DARTMOUTH, Mass.—Behind a three-hit shutout from junior Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.), #5 UMass Boston softball "upset" #2 Plymouth State University in the opening round of the Little East Conference Tournament for the second-straight season.
#5 UMass Boston 2, #2 Plymouth State 0
(UMass Boston 22-18)
(Plymouth State 20-17)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two-time defending LEC Tournament Champions used the right-arm of Greenspan and a trio of Panthers miscues to move into the winner's bracket. With the win, #5 UMass Boston awaits the winner of #3 Eastern Connecticut State University and #4 University of Southern Maine on Friday at Noon in game five of the 2019 LEC Tournament.
Greenspan was phenomenal, in earning her second-career postseason shutout. She allowed just three hits and two walks, and struck out one over seven innings.
Offensively, the Beacons managed just three hits and one walk, but made the most of them. Sophomore Tori Dicenso (Lynn, Mass.) led the Beacons with a pair of singles. Senior Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) added a single and Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) and Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) each scored a run.
Kelly Danahy (Kingston, Mass.) recorded the Beacons' lone RBI and the team's only walk.
Plymouth State ace Caitlyn Miller took the loss, after scattering three hits, one walk and two unearned runs over seven innings.
Debra Morrill was the lone Panther to reach twice, as the leadoff hitter recorded a walk and a single.
UMass Boston had their first chance to score in the second, when Pawlina led off with a single and moved to second on an Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) sac-bunt. Miller settled in and recorded a strikeout and a groundout to get out of the inning.
Plymouth put a runner on in each of the first four frames against Greenspan, but couldn't come through against Greenspan. In the fourth inning, Samantha Cushing singled with one out, but Greenspan induced a grounder back to the circle to the next batter and started a 1-6-3 double play to keep Plymouth State off the board.
The Beacons took the lead in the top of the fifth. Bilotta was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a groundout. UMass Boston thought they should have runners on the corners with one out on the next play, but the umpires claimed that Bilotta made contact with the fielder and ruled her out. Dicenso kept the inning going with a two-out single that moved Tulley all the way up to third base. After a walk to Danahy loaded the bases, pinch hitter Drew Washington (Bordentown, N.J.) hit a soft grounder in front of the plate and raced down the line, to force an errant error by the pitcher-that allowed Tulley to score.
UMass Boston tacked on a key insurance run in the seventh. Prusmack reached on an error, stole second and took third on a one-out single by Dicenso. Danahy popped up to the edge of the outfield grass, but the second baseman dropped it-to allow Prusmack to race home.
Greenspan retired the Panthers in order in the seventh inning to close out the victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston and Plymouth State have met in each of the past two LEC Championship Series. The Beacons have now won five-straight postseason meetings against the Panthers and are 5-1 overall against Plymouth State over the past three tournaments.
- Greenspan improved to 8-0, with one save in 10 career LEC Tournament appearances. She has allowed two or fewer runs in four of her 10 career appearances.
- With the win, UMass Boston improves to 13-3 in the LEC Tournament over the past four seasons and 14-11 overall in LEC Tournament play.
- Dicenso's two hits were her first two collegiate postseason hits. Last season, she went 0-2 in two pinch-hit at-bats during the LEC Tournament.
- With the win, UMass Boston snapped their season-long, four-game losing streak.
- The 2019 Beacons are now tied for third in program history with their 22 wins in a single-season. Only the 2011 team (24 wins) and 2017 team (30 wins) have won more games than this year's team.
#5 UMass Boston will play on Friday at Noon in the second game of the day and fifth overall game of the LEC Tournament. The Beacons will take on the winner of Thursday's third game, between #3 Eastern Connecticut State University and #4 University of Southern Maine.