MANSFIELD, Conn. – The Keene State College softball team dropped both ends of their final conference doubleheader of the season, falling to Eastern Connecticut State University 1-0 and 10-2 on Saturday afternoon at Eastern Stadium.
- Keene State: 9-21, 5-9 LEC
- Eastern Connecticut: 17-18, 10-4 LEC
How It Happened – Game One
A single unearned run proved to be the difference as Eastern Connecticut squeezed out a 1-0 victory in the opener. Molly St. Germain and ECSU starter Morgan Bolduk mostly traded zeroes, with the only blemish turning out to be the game decider. Keene State managed just three singles, one each from JoEllen Racicot, Courtney Votto, and Brittany DaMota. Alexis Tyrrell drove in the only run of the game for Eastern, while Morgan Bolduk had a pair of hits.
The Owls got a leadoff single to start the game from Racicot, who then moved up to second on Shae Crosby's sacrifice and third on a wild pitch, but a grounder ended the threat. The Warriors did the same in the first, getting a single from Bolduk and a sac bunt to move her up, but St. Germain got out of trouble with a strikeout and a grounder.
Julie Elwell reached on an error to start Keene State's third and eventually stole second with two down, but the Owls still could not crack the scoreboard. Neither could the Warriors, as a two-on and two-out situation in their half of the inning yielded nothing. Both teams left two on in the fourth as well, but Eastern struck first with two down in their half of the fifth. A strikeout and fly out started the inning, which was then prolonged when Bolduk reached on an error and eventually stole second. That came back to haunt the Owls, as Tyrrell's single up the middle plated Bolduk for a 1-0 Warriors lead.
After going down in order in the sixth, Keene State put the tying run on first in the seventh when DaMota singled with two down, but a strikeout ended the game as ECSU prevailed in the pitcher's duel.
St. Germain (6-11) took the tough-luck loss for Keene State, going all six innings and striking out two while only allowing an unearned run. Bolduk (10-8) also went the distance, picking up the win for the Warriors.
How It Happened – Game Two
Eastern Connecticut scored six times in the final two innings to break open what was a close game and complete the sweep. Votto had two hits, including a double, to lead KSC's offense. Elwell also had a pair of hits and drove in a run, while Lauren Rousseau doubled. Sabrina LeMere went 4-for-4 for the Warriors, while Sara Pisanelli, Bolduk, and Jackie Lewis each drove in multiple runs.
ECSU was on the board quickly when Bolduk cranked a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first. The Warriors had a chance for more, putting runners on second and third with two down, but a grounder to short ended the frame. Keene State evened the score at one in the very next half inning, as Votto doubled to kick things off and eventually came home on Elwell's bunt single with two down.
A two-out rally in Eastern's half of the second put them right back in front. Bolduk and Tyrrell each took ball four before Pisanelli scored both with a ground ball single to right that put ECSU up 3-1.
The Owls threatened in the third, putting two on after the first two were retired, but were unable to cash in. They did, however, in the next inning, as Rousseau led off with a double and eventually scored on DaMota's RBI ground out as KSC got within one (3-2). The Owls put the tying run in scoring position after Elwell singled to left and later stole second, but a bouncer ended the frame.
Eastern answered the Owls' run in their half of the same inning, as Bolduk drove home Christine Guyette for a 4-2 lead. The Warriors blew the game open in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, two-out singles from LeMere and Lewis started a rally that resulted in ECSU scoring twice more. Leading 6-2, the Warriors ended the game with a four-run sixth. Pisanelli drove home one with a run-scoring double and, later in the frame, Lewis scored a pair with a two-bagger of her own that made it 9-2. The Warriors added one more later in the inning to end the game via run rule.
St. Germain (6-12) started again for the Owls, going the first two innings to take the loss. Haleigh Cardello (2-3) picked up the win in relief for Eastern Connecticut.
Around the Horn
- St. Germain currently has 249 career strikeouts. She now sits in eighth on the all-time strikeouts list, but needs just nine more to be alone in sixth.
- With the loss, Keene State is eliminated from the conference tournament. The Owls needed to at least match what UMass Boston did today, but the Beacons wound up splitting their doubleheader with Rhode Island College (winning the second game) and KSC fell twice. It is the first time the Owls have not made the conference tournament.
- Keene State will conclude their season with a home doubleheader against Westfield State tomorrow, April 29, at 2:00 pm.
- Eastern Connecticut also has a non-conference twin bill tomorrow. The Warriors will host Salve Regina at 12:00 pm.