MANSFIELD, Conn. - Playing for the first time in nine days, the Keene State College softball team dropped both ends of a Little East Conference doubleheader, falling by scores of 1-0 in eight innings and 6-5 at Eastern Connecticut State University's Washburne Field Thursday evening.
- Keene State: 10-18, 5-7 LEC
- Eastern Connecticut: 25-9, 10-4 LEC
How It Happened - Game One
Keene State managed just one hit against Morgan Bolduk while being sent to an extra-inning loss in the opener. The Owls' lone base hit came off the bat of Cassie Woods, who singled to lead off the fourth inning. Eastern Connecticut got one single from five different people, and were likewise shut down by KSC pitcher Molly St. Germain until the eighth inning.
The threats were hard to come by throughout the contest, as the teams combined to strand just four baserunners on the afternoon. ECSU's Alexis Tyrrell became the first player on either side to reach, as she singled with one down in the third, but was immediately thrown out trying to steal second by Lauren Rousseau. Votto led off the next half inning with a single of her own, but the next three went down in order. Keene State's best chance to score in the game came in the top of the fifth, as Rousseau reached on an error and Alexis Blanchette followed with a walk before both moved up, but a caught stealing and a grounder to short prevented the Owls from breaking through. Nobody got on base after that until Jackie Lewis' one-out base hit in the seventh put the winning run on for the Warriors, but St. Germain got out of trouble and sent the game to extras by inducing a fly to right and a pop out to third. Keene State put their leadoff batter on in the eighth after Blanchette reached on an error, but the Owls stranded Olivia McGrath, who reached on a fielder's choice, later in the inning. Eastern won the game in the bottom half of the inning before KSC could get an out, as Sara Pisanelli started the frame with a single and pinch-runner Laura Zenk moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on consecutive base hits from Sabrina LeMere and Megan Hodgdon.
St. Germain (5-9) tossed seven innings and whiffed two while allowing just one run and five hits, but took the loss. Bolduk improved to 11-0 after striking out six in eight innings.
How It Happened - Game Two
The Owls got the offense going in the second game, taking a 4-1 lead in the top of the second, but the Warriors later scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth to come from behind and win 6-5 to complete the sweep. Blanchette doubled and drove in two runs in a 2-for-3 showing, while Emma Pede went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Votto had a run-scoring double and a walk. Bolduk had three hits in three at-bats at the plate for ECSU.
The teams exchanged runs in the first inning, as Pede's single to center scored Woods, and the Warriors answered with Pisanelli's RBI groundout that scored Bolduk after her single and an error on Tyrrell's grounder started the frame. KSC broke ahead 4-1 in the top of the second as the first four batters reached. Rousseau started things with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on Votto's two-bagger to left. Blanchette then did the same, trading places with Votto as the Owls went ahead 3-1. Meghan Moran followed with a base hit of her own to put runners on first and third, and Kylie Frank cashed in a fourth run on a fielder's choice grounder.
Eastern Connecticut quickly responded in their half of the inning, scoring twice with two outs on singles from Calli Duthrie and Bolduk to draw within 4-3, but Keene State hit back with a two-out run of their own in the third, as Blanchette's single to right scored Pede, who reached on a miscue to lead off the inning. Votto also walked with two down to help set up the rally, but was thrown out at third on the run-scoring hit to end the frame. McGrath entered in the circle in the bottom of the third and stranded two to keep the score at 5-3 for the moment, but the Warriors scored single runs in each of their next three turns, going ahead for the first time in the game in the bottom of the sixth. Bolduk's infield single to short in the fourth trimmed the home team's deficit to one run, and the game was tied in the fifth after Kat Devolve's base hit to right made it 5-5. A single, sacrifice bunt, and double from Tyrrell delivered ECSU the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Now trailing 6-5, St. Germain kept the Owls' hopes alive with a single to left with two down in the seventh, but a grounder to first ended the game. KSC had just two baserunners over the final four innings.
St. Germain (5-10) entered in the fifth and wound up taking the loss after pitching the final two innings. Morgan Sanson (7-4) pitched four innings and allowed one unearned run while striking out three to get the win, while Bolduk got her third save after allowing one hit in two innings.
Around the Horn
- Six of KSC's last seven losses have been by one run.
- The Owls slip into a tie for sixth place with Western Connecticut State University in the crowded conference standings with four games remaining. KSC (5-7) is still just one game out of fourth, as the four through nine spots in the league are separated by just three games.
- Keene State visits first-place UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, April 27 for a doubleheader starting at 1:00 pm.
- Eastern Connecticut goes to Plymouth State University for a pair of key games on the same day and time.