KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Meghan Moran's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning helped the Keene State College softball team manage a split of their Thursday doubleheader, as they beat Newbury College 4-3 in nine innings at the Fortune Road Complex. The Owls fell to Westminster College (Pa.) 8-6 earlier in the day.
- Keene State: 3-5
- Westminster (Pa.): 4-3
- Newbury: 1-6
How It Happened - Westminster (Pa.)
KSC got off to a strong start in the day's opening game, taking a 4-0 lead after two innings, but the Titans scored in each of the next four frames to turn the tables. Lauren Rousseau tripled in a 3-for-4 effort. She also drove in two runs and scored twice. Courtney Votto was 3-for-4 with a double and run scored, while Kylie Frank and Cassie Woods each had a pair of hits.
The Owls were on the board right away, as Julie Elwell and Frank each singled to start the game and eventually scored on Rousseau's triple to center. Rousseau eventually scored herself on a passed ball for a 3-0 lead. Molly St. Germain, who went the distance in the circle, helped her own cause with an RBI single in the second that made it a four-run lead for KSC. Meanwhile, she retired the first six Westminster hitters before Cheyenne Shifflett led off the third with a single. The Titans went on to slice their deficit in half in the same inning after Alexis Brinza's two-run double made it 4-2. Westminster got within one in the fourth inning and took the lead in the bottom of the fifth after KSC threatened in the top half but did not score. Lauren McNany tied the game 4-4 with a two-out RBI double, and the Titans tallied two more to lead 6-4 after five. Woods led off KSC's half of the sixth with an infield single to bring the tying run to the plate, but the Owls went down 1-2-3 after that and Westminster added insurance in their next turn. RBI singles from Brinza and Madison Brown provided the Titans an 8-4 edge, and that proved to be big, as KSC put up two runs in the seventh, but could not get any closer.
St. Germain (1-3) fanned eight over six innings, but took the loss. Brown (1-2) also pitched a complete game to get the win.
How It Happened - Newbury
In a low-scoring contest, Keene State rallied for a split by plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth. Brooke Arruda went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Votto added two more hits (2-4) and a run. Frank was 1-for-4 with an RBI and stolen base.
The Owls took an early lead in the second when Arruda and Votto kicked off the frame with singles. Moran bounced into a fielder's choice to force Arruda out at third, but then Moran and Votto executed a double steal, which paid dividends when Alexis Blanchette drove home a run with a grounder to second to make it 1-0. The Nighthawks immediately tied the game in the top of the third when Averi Johnson's leadoff single eventually came around to score. Neither team mounted a significant threat again until KSC in their half of the fifth, as Katelyn Hill led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch before stealing third. Frank brought her home with a grounder to short as the Owls reassumed a 2-1 lead. Once again, Newbury answered. Three consecutive base hits tied the game at two, and the Nighthawks threatened for more, loading the bases with one out, but Olivia McGrath got out of it, getting an infield fly before striking out Johnson looking to escape. Neither team scored again until the ninth, with Newbury going up 3-2 on Johnson's infield single that scored Kiana Hinson, who was placed on second to start the frame. It was the first time the Nighthawks led in the game, but KSC responded in the bottom of the ninth. Emma Pede was placed on second and scored on Arruda's single to center. Votto followed with a base hit to put runners on first and second, and Moran was the hero, bringing home Arruda with a walk-off single down the third base line.
McGrath (1-2) allowed just two runs (one earned) over five innings and struck out five to get the win. Hinson (1-3) was dealt the loss despite a complete game effort.
Around the Horn
- The game against Newbury was KSC's second extra inning contest this season, as the Owls outlasted Webster University 13-11 in eight innings on March 11.
- The five strikeouts in the second game marked a career best for McGrath.
- Votto is 13-for-24 in the early going this season, while Frank is 12-for-28. Both have driven in a team-best six runs.
- Keene State had never taken on either school before, marking the sixth and seventh first-time meetings on the trip.
- Keene State closes their Florida trip with a pair of games Friday in Kissimmee. The Owls take on Washington College at 9:15 am and Wisconsin Lutheran College at 1:45 pm.
- Westminster has matchups with Kean University and Husson University tomorrow.
- Newbury plays Montclair State University at 4:00 pm today to close their time in Florida and does not play again until March 20 after.