MANSFIELD, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University right fielder Michaela Rocha laced a home run over the left field fence to supply starting pitcher Emily Cintorino with all the run support she would need en route to an 8-0 victory over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in Game 3 of the 2014 Little East Conference Softball Championship tournament this afternoon at the Eastern Softball Stadium.
Making its first appearance in the conference tournament field since 2006, UMass Dartmouth (11-20) will face sixth-seeded Rhode Island College (13-24) tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. The Anchorwomen upset top-seed and host Eastern Connecticut State University (25-12) in Game 1 earlier this morning. The Colonials (30-9-1) will advance to square off against fifth-seeded Keene State College (16-17) at noon tomorrow afternoon in Game 6.
Cintorino limited the Corsairs to just two hits to earn her 12th victory of the season. She retired the first five batters in order before issuing a two-out walk. Cintorino closed the contest by setting down five of her final six batters, aided by a one-out, double play to end the top of the fifth.
Senior Emily Pontes (Tewksbury, Mass.) and sophomore Rachel Carey (Holbrook, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) registered the two hits for the Corsairs. Sophomore Shannon Orton (Swansea, Mass./Joseph Case) suffered the setback, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings of work.
Western Connecticut cracked the scoring column in the bottom of the second inning, when Rocha drove her fifth home run of the season over the left field fence. Maegan Rodriguez followed suit with a double and scored on a RBI single by Nina Wojtkiewicz.
Leading 3-0 after four complete innings, the Colonials exploded for five runs to force the eight-run rule in the bottom of the fifth. Western Connecticut did the majority of its damage with two-outs as Erin Weber singled up the middle to extend its advantage to 5-0. The Colonials capitalized on a pair of UMass Dartmouth miscues to cap their scoring, sandwiching a wild pitch and an errant throw between a Kylee Ruther run-producing single.