KEENE, N.H. - Western New England University scored five unanswered runs to post a 6-3 win over the Keene State College softball team in the first game of two as the Owls opened their 2019 home schedule Thursday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex. The Golden Bears also took an early lead and held off the Owls for a 4-2 victory in the nightcap.
- Keene State: 4-10
- Western New England: 11-7
How It Happened - Game One
Keene State scored three times in the bottom of the fourth, but WNE scored single runs in each of the next two frames before putting up four in the sixth to go ahead. Emma Pede was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, while Cassie Woods had a hit and drove in two. Lauren Rousseau went 1-for-2 with a free pass. Four different Golden Bears had multiple hits and six different people had one RBI.
Keene State put two on with one out in the bottom half of the second looking to crack the scoreboard first, but a pop out and fielder's choice ended that threat and neither team mounted any other significant rally over the first three innings as the game remained scoreless. Western New England broke through in the top half of the fourth on Jamie Cookingham's two-out run-scoring single, but KSC hit back immediately in their half of the inning to take the lead. The uprising started with a walk, and the Owls later made it 1-1 on Pede's double that scored Rousseau. A liner to second with runners on second and third was the second out, but Woods followed with a clutch hit that scored two for a 3-1 Keene State lead after four. However, the visitors scored in each of the next two frames to turn the game. The Owls' lead shrunk to 3-2 on Allie Buzzeo's two-out single in the top of the fifth and disappeared completely in the next inning when Dina DiBlasio homered to lead off the sixth. Carlie Moss and Giovanna Russo later cracked consecutive doubles to provide WNE a 5-3 lead, and the final three Golden Bear runs overall in that frame came with two outs. Six of the final seven KSC batters were retired after that as Western New England starter Paige Uliase (4-5) went all seven innings, allowing three runs (none earned) while striking out three.
Molly St. Germain (2-5) matched a season-high with eight strikeouts while pitching all seven innings, but was dealt the loss.
How It Happened - Game Two
Western New England picked up where they left off at the end of the first game, as a pair of runs in the first and one in the second proved to be too much for the Owls to overcome in a game shortened to six innings due to darkness. Olivia McGrath went 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Kat Iozzo went 2-for-3 and also drove in a run. Katelyn Hill also had a pair of hits, and the Owls had 10 in the game overall, but left 11 people on base. Cookingham went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI for the Golden Bears.
WNE was ahead just three batters in, as Emily Cooney started the game with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Aimee Kistner's double to right. The lead was 2-0 when Kistner scored on Cookingham's two-out single. KSC threatened to return the favor immediately, as St. Germain and Pede each singled in the first before moving into scoring position on a passed ball. A free pass to Rousseau filled the bases with just one out, but a fielder's choice cut down a run at home and a grounder to second ended the inning. The Golden Bears tacked on a third run without the benefit of a hit in the top of the second. Trailing 3-0, Keene State got on the board in the fourth when Meghan Moran, Iozzo, and Woods all singled, the last of which scored a run. The Owls had a chance for more, as St. Germain was plunked to load the bases, but a routine grounder to short ended the rally. WNE got the run right back in the very next half inning to go up 4-1, but KSC continued to push, as a Votto double and Moran single produced a run in the fifth and brought the tying run to the plate. Hill then singled to put two on down 4-2, but KSC stranded both and could get no closer. The bottom of the sixth saw Woods single to right to lead things off and move up to second on a sacrifice, but a grounder and strikeout proved to be it as the game was called due to darkness.
Kistner (7-2) allowed 10 hits, but struck out eight over six innings to get the win. Alexis Blanchette (1-3) allowed three earned runs in two innings for KSC.
Around the Horn
- The doubleheader marked the Owls' first action since March 23, 12 days ago, at Montclair State University, and was the first time they played at Owl Athletic Complex this season. They played only six home games a year ago, and none until April 21.
- Olivia McGrath allowed one run over four innings of relief in game two and has now allowed just three earned runs in her last 15 1/3 innings this season.
- Keene State visits Westfield State University for two games tomorrow, April 5, beginning at 3:00 pm.
- Western New England goes to Endicott College for a twinbill on Saturday, April 6 at 12:00 pm.