No. 3 Eastern Conn. State Downs Softball In Doubleheader Sweep

BOSTON, Mass. -- Eastern Connecticut State University's pitching carried the day, as pitchers Molly Rathbun and Kassondra Silva each combined to shut out the Beacons in both ends of the team's Little East Conference doubleheader at the UMass Boston Softball Field. The third ranked Warriors (23-1, 6-0) won the first game 6-0 behind a one-hitter from Rathbun, before beating the Beacons (13-11, 1-5) 7-0 in the second game.

Senior shortstop Sue Killilea (Abington, Mass.) was the lone Beacon to record multiple hits in the doubleheader. She broke up Rathbun's no-hit bid in the top of the seventh of the first game with a triple to center field, before knocking out two singles in the second game. The Beacons managed just eight baserunners on the day.

In the first game, Rathbun was dominant, striking out 17 of the 22 batters she faced and allowed just the lone hit to Killilea. She also added two hits in five trips to the plate. Sophomore shortstop Megan Godwin was the offensive star for the Warriors, with a perfect 4-for-4 day with three RBI and a run scored.

In the circle for the Beacons, senior Kara Willis (Burrillville, R.I.) allowed six earned runs in seven innings while striking out three.

UMass Boston was within striking distance for the first several innings, as Willis kept the Warriors scoreless in the first and then allowed jut a single run in the next four innings. But the Beacons could do get anything going against Rathbun who struck out 10 of the first 12 UMass Boston hitters.

Godwin put the game away in the seventh with a two-run homer to left-field that gave the Warriors a 6-0 lead.

But with the Beacons facing a no-hitter in the seventh, Killilea fell behind 1-2 before blasting a deep fly ball to center field. Center fielder Mattie Brett twisted and turned and failed to come up with the ball as it hit the bottom of the fencing and Killilea raced into third base standing up. The next three Beacons failed to drive her in, as Rathbun was able to retire the next three batters in order to earn the win.

In the second game, UMass Boston connected showed some signs of offensive spark, but were unable to get anything going against Silva who moved to 7-0. The junior struck out three and allowed just five hits and two walks over seven innings. She also chipped in offensively with a 2-for-4 day with three RBI.

For the Beacons, Killilea recorded two hits for the team, while senior Maria Nasta (Andover, Mass.) chipped in with a hit and a walk. Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) and Lauren Perra (Taunton, Mass.) also added hits for the Beacons.

Freshmen pitcher Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) earned just her second loss in her last eight starts, by alowing seven runs, four earned, over seven innings. Zullo gave up just seven hits, but walked four against one strikeout.

The teams were scoreless for the first two frames, before ECSU scratched across a run in the top of the third. Godwin walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, before coming in to score on a hard-hit single by Rathbun.

UMass Boston challenged with a scoring threat in the bottom of the inning, when senior Jaci Goodwin (Melrose, Mass.) walked and advanced to third on a single from Nasta with one out. After Nasta advanced to second on a groundout from Amanda Perry (Worcester, Mass.), Hemstock sent a flare towards the right side but the Warriors second baseman tracked it down to end the inning.

Eastern Connecticut posted three unearned runs in the fourth inning off of two Beacon errors, and extended the lead to 5-0 in the sixth when Silva drove in Mattie Brett with a single. They Warriors finished the scoring on a two RBI single from Silva to earn a 7-0 lead.

UMass Boston put together a rally in the bottom of the seventh, but it unfortunately fell just short. With Perra on first and two outs, Lisa Polsonetti (Revere, Mass.) struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but dashed down to first base before the catcher could throw her out. Killilea then hit a grounder down to second base and beat the throw, as the second baseman fell to her knees. Unfortunately the Warriors managed to close out the final frame and secure the sweep with the game's final out, a groundout to short.

The Beacons will be back in action on Wednesday when they host Keene State College at 3:30 p.m. in a Little East Conference doubleheader.