KEENE, N.H. - Needing a pair of wins and some help from around the conference in order to make the Little East tournament that begins Thursday, the Keene State College softball team did their part and now must wait about 24 hours to see if it was enough. The Owls snapped a four-game slide and closed their 2019 home campaign by defeating Rhode Island College 7-6 and 9-5 on Sunday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex.
- Keene State: 12-20, 7-9 LEC
- Rhode Island College: 17-15, 4-10 LEC
How It Happened - Game One
After a scoreless first two innings, the Owls broke out in front in the third with two runs and tacked on five more in the next frame before holding off a rally by RIC in the opener. KSC hit six doubles in the contest, including two each from Cassie Woods and Emma Pede, both of whom had three hits overall. Pede drove in three, while Woods also walked, reaching base in all four of her plate appearances. Courtney Votto and Alexis Blanchette added two-hit afternoons. Amber Wainwright had five RBI for the Anchorwomen.
Keene State never trailed in the doubleheader and took a 2-0 lead in the third of game one after Woods' single and Molly St. Germain's walk were cashed in on Pede's two-run double. Rhode Island College put two on in the fourth looking to answer, but St. Germain got a strikeout and a pop out to get out of trouble, and the Owls blew the game open with five more runs in their half of the inning. A Votto double and Blanchette single started the frame before an error by Wainwright resulted in a run and a 3-0 lead. KSC was far from done, as three consecutive hits, including two doubles, from the top three in the Owl order gave the home team an eight-run lead. St. Germain helped her own cause with a two-run single that sandwiched RBI doubles from Woods and Pede, and Keene State appeared to be in control, up 7-0 after four.
However, RIC did not go quietly, mostly thanks to Wainwright, who got her team on the board in the fifth with a two-run single, and followed with an even bigger hit in the next inning. Trailing 7-2 and with just one runner on with two down in the top of the sixth, a pair of hits and an error helped score a run and load the bases, which were then cleared by Wainwright to suddenly make it a one-run game. St. Germain got out of further trouble and, despite the Owls stranding a pair in the sixth, capped another complete game with a flourish as she struck out the side in the seventh, her sixth, seventh and eighth Ks of the day. St. Germain improved to 6-11. Rhode Island College's Briana Gough (10-7) took the complete game loss.
How It Happened - Game Two
The Owls wasted no time taking charge of the nightcap, scoring three times in the opening inning and once more in the second before blowing the game open with five in the fifth. KSC received two-hit games from four different people, including Woods again (2-3, 2B, R), St. Germain (2-4, RBI, R), Olivia McGrath (2-2, RBI, R), and Lauren Rousseau (2-4, RBI, R). Votto cranked a three-run homer in Keene State's fifth inning uprising.
Keene State was all over RIC starter Erica Fleming (6-6) right from the start, as Woods doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and later scored Blanchette's own two-bagger. A wild pitch and a single up the middle from Rousseau made it 3-0 Owls after one. In the circle, Blanchette cruised through the first three frames, not allowing a hit. The only player to reach in that span was Cristin Chiaverini on an error in the first. Gough's one-out double in the fourth spoiled the no-hitter and put two in scoring position, and both of those runners were plated after a pair of RBI base hits by Erica Fluskey and Kelsey Burgess, chopping the RIC deficit to 4-2. It did not stay that way for long, however, as Keene State erupted for five runs and six hits in the fifth to put the game away. The frame started with five consecutive hits, including three straight singles before Votto's homer to left made it 8-2. Kat Iozzo capped the scoring in the inning with a double that scored Lauren Rousseau, who had followed Votto's dinger with a single.
The Anchorwomen got a pair back in the sixth when Wainwright drove in two more to make it 9-4, but unlike in the first game, the Owls were never seriously threatened after that. Blanchette improved to 3-6 after allowing two runs over the first four innings. Fleming allowed 12 hits and nine runs in her 4 1/3 innings of work for Rhode Island College.
Around the Horn
- Keene State entered the day needing two wins to maintain the chance to keep their season going past Monday, and now needs UMass Dartmouth to sweep Monday's doubleheader against Western Connecticut State University in order to make the conference tournament. The Corsairs need one win to clinch the Little East regular season title. Rhode Island College and Castleton University were eliminated.
- Woods continues to shine in her sophomore campaign, as she now has nine multi-hit games since April 10 and is hitting .438 while reaching base at a .545 clip. That OBP is the best in the conference, while her batting average is the second highest.
- St. Germain's eight strikeouts in the first game tie a season-high done two other times.
- Keene State travels to Westfield State University for a rescheduled non-conference doubleheader tomorrow, April 29 at 1:30 p.m. They will also scoreboard watch, as the key UMD/WCSU twinbill begins at 3:00 p.m.
- Rhode Island College has two unplayed games at Castleton remaining that were previously postponed with a make-up to be announced. The Anchorwomen have now lost 14 straight to Keene State.