KEENE, N.H. – A complete game shutout by Molly St. Germain helped lead the Keene State College softball team to a 1-0 victory over UMass Boston in the first game of a conference doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex. The Beacons took a back-and-forth second game 8-6.
- Keene State: 9-19, 5-7 LEC
- UMass Boston: 12-22, 4-8 LEC
How It Happened – Game One
St. Germain (6-9) went the distance in the circle and Julie Elwell drove in the only run the Owls would need as they took the opener. St. Germain also reached base three times with two hits at the plate. Cassie Woods was 2-for-2, while Kristin Boduch and Shae Crosby each recorded a base hit. The Beacons were held to just three hits, one a double from Taylor Pawlina.
The pitcher's duel was evident early on as both teams went down in order in the first inning. UMass Boston also did so in the second before KSC struck for what proved to be the only run of the game in their half of that inning. St. Germain helped her own cause, singling with one out. She moved up to second on a fielder's choice and stole third with two down later in the inning. That proved to be important, as St. Germain then scored on Elwell's infield single down the third base line for a 1-0 lead. A popup from Woods fell in between several Beacon players and the Owls looked to push across a second run, but Lauren Rousseau was thrown out at the plate.
UMB looked to answer when Pawlina's double started the third, but a pop out and two strikeouts ended that threat quickly. Keene State had an opportunity to widen their lead in the bottom half of that inning when they had the bases full with two down, but a strikeout prevented that.
It did not much matter, though, as St. Germain remained in control, never letting UMass Boston put together any sustained rallies. In the fourth, the Beacons had a runner on third after Roxanne Vento singled with one down and moved to second on a groundout before stealing third, but a routine bouncer to second ended the inning and kept Keene State up 1-0.
The Beacons only managed one baserunner the rest of the way, and that came on Kelly Danahy's two-out single to center in the sixth. She did not advance any further. St. Germain then finished the game with an exclamation point, striking out the side in the seventh.
How It Happened – Game Two
In a much higher-scoring second game, UMass Boston's five run sixth inning proved to be the difference in an 8-6 win. Rousseau led Keene State's offense, going 2-for-4 with a three-run home run, the first of her collegiate career. St. Germain remained hot at the plate, going 3-for-4 and scoring twice, while Crosby, Olivia Indorf, Courtney Votto, and Elwell each had a pair of hits. Vento had two hits for UMass Boston, including a grand slam to drive in four runs.
After a quick first inning, it was the Beacons who scored first in the second game. Three consecutive singles broke the ice in the second inning before, later in the frame, a run-scoring base hit from Cassidy Gaeta and a bases loaded walk from Drew Washington made it 3-0.
The Owls answered, tying the game with single runs in the second, third and fourth innings. In the second, St. Germain's base hit was cashed in when Votto doubled to the left center gap. Indorf's sacrifice fly in the next frame brought KSC within 3-2 before the Owls tied it in the fourth when Boduch took ball four with the bases loaded.
From there, it was a game of big swings in momentum. UMass Boston had runners on second and third with nobody out in the fifth looking to retake the lead, but St. Germain retired the next three including a strikeout of Gaeta to escape the jam. Keene State capitalized in their half of the same inning, as base hits from Indorf and St. Germain preceded a three-run blast to left from Rousseau that put the Owls in front 6-3. KSC had a chance for more, as the next two reached following the home run, but both were stranded.
The Beacons retaliated with a big swing in the sixth. Two singles started the inning and an error then allowed one run to score, bringing UMB within two. After another hit loaded the bases, Vento cleared them with a game-changing grand slam to right center.
Trailing 8-6, Keene State put the tying run on base with two down in the sixth, but a strikeout and an infield popup ended that threat. The Owls brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh after Elwell singled through the left side, but Jess Greenspan (6-13) induced a ground ball and a fly out to preserve the win for UMass Boston.
Olivia McGrath started for KSC and pitched the first inning before St. Germain (6-10) came in and finished the rest of the game.
Around the Horn
- St. Germain now has 14 complete games on the season, including two shutouts. She is four complete games away from a tenth place tie for most in a season.
- The Owls currently have four qualified hitters with batting averages of .333 or better.
- Playoff permutations: With the split, Keene State remains one game ahead of the Beacons for the sixth and final playoff spot with just two games remaining. The Owls will need to at least match what the Beacons do in their final two Little East games on Saturday in order to clinch a spot in the conference tournament. Keene State travels to Eastern Connecticut that day, while UMB has home games against Rhode Island College.
- Weather permitting, Keene State will have another home twin bill tomorrow, April 25, against Springfield at 3:30 pm. Check keeneowls.com for updates.
- UMass Boston is scheduled to entertain Salve Regina for a doubleheader that also begins at 3:30 pm tomorrow.