Owl Softball sweep Panthers 4-3 and 10-8
PLYMOUTH, N.H. 4/24/12 – The Keene State softball team swept a Little East Conference doubleheader against rival Plymouth State University on Tuesday. The Owls scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the opener 4-3 and outlasted the Panthers 10-8 in a second game slugfest. Senior Haley Chandler (Wakefield, Mass.) had a big day at the plate for KSC, going six-for-eight in the twinbill. "I was feeling really confident. I was staying back and trying to drive the ball to the opposite field," said Chandler. "Both games were close. They were giving us a run for our money in the end, but we were able to get both wins."
Winners of five of its last six games, Keene State improves to 20-7-1 (7-3 LEC). Plymouth State evens its record at 17-17 (6-6 LEC).
Falling behind 2-0 in the first game, the Owls tied the score with single runs in the second and fourth innings. Chandler brought in both runs with an RBI infield single in the second and run-producing hit to right center in the fourth.
The game remained tied until the top of the seventh. Senior Katie Bradford (Lebanon, N.H.) led off the inning with a double and scored on a clutch single to right center by junior Nicole Dupuis (Fitchburg, Mass.). Freshman Jade Morrison (Windham, N.H.) pinch-ran for Dupuis. She went to second on a wild pitch and scored what proved to be the winning run on an error.
Plymouth came back with run in the bottom of the inning, but KSC freshman pitcher Julia Nolan (Litchfield, N.H.) got the final out on a fly ball with a runner on first base.
Chandler and sophomore Ellissa Coburn (Claremont, N.H.) each had three hits for the Owls.
Senior Sara Stocklinski (Newton, N.J.) went the first three innings for KSC before giving way to Nolan who went the final four innings to pick-up the win, improving her record to 4-1. She gave up one run on three hits while striking out a pair and issuing one walk.
In the second game, Keene State jumped out to an 8-0 lead after three innings and had to hang on the victory.
The Owls scored two runs in the first inning on RBI hits from freshman Samantha Nitso (Londonderry, N.H.) and Dupuis. Bradford had a two-run single and senior Laura Chandler (Wakefield, Mass.) and Dupuis brought in a another run with single in a five-run second inning that pushed the Owls' lead up to 7-0. Bradford's run-scoring single in the third made it 8-0. "We were trying to hang on and get to five innings, but they had a few hits here and a few hits there and before you know it they're a couple of runs behind us," said KSC Coach Charlie Beach. "It's never easy."
The Panthers fought back, getting one run in the fifth and five more in the sixth to cut the Owls lead to 8-6. "They started getting some dink hits that we couldn't field," said Haley Chandler.
Keene State got some much needed breathing room when Nitso belted a two-run home run, the first of her college career, in the top of the seventh to give KSC a 10-6 cushion.
The Owls would need the runs. PSU came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Senior Samantha Pratt (Bristol, Conn.) got the final out on a ground out, stranding Panther runners at first and second. It was Pratt's six save of the season.
The top five hitters in the Owls' line-up had at least two hits in the second game. In addition to Haley Chandler, Dupuis had three hits while Bradford, Nitso, Laura Chandler and sophomore Molly Dussault (Weare, N.H.) each finished with two hits. Bradford and Nitso each had three RBIs in the game. KSC had 16 hits in the game.
Senior Emily Albin (Bethel, Conn.) ran into trouble in the sixth inning, but still managed to get the win, improving her record to 8-3. She gave up six runs on seven hits with one strikeout and three walks.
Keene State returns home to face UMass-Dartmouth on Saturday (1 p.m.).