April 21, 2012

Plymouth State Takes a Pair From Softball

BOSTON, Mass. -- Pitching was the key Saturday afternoon and Plymouth State's Nora Galvin proved to be too much for the Beacons (15-15, 2-8) as the Panthers (17-15, 6-4) grabbed a 7-1 win in game one and 6-5 victory in game two of Saturday's Little East Conference doubleheader at the UMass Boston Softball Field.

Galvin won both games for Plymouth State, as she pitched 11 and two-thirds of the 14 inning doubleheader. Over the course of the day, Galvin allowed just one run and eight hits while striking out 14 Beacon batters.

The Beacons were led by junior Sue Killilea (Abington, Mass.) who went 4-for-6 on the day with three extra-base hits. Killilea blasted back-to-back triples in Game One to bring her total to nine on the season and added a double on her way to 14 total bases on the day. Killilea also started at catcher for just the second time all season.

Sophomore second baseman Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) added three hits of her own on the day, while senior third baseman Maria Nasta (Andover, Mass.) crushed her first home run of the season.

In game one, Plymouth State struck for five runs in the first three innings and never looked back behind Galvin.

While Killilea enjoyed a 3-for-3 game with three extra-base hits, the only other Beacons to manage a hit against Galvin were Jaci Goodwin (Melrose, Mass.) and Vecchiet.

Freshman pitcher Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) pitched a complete game for the Beacons allowing seven runs, six earned on 14 hits. Zullo also struck out eight Panthers to tie her season-high.

The Panthers scored two runs in the first on a series of softly hit balls. With runners on second and third with one out, Jackie Digman hit a soft hit ball in the second base hole that Vecchiet couldn't get to in time to make it a 1-0 game. Jackie Digman followed with a single up the middle to make it a 2-0 game, before Zullo got out of the inning. 

Plymouth State added two more in the top of the second, when Jackson doubled and Bove followed with a triple to right field and scored on an overthrow that went into the Beacons dugout.

After the Panthers added one more in the top of the third, UMass Boston scratched across their sole run of the game in the bottom half of the inning. Goodwin became the first Beacons base runner of the day when she walked with one out and Killilea followed with a triple to left center that scored Goodwin easily. Killilea was stranded at third though, as UMass Boston could only make it a 5-1 game after three innings of play.

Neither team scored for the next three innings, as Galvin and Zullo dominated the opposing batters.

In the seventh inning, Plymouth State put together back-to-back singles and a double steal to put two runners in scoring position for Taylor Mancini. Mancini followed with a two-run double to left center to cap off the scoring in game one.

Game two had a much offensive feel to begin, as both coaches pitched a different starter to begin the game.

Freshmen designated player Amanda Perry (Worcester, Mass.) paced the Beacons with two hits and two RBI, while Lisa Polsonetti (Revere, Mass.) and Vecchiet added two hits of their own. 

Senior pitcher Kara Willis (Burrillville, R.I.) got the start for the Beacons but failed to record a batter as she allowed four runs, three earned on three hits and three walks before leaving. Zullo relieved Willis with the bases loaded and proceeded to shut the Panthers rally down, keeping the score at 4-0.

For the game, Zullo (9-7) pitched another complete game, allowing just two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out three hitters but still recorded the loss.

After going down 1,2,3 in the first against freshmen pitcher Cynthia Barata, the Beacons pounded the Panthers pitcher in the second and third inning for five combined runs.

Perry led off the bottom of the second with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Natalia Bouyea (East Longmeadow, Mass.). Polsonetti followed with a double down the left field line to score Perry and make it a 4-1 game. Right fielder Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) tacked on another run when she smashed a single to right-center field to allow Polsonetti to easily score.

In the third inning, Nasta started the rally with a home run to left center field, to tie Perry for the second-most home runs in program history with nine. Vecchiet followed with a single with one out and scampered to third on a seeing-eye single from Killilea that found it's way through the right-side. Perry followed with another big hit, a single to right-center this time, that scored both runner and tied the game at four.

The Perry hit would signal the end the day for Barrata, as Galvin came in in relief. After Bouyea advanced Perry to second with a sacrifice bunt, Polsonetti connected for a single up the middle to score Perry and give the Beacons their lone lead of the day at 5-4.

It wouldn't last long though for UMass Boston. Plymouth State tied the game at five in the top of the fourth and made it a 6-5 game in the top of the fifth. Catcher Sam Hebert led off with a single and Kristina Bove came in to pinch run for her. Bove advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored shortly afterward on a single up the middle from Barata who moved to left field after being taken off the mound.

The Panthers looked like they might score again in the top of the sixth as they put runners on first and second with one out but Bouyea made a fantastic defensive play to keep the game at 6-5. Digman sent a flare to right center field that Bouyea chased after and caught when she dove for the ball just before it landed. Zullo followed with a strikeout to end the frame.  

UMass Boston just couldn't get anything going against Galvin who moved to (9-6) with the win, as they managed singles in the sixth and seventh but failed to get the runner past second base. 

The Beacons will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to take on Southern Maine in a Little East Conference doubleheader.