KEENE, N.H.—Defending Little East Conference Tournament Champion Keene State College (10-10, 5-3 Little East) used a 10-run bottom of the first in game one and four home runs in game two, to earn a doubleheader sweep of UMass Boston softball (4-16, 1-5 Little East) Tuesday afternoon at the Owls Athletic Complex.
The Owls blew game one open with 10 runs in the bottom of the first en route to an 11-2 five-inning victory. The second game was much closer, but UMass Boston couldn't overcome the Owls four round-trippers, including a grand slam from sophomore Aliza Guerrero, as the Owls earned a 12-5 victory.
Senior Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) and sophomore Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) each went deep for UMass Boston in game one, with Morrison's home run marking the first of her career. Senior center fielder Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) led the way in game two, with a team-best three RBI.
Game One: Keene State 11, UMass Boston 2 (5 Innings)
Keene State used their huge 10-run bottom of the first to effectively put the game out of reach and Ashlee McGan allowed just two runs and four hits over five innings.
Freshman pitcher Kaera Wyse (Danvers, Mass.) took the loss, despite only allowing two earned runs in the contest. She allowed 10 hits and three walks, with nine of the 11 runs charged to her being unearned.
McGan struck out four in her five innings of work and walked just one batter, to improve to 4-2 for the Owls.
Raczkowski provided the Beacons with their only lead of the day in the top of the first, when she crushed her second homer of the year with two down in the inning.
Keene responded with 10 runs on seven hits, one error and three walks to take control of the game.
Morgan Fallon recorded a pair of singles in the inning, as she finished game one 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Neither side would scratch across a run again until the top of the fourth, when Morrison belted her first collegiate home run to cut the deficit to 10-2.
The Owls would tack on a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning, before UMass Boston went down 1-2-3 in the fifth.
Game Two: Keene State 12, UMass Boston 5
Tuesday's second contest proved to be much closer, as the Owls lead was cut to just two heading into the sixth inning, before the hosts scored five runs to earn their first conference sweep of the year.
Capra led UMass Boston in game two as she finished 2-for-2 with a run and three RBI. Hemstock and Raczkowski added two hits of their own, as the Beacons' top two hitters each finished with a team-high three hits on the afternoon.
Sophomore Kelsey Cruse (Worcester, Mass.) provided the only other RBI for UMass Boston, as she earned the start as the designated player.
In the circle, Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) was victimized by the long ball for the first time all season, as four of the 15 hits she gave up were home runs. In the end, Zullo allowed eight earned runs over six innings and struck out five.
After Olivia Indorf gave up five runs through the first 4.1 innings, McGan came on to earn the save by allowing just one hit and no runs over the final 2.2 innings.
Keene State opened the game with solo shots from Jennifer Galavotti and Sara Bracken in the second and third innings to claim a 2-0 lead. After the Owls picked up an unearned run in the third inning, UMass Boston cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fourth.
Raczkowski and Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) singled back-to-back with one out and Capra followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1. Two batters later, Cruse singled through the left side to plate Capra with two down and cut the deficit to just one run.
Guerrero appeared to put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fourth, as the sophomore outfielder hit a grand slam to make it 7-2 in favor of Keene State.
But the Beacons weren't done fighting yet, as they struck for three more runs in the fifth.
After Indorf retired the first batter, Hemstock singled, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch, before forcing a throwing error by the shortstop as she dashed home to make it 7-3. UMass Boston would load the bases for Capra and the senior delivered once again, as she crushed a two-run double to right-center field to make it a two-run game.
With two runners in scoring position and one out, McGan came on and forced an inning-ending double play to get the Owls out of the jam.
From there, Keene would score five runs in the top of the sixth and UMass Boston would manage just one hit against McGan.
UMass Boston will have two days off, before traveling to Brandeis University on Friday at 3 p.m. for a non-conference doubleheader.