April 16, 2013

Late Game Two Rally Pushes Keene State To Sweep Of Softball

KEENE, N.H.—Despite a terrific pitching performance from sophomore Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) in game one, Keene State College swept visiting UMass Boston in a Little East Conference doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at the Owl Athletic Complex.

Zullo allowed three hits and two runs in the first inning, before holding the Owls hitless over the course of the next six innings, in a 2-0 loss in the opener. Keene State College earned the sweep thanks to a three-run bottom of the seventh in their 7-6 comeback victory over UMB 

The pair of losses drops UMass Boston to 10-20 and 2-6 in Little East Play, while Keene State moved to 14-9 overall and 4-2 in conference play.

Junior Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) and sophomores Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) and Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) all finished with three hits each for UMB, who were held to six runs and 16 hits on the day, after recording 26 runs and 37 hits in a doubleheader sweep of UMass Dartmouth Saturday.

Game One: Keene State College 2, UMass Boston 0

In a matchup of two of the top young starters in the Little East, freshman Mariah Crisp outdueled Zullo in a 2-0 pitcher's duel.

The Owls' freshman ace allowed three hits and struck out 13 in a complete-game shutout to move to 10-3 on the year. Crisp allowed just five total baserunners on the day and struck out at least one batter in every inning.

Zullo was almost good, retiring 16 of the final 17 batters she faced, after giving up two singles and a double in the bottom of the first. After Nicole Dupuis' RBI single put the Owls ahead 2-0, Zullo allowed only one Owl to reach base (a hit batsman), while striking out two Keene State batters.

Natalia Bouyea (East Longmeadow, Mass.), Kelsey Souza (Braintree, Mass.) and Bove provided all the UMB offense with a single apiece.

Jessica Fiorenza provided the big hit for Keene State with a one out RBI double and came in to score on a Dupuis single with two down.

The Beacons only real threat came in the top of the sixth when they loaded the bases with two down. Bove led off the inning with a line drive single that deflected off of Crisp's glove, just barely missing the pitcher's head. Taryn Asta (Marshfield, Mass.) reach on a Crisp error and stole second and Hemstock walked with two outs. But Crisp settled down and struck out Bouyea to end the inning.

Game Two: Keene State College 7, UMass Boston 6

The second game proved to be a barn-burner compared to the first, as the two teams combined for 13 runs, 26 hits and three lead changes.

Vecchiet and Hemstock recorded three hits and a run apiece, while Vecchiet picked up her 16th RBI, to tie Hemstock for the team lead.

Sue Killilea (Abington, Mass.) and Bove added two hits apiece, while Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.), Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Conn.), Souza and Bove all picked one RBI.

Crisp picked up the win in relief for the Owls, shutting the Beacons out for the final 2.1 innings, while striking out six more Beacons.

Freshman Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.) took the loss for the Beacons, after allowing 13 hits and seven earned runs-all of which came in the fourth or seventh innings.

UMass Boston took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Killilea led off with a single, moved over to second on an Asta sacrifice bunt and raced home on a Vecchiet RBI single to left field/  

The Beacons pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fourth, when UMass Boston capitalized on a walk, an error and two base hits. With runners on second and third and one out, Svenson drove in Bouyea from third base with an RBI groundout to second. Bove followed with her eighth hit in four games, to score Capra from third base and put UMB ahead 3-0.

Keene State would answer in a huge way in the bottom half of the inning, as the Owls finally got to Gray. 

With runners on first and second and one out, Molly Dussault sent a fly ball to the wall in left field, that was just deep enough to score Meryl Ragaini from second base. Heather Pelletier followed with her first career home run to drive in three, as the Owls grabbed a 4-3 advantage after four innings. 

UMass Boston wouldn't go down lightly though, as four Beacons recorded hits and three runners crossed the plate in the fifth.

With runners on second and third and one down, Souza singled to third base to score Vecchiet and even the game 1-1. Capra followed with an RBI double to plate Hemstock and after a pitching change, Capra came in to score on a wild pitch with two down.

After working herself out of trouble in the fifth and sixth, Gray couldn't put the Owls down in the seventh. Six out of Seven Owls reached base and Stephanie Long secured the sweep with a bases-loaded single and one out. 

UMass Boston will return to action Wednesday afternoon when they host Curry College for a non-conference doubleheader at 3:30 p.m.