Mass.) dropped a single on the left field line. A ground out moved the runners into scoring position and senior Mel Goss (Templeton, Mass.) reached on an error that scored two runs.
* PSU extended the inning with a Butler single and a walk, but the Huskies got the final out on a comebacker to avoid further damage.
* Despite some long at bats, Miller retired the side in order in both the second and third innings.
* Walks to Harris and Goss and another Butler single loaded the bases for PSU with one down in the bottom of the third, but an infield popup and foul out left the bases jammed.
* USM's best opportunity came with one down in the fourth. The Huskies got back-to-back singles, followed by a walk, to load the bases but Miller got out of the jam with a strikeout and soft liner to third.
* PSU added to its lead in the bottom of the frame. Senior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) singled down the left field line, stole second with two out and came home on Harris' RBI single.
* The Panthers plated two more in the fifth to extend the lead to 6-0. Goss, Butler and senior Lindsey Hall (Midlothian, Va.) all singled to load the bases. Goss was cut down at the plate attempting to score on a wild pitch, but the trail runners advanced. Pinch hitter Hannah Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) worked a walk to reload the bases and two runs came home when Morrill reached on an error.
* Southern Maine got a leadoff single to start the sixth, but the next three batters all popped up on the infield and Miller retired the Huskies in order in the seventh – with Morrill making a beautiful diving catch for the second out – to close out the win.
Inside the Numbers:
* Miller allowed just six hits while striking out four to earn the shutout win and improve to 14-8. She has yet to allow an earned run over 15.0 innings in the LEC Tournament, giving up just nine hits while striking out nine.
* Since being shutout in the tournament opener, the Panthers have outscored their opponents by a 12-2 margin.
* Butler had her first career four-hit game, while Harris finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and also reached on a walk. Goss (single, two walks) was also on base three times.
* After limiting the Panthers to two runs over seven innings during the regular season, Southern Maine starter Alexis Brown (Malden, Mass.) surrendered three runs (one earned) and walked four over three innings to fall to 11-7.
* Plymouth State advances to face Eastern Connecticut State University on Saturday (May 4) at 1:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the championship game.
* The loss ends the Huskies' season.
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