DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth softball team opened Little East Conference action against Keene State on Saturday afternoon, as the Corsairs coasted to a 5-1 victory in game one before coming from behind to erase a three-run deficit to complete the series sweep in a 5-4 win.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 5 Keene State 1 (Game One) | UMass Dartmouth 5 Keene State 4 (Game Two)
Records: UMass Dartmouth (13-5, 2-0 LEC) | Keene State (3-11, 0-2 LEC)
How it Happened
UMass Dartmouth 5, Keene State 1
In game one, the Corsairs offense used a balanced attack to outscore the opposition, with eight of the nine starters recording a base knock. Senior Emily Colton (Kingston, Mass.) supplied two runs for the team, ripping a two-RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. Fellow-senior Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) hurled six complete innings, striking out three and surrendering just one run to improve to 5-3 in the circle.
The Corsairs got it going in their first at-bats, as Colton laced a single just inside the foul line of third base to bring home Maddie O'Gryzek (Norfolk, Mass.) and Leah Major (Fairhaven, Mass.). Later in the frame, Kylie Fletcher's (Dighton, Mass.) RBI single to bring in Colton extended the early-lead 3-0.
Keene State got its first and only run across in the top of the fourth. Senior Olivia Indorf (South Portland, Mass.) tagged Smith for the only mistake of the game from the right-hander, leading off the frame with a home run well over the right centerfield fence. Smith stood composed, stranding a runner in scoring position to keep the two-run lead intact. The Owls continued to apply pressure in the top of the fifth, but again Smith rose to the occasion, leaving the bases-loaded to maintain the advantage.
In the bottom of the fifth, UMass Dartmouth recouped the run allowed earlier, as sophomore Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) pieced a double through the right side of the infield to bring in Fletcher all the way from first base. The host added another insurance run in the next frame when a defensive miscue allowed McKenzie Joyce (Marblehead, Mass.) the chance to score from third base to make the score 5-1.
Annika Evensen (Lake Forest, Calif.) came in to relieve the Corsairs starter, using less than 20 pitches and a one-two-three frame to secure the game one victory to open conference play.
UMass Dartmouth 5, Keene State 4
After playing in her first collegiate game during game one, freshman Jill Richards (Kingston, Mass.) was a pivotal piece to the victory as she knocked in three runs while picking up a pair of base hits. Sophomore outfielder Nicole McSweeney (Bridgewater, Mass.) added a multi-hit game while four others finished the game with a hit. Sophomore Victoria Woodward (Middleboro, Mass.) recorded her fifth win of the year in the circle, giving five innings of work and allowing just two earned runs.
Keene State got out to an early 3-0 lead as it scored in both of the opening two innings. In the top of the second, Kristin Boduch's (Dover, N.H.) two-RBI double to left center helped give the Owls their three-run cushion.
In the bottom of the third, UMass Dartmouth inched closer on the scoreboard when Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) legged out an infield single while McSweeney scored on the backend of the play for the first run for the Corsairs. Later on, Richards lifted a sacrifice fly to score Major.
But it was just getting started for Richards. In the bottom of the fifth, the Corsairs opened the inning when O'Gryzek laced a double to the gap in left center. After a sacrifice moved O'Gryzek to third base, Colton got aboard when she was hit by a pitch before moving to scoring position with a stolen base. With runners in scoring position, Richards delivered the game-changing swing when she jumped all over the 1-0 pitch, sending it back up the middle to give the Corsairs a 4-3 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Blue and Gold added a run for extra-padding as O'Gryzek brought in freshman Kaitlyn Hart (Norton, Mass.) with a sacrifice fly. The insurance run proved to be vital in securing the decision as the Owls got across a run in the top of the seventh when Lauren Rousseau (Richmond, R.I.) brought home Indorf on a single to left field. Corsairs' relief pitcher Kate McDonald (Scituate, Mass.) buckled down despite the tying run at third base, getting the final batter of the game to pop out the second base.
Inside the Numbers
- With the two victories, the Corsairs swept the Owls for the first time in program history.
- UMass Dartmouth has taken four of the last five meeting with Keene State and improved in the all-time series to 8-34.
- Smith recorded her 31 victory in the circle and is currently nine strikeouts away from 300 for her career.
- McDonald secured her second career save in game two while Evensen increased her career-high scoreless streak to five innings.
- Sheerin and Major are currently locked for the longest hitting streak of the season for the team, each extending their respective consecutive-games streak to five.
- McSweeney and O'Gryzek moved their hitting streaks to three games while Richards picked up knocks in each of her first two contests.
UMass Dartmouth travels to Bridgewater State on April 5 for a 3 p.m. doubleheader. Keene State gets back in action April 4 for a doubleheader against Western New England.