BOSTON, Mass. – In a rematch of the 2017 Little East Conference Tournament championship game, softball had to battle back in game two of the doubleheader to earn a split with Plymouth State University Saturday afternoon at UMB Softball Field.
GM1: UMass Boston 1, Plymouth State University 4
GM2: UMass Boston 8, Plymouth State University 6
UMass Boston (8-12, 1-1 Little East Conference)
Plymouth State (13-9, 3-1 Little East Conference)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Despite the tough game one loss, the Beacons battled back in a big way in the nightcap. The two teams would be even on the scoreboard twice, before UMB sealed the victory with a pair of one run innings late in the contest. Freshman Kelly Danahy (Kingston, Mass.) proved to be the hero in game-two scoring a pair of runs, including the team's eighth in the bottom of the sixth inning.
After suffering the loss in game one, sophomore Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) returned to the circle in the nightcap and collected the win after going four complete innings.
UMB gained the early lead over the Panthers as they put the first run of the day on the scoreboard. An RBI double by Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) plated Danahy who reached first on an infield single. After the lone run in the first, the Beacons would ride the pitching of Greenspan and some great defensive plays to keep the Panthers at bay. Perhaps the play of the day came in the top of the fifth inning when shortstop Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.) made a diving grab behind her third baseman. The sophomore then got up and fired the ball across the diamond to get the runner at first to close out the inning with a double play.
The Beacons looking to build-off Braga's unbelievable highlight real play had the chance to gain some breathing room on the scoreboard in bottom of the same inning. With runners on second and third, UMB would see a great chance to extend their lead slip through their fingers as PSU got the third out to keep it a one run game.
Plymouth State managed to get out the inning, and quickly turned that late momentum into a two-run sixth inning. They then tacked on two more runs in the seventh to earn the come-from-behind victory.
Both teams finished with six hits in the opener, with the win going Caitlyn Miller, who through seven innings allowed the one run, while also recording five strikeouts. Danahy had two of UMB's six hits.
The second game of the day was a wild one from start to finish. The Panthers would get their first run of the day in the opening frame, thanks to a RBI single by Cassidy Emerson. The Beacons looked to match their rivals in the bottom half of the inning, but were unable plate the early tying run.
After a scoreless top of the second for PSU, UMB's bats came alive in a big way. With runners on first and second, freshman Drew Washington (Bordentown, N.J.) cleared the bases on a two-run triple, the first of her college career to make it 2-1 Beacons. Washington would then come home on an error by Plymouth State to make it 3-1 UMB.
That lead however was short lived, as the Panthers responded right back with three runs of their own to take a 4-1 lead. UMB even the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the third with a sac-fly by Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.), which plated Vento who led-off the inning with a triple.
Greenspan would return to the circle in the fourth, and held Plymouth State scoreless in the inning. That shutdown inning gave UMB the window they needed to take their second lead of the contest. UMB used an RBI single by Danahy, and a PSU wild pitch to jump out to a 6-4 lead.
Unfortunately, the Panthers did not go away quietly, as they clawed their way back again scoring two more runs in what was a crucial inning for both squads. The biggest play of the inning came when Haley Birch singled to drive in a pair of runs with the bases loaded. With two runs on the board to tie the score at 6-6, PSU tried to take the lead as they sent Nora Butler home. However, she was met by a forceful tag from Greenspan to keep the deadlocked at six-runs each. Birch would remain at third base, as the Beacons closed out the inning with a ground out.
UMB's seventh and game-winning run came in the fifth inning on a RBI single by Cassidy Gaeta (North Reading, Mass.). They would then clinch the victory in the sixth thanks to the Pawlina RBI fielder's choice, as Danahy crashed into home plate on a great head's up play by the freshman.
Greenspan bounced back from her game-one loss and allowed just two-runs on four hits while also striking out one and walking one. Allison Moylan was handed the loss after coming in the fourth inning. The senior allowed three runs on four hits over two innings of work.
BY THE NUMBERS
- The Beacons are now 5-4 against the Panthers since April 30, 2016
- Last season, UMB defeated Plymouth State on their home field by the final of 6-2 to win the program's first-ever Little East Conference championship
- The Beacons combined for 10 hits in game two while the Panthers finished with 12
- Gaeta finished 2-for-3 in game-two, while Dicenso recorded a pair of runs in the win
- Greenspan in her career now has 25 wins, which moves her into second all-time in program history. She now sits three wins away from breaking the all-time wins record at UMB
- Her 153 career K's has her sitting fifth all-time in program history
The Beacons will face intra-city rival Emmanuel College on Tuesday at 6 p.m.