BOSTON, Mass.—Plymouth State University used a pair of big sixth innings, to earn a sweep over host UMass Boston softball on Little East Conference Opening Day.
Plymouth State 4, UMass Boston 2
Plymouth State 6, UMass Boston 2
(UMass Boston 7-7, Little East 0-2)
(Plymouth State 7-7, Little East 2-0)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Plymouth State struck for nine of their 10 runs in the two sixth innings to earn a sweep in a rematch of the 2017 and 2018 LEC Championship Series. UMass Boston held the lead or were tied for the first five innings in both games, but couldn't overcome the deficits in either game.
Senior Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) paced the Beacons with five hits in seven at-bats. She also tacked on two runs scored, two doubles and an RBI.
GAME ONE RECAP
Jen Landers belted a go-ahead, two-run double to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead and Caitlyn Miller closed it out to give the Panthers a game-one win.
In the circle, Miller allowed seven hits and two runs (one earned), while striking out six for the Panthers.
For the Beacons, Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) was the tough-luck loser. The junior allowed four runs (all in the sixth), to go along with six hits and two walks.
UMass Boston took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Vento reached on a two-out, infield single and moved to second on a throwing error on the play. Pawlina followed with an RBI single to left field to make it 1-0 after one.
The Beacons doubled their lead in the third. After Giovanna Bonilla (Queens, N.Y.) reached on a two-out bunt single, Vento followed with a double to the wall in right field to score Bonilla all the way from first.
Miller would shut the Beacons down from there though and the Panthers were finally able to get a rally going into the sixth.
Plymouth State loaded the bases to start the sixth on a pair of walks and an infield single. Mel Goss followed with an RBI single and the Panthers tied the game on a fielder's choice where the Beacons were unable to get an out. Landers followed with a double to right field to give Plymouth State a 4-2 advantage.
The damage could have been even worse, if not for a pair of strong defensive plays. Pawlina and Vento combined for a double play on a fly out to right, with Vento making a nice scoop and tag to get the runner at the plate. The next batter hit a hard line drive but right at Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) to end the inning.
UMass Boston added one more great defensive play in the seventh, as Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) made a diving catch at the left-field fence to close out the top of the seventh.
UMass Boston brought the tying runner to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but Miller recorded a groundout and a strikeout to end the game.
GAME TWO RECAP
Plymouth State took advantage of three Beacons errors in the sixth inning to erupt for five runs and the Beacons were never able to bounce back.
Kelly Danahy (Kingston, Mass.) led four Beacons with two hits, as she finished 2-3 with two RBI and a double. Bonilla and Vento added two hits and a run scored apiece, while Pawlina tacked on two hits in three at-bats.
Freshman Hayley Catania (Amesbury, Mass.) was phenomenal through the first five innings but fell victim to poor defense behind her in the fifth. She went 5.2 innings and allowed eight hits, six runs (three earned). Fellow freshman Jayla Blackmon (Cambridge, Mass.) went the final 1.1 innings in relief and allowed one hit and struck out one.
Plymouth State's Kayla Mathieu earned the win after allowing nine hits and two runs over five innings. Miller came on for the final two frames and struck out three, while allowing one hit.
Ashley Deyo recorded a team-best three hits, while Madison Harris registered two hits and her first career home run.
After leaving runners on in the first and second, UMass Boston took their first lead in the third inning. Bonilla and Vento recorded back-to-back singles and Danahy came through with a two-out RBI single to score Vento.
Plymouth State answered back right away, as Harris belted a two-out home run to dead center.
UMass Boston grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the fifth. Bonilla and Vento singled to put two on with two outs and Danahy laced a double to the wall to score Bonilla, but the Panthers threw out Pawlina on a bang-bang play at home.
Plymouth State answered back right away with five runs in the top of the sixth. The Panthers loaded the bases after a walk and a pair of infield singles. Goss followed with an RBI single to left to tie the game and then the Panthers scored two runs on a sacrifice fly, when the Beacons dropped the relay throw.
The Panthers added on two more unearned runs after an error on a groundball and an error on a potential run down that could have ended the inning.
Miller allowed just one hit, a double from Tori Dicenso (Lynn, Mass.), over the final two innings to close out the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Vento extended her hitting streak to six games and is now second in the Little East with her .543 batting average.
- The Beacons committed four errors in the doubleheader, while Plymouth State was charged with just one defensive miscue.
- With the wins, UMass Boston is now 6-5 against their rivals over the past three seasons. UMass Boston holds a 4-1 mark against the Panthers in the past two postseasons.
- Seven Beacons freshman made their collegiate home debuts in the doubleheader.
The Beacons will look to bounce back, when they travel to Salve Regina University for a non-conference doubleheader on Tuesday at 4 and 6 p.m.