BOSTON, Mass.—Bekah Jackson's huge day on both sides of the ball lifted Plymouth State University (16-10, 7-3 Little East) to a doubleheader sweep of host UMass Boston (9-18, 0-8 Little East) Saturday afternoon at the UMB Softball Field.
Jackson finished the day 5-for-7 with three runs, four RBI and a pair of home runs to help the Panthers hand the Beacons a pair of losses on Senior Day.
UMass Boston honored their two senior co-captains Toni Scola (Worcester, Mass.) and Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) immediately following the conclusion of game two. The Class of 2014 has helped UMass Boston reach three-straight Little East Conference Tournaments and ranks third in school history with their 65 career wins.
Game One: Plymouth State 6, UMass Boston 2
Plymouth State jumped out to a 5-1 lead and held on for a 6-2 victory behind strong performances from Jackson and senior pitcher Nora Galvin.
Jackson went a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs and accounted for all four RBI for the Panthers in game one, while freshman Masha Lange added two hits in two at-bats and three runs scored.
Galvin worked her way in and out of trouble all afternoon long, as she stranded eight Beacons runners over seven innings, while allowing just two runs, one earned. The right-handed scattered nine hits and two walks and struck out two batters in her sixth win of the season.
Junior Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) took the loss after allowing six runs, four earned, over the full seven innings. She tied her season-high with six strikeouts, while walking two Panthers.
Plymouth State took a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to some aggressive base-running and an RBI single from Jackson. With a runner at second and one out, Jackson sent a hard grounder through the right-side that plated Lange to make it 1-0. Jackson stole second and moved over to third on a groundout, before coming home on a passed ball.
The Beacons answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning, as Morse belted a one out double to left-center and scampered home from third on a Raczkowski RBI single.
Jackson tacked on her second RBI hit of the day in the third inning, as her pop-up into short left-center field dropped in behind the Beacons' defense for a two-out RBI double.
The Panthers pushed their lead to 5-1 in the top of the fifth thanks to a pair of hit by pitches and a Beacons' error. With the bases loaded full of Panthers, Zullo plunked Jackson to bring in a run with one out. Two pitches later, the Beaconn's pick-off throw to third trickled into left-field allowing Lange to scurry home for her third run of the day.
Plymouth State gifted UMass Boston a run right back, as Vecchiet came home to score on a passed ball by the Panthers' catcher with two down in the bottom of the fifth.
Neither team managed to score any more runs, as Galvin allowed just a single base-hit in the sixth and seventh, en-route to the victory.
Game Two: Plymouth State 4, UMass Boston 1
Game two proved to be a pitcher's duel as Plymouth State's Whitney Roberts and UMass Boston's Jillian Shepherd (Norwood, Mass.) went pitch-for-pitch over the full seven innings.
Jackson once again proved to be the thorn in the Beacons' side, as she finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI. Katie Kennard added two hits in two at-bats and a pair of runs for the Panthers who finished the week 7-1 in four doubleheaders.
Freshman first baseman Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) paced the Beacons with a team-high two hits and a RBI, while Scola added a base-hit and the team's lone run.
Roberts who was a Second Team All-Conference honoree last season, allowed just seven hits and one earned run over seven innings. Shepherd was nearly as good in her first LEC start, as she allowed six hits and four earned runs over seven innings. The Beacons' freshman allowed just one hit and zero runs through the first four innings, before Plymouth State managed to score two runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh.
The first three innings flew by with both pitchers putting up zeroes. UMass Boston had the best chance to score for either side in the bottom of the second, but Lange made a great diving catch in center field to rob Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) with the bases full of Beacons.
UMass Boston finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth with one out. Scola singled to center field on a 2-0 pitch and came in to score on the ensuing pitch, when Mitsiaris blasted a double over the center fielder's head.
Plymouth State answered right back though in the fifth inning. With two runners on and one out, Jackson hit a laser into right field to score Lange, with both runners moving up a base on the throw home. Sam Hebert followed with a deep sacrifice fly to left-center to plate Katie Kennard, which made it 2-1 Plymouth State.
The Beacons nearly answered right back in the bottom of the inning, but Roberts stranded a runner on the third base to keep the one-run lead intact.
Jackson put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh when she crushed a two-run shot to deep center-field to push the lead to 4-1.
UMass Boston managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom half of the inning, but Roberts induced a game-ending groundout.
The Beacons will return to action Monday afternoon at Curry College, with the doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m.