Softball Rebounds to Secure Twin Bill Split at Eastern Connecticut

Softball Rebounds to Secure Twin Bill Split at Eastern Connecticut

MANSFIELD, Conn. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth junior Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) rebounded for a complete-game effort after pitching five innings in the opener, striking out 11 total Eastern Connecticut batters on the day as the Corsairs rallied in Tuesday's Little East Conference doubleheader. The Corsairs took the nightcap by a 2-1 score after dropping the first game 8-3. 

The Basics
Scores: Eastern Connecticut 8, UMass Dartmouth 3 | UMass Dartmouth 2, Eastern Connecticut 1
Records: UMass Dartmouth (17-15, 3-5 LEC) | Eastern Connecticut (8-18, 4-4 LEC)

How it Happened
Eastern Connecticut 8, UMass Dartmouth 3 

A five-run sixth inning by the Warriors broke the 3-3 tie heading into the bottom of the inning, as ECSU freshman Jacky Arndt (Chelmsford, Mass.) went the distance with 11 strikeouts. 

UMass Dartmouth freshman Nicole McSweeney (Bridgewater, Mass.) generated a 3-for-4 outing in the leadoff hole, scoring a run to join classmate Lexi Pereira (Middleboro, Mass.) as the two Corsairs with multiple hits.

McSweeney drove a single to center field in the game's first at-bat, and would complete her trip around the bags on a groundout by Smith and an ECSU error off the bat of senior Marissa Spinuzzi (Fair Lawn, N.J.). Smith struck out eight in her five innings of work, permitting three earned runs. 

The Warriors dropped a pair of balls into the shallow outfield in the bottom of the frame, before two runs walked in to bump the hosts up a tally. The Corsairs drew even in their next trip to the plate, as early singles by Pereira and Smith gave way to two walked-in runs by Arndt.

Several quiet frames passed, before a second-and-third two-out jam in bottom of the fifth was escaped by Smith with her seventh K of the game. The floodgates then successfully opened for the Warriors in their next at-bat, kicked off when Sara Pisanelli (Wallingford, Conn.) sent a dribbler down the third-base line and sent home Jackie Lewis (Mystic, Conn.) from third with a slide underneath the tag. A single and two doubles resulted in four more scores before junior shortstop Emily Colton (Kingston, Mass.) caught Meghan Navarro (Taunton, Mass.) heading home to end the frame. 

McSweeney laid down her third single of the game to open the seventh, but Arndt completed the win with a pair of strikeouts and the force third out. 

UMass Dartmouth 2, Eastern Connecticut 1
Smith reentered to spin a gem in game two, holding the Warriors to just seven hits and one earned run, receiving enough run support from her offense to wrap up the split.  

McSweeney again paced UMass Dartmouth at the dish, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Colton and Spinuzzi drove in the Corsair RBIs and were two of six to lace a single hit on the outing.

UMass Dartmouth picked up a run immediately in the first, when freshman Nicole Vachon (Westport, Mass.) dropped a sacrifice bunt to advance McSweeney to second, who singled to begin the game. Two batters later, Spinuzzi drove a single up the middle to round McSweeney. 

ECSU's Samantha Bardos (Norwalk, Conn.) belted a lead-off double in the Warriors' at-bat, and the hosts put the game at one-all with Kristyn Ryan's (Barkhamstead, Conn.) double two batters later.

Smith settled in to silence the Warriors for the remainder of the game. The junior ace received a clutch defensive play by McSweeney in the fourth, whose relay throw from left field to Colton came quick enough to cut down the runner heading home from third. 

Colton then got the job done at the dish in the top of the fifth, completing back-to-back lead-off doubles with Vachon to tally the RBI. In the final three ECSU at-bats, Smith allowed just two hits and no baserunners past second. 

Inside the Numbers

  • Smith's ERA remains below 2.00 and in the LEC's top three with her 12 innings on the day. She tied her season-high with eight strikeouts in game one, as she's now reached the total in three games this season.
  • McSweeney wrapped up her productive afternoon with five singles and two of UMass Dartmouth's four runs scored. Her 5-for-8 performance ties her career-high in a doubleheader, as she previously laced five hits in eight at-bats against Plymouth State.
  • With just one run in game two, ECSU was held to its lowest run total in LEC play since dropping a 2-1 game to UMass Boston on April 8.
  • UMass Dartmouth has now taken three of the last four meetings with the Warriors, after snapping ECSU's 19-game win streak with last season's DH sweep.

Up Next
LEC play continues Saturday for UMass Dartmouth, which hosts Southern Maine for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.