MANSFIELD,CONN.5/5/12 – Keene State College was eliminated from the Little East Conference Softball Tournament with a six-inning 8-0 shutout loss to Western Conn. State at the Eastern Softball Field in Mansfield, Conn. on Saturday.
Looking to return to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time since 2007, the Owls (25-10-1) will need to receive an at-large berth to the championship. The bids will be announced on Monday. "We're definitely in contention," but you never know what the committee is thinking," said KSC Coach Charlie Beach.
Top seed Eastern Conn. defeated fifth seed Western Conn. 6-2 to capture its third straight LEC championship and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Keene State's bats were silenced for the second straight game by a strong pitching performance. Senior Magen Dragon (Trumbull, Conn.), who improved her record to 21-8, gave up just four hits while fanning eight and walking two batters. "The bats didn't work, she pitched really well and we had some breaks that didn't go our way," said Beach.
The Owls, who beat WCSU 3-1 earlier in the tournament, couldn't come up with the big hit all game, leaving two runners on base in the first and fifth innings.
The Colonials (29-15) took advantage of their opportunities, manufacturing a run in the first inning and scoring two more times in the second to go up 3-0. Senior Danielle Basciano (Holmes, N.Y.), who went 3-4 with six RBIs, was the hitting star for the Colonials, hitting a two-run double in the second and triple that plated two more runs in the fourth that put Western up 5-0. Basciano ended the game with a two-run double down the left field line in the sixth inning.
Seniors Katie Bradford (Lebanon, N.H.) and junior Jessica Fiorenza (Wakefield, Mass.) each had two hits for the Owls. Keene State's only extra base hit was a double by Fiorenza to leading off the fifth inning.
Keene State captured the LEC tournament in 1999, 2000, 2003, and 2005.