GORHAM, Maine – Freshman Brooke Cross (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) pushed the through the right side in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off RBI single to deliver a 4-3 win for the University of Southern Maine Huskies over the Western Connecticut State University Colonials in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the USM Softball Stadium.
The win gave Southern Maine a split on the day with Western Connecticut and leaves the Huskies with a 14-4 overall record and a 1-1 mark in conference play. Western Connecticut stands at 10-12 overall and 2-2 in the LEC.
GAME ONE: Western Connecticut 1, Southern Maine 0
Senior Allie Sabith (Meredin, Conn.) spun a gem, and senior Erin Weber (Rocky Hill, Conn.) provided the Colonials with all of the offense they needed with a solo-shot home run in the top of the second inning as Western Connecticut took game one over the Huskies, 1-0.
Sabith was dominant in the circle to open the doubleheader, limiting Southern Maine to a pair of singles and did not yield a walk en route to the shutout victory. Sabith matched her season-high striking out eight in the win. Weber stroked her team-leading fourth home run of the season in the top of the second with one out, launching the ball over the Huskies' left field fence.
Southern Maine freshman Sammi Goode (Bucksport, Maine) took the loss for the Huskies despite an outstanding pitching effort. Goode scattered four hits and three walks over seven innings while striking out six. Sophomore Amber Kelly (Berwick, Maine/Noble) and junior Danni Humphrey (Walnut Creek, Calif./Northgate) each collected a single for USM.
GAME TWO: Southern Maine 4, Western Connecticut 3
Down to its final nine outs, Southern Maine rallied from a three-run deficit on key hits from sophomore Courtney Davis (Woburn, Mass.) and Cross to battle back for a 4-3 win over the Colonials in the second game of the doubleheader. Kelly pitched a strong game for the Huskies to earn her ninth win of the season and improve to 9-1 overall. Kelly gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk.
Western jumped on top of the Huskies in game two, scoring three runs in the top of the first. Weber led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Back-to-back singles seniors Candace Lawrence (West Haven, Conn.) and Maegan Rodriguez (East Haven, Conn.) compounded by a throwing error led Weber scoring the first run of the inning, before a pair of passed balls and an RBI ground out from sophomore Kayla Nowak (North Brandford, Conn.) made it 3-0.
After a rocky start for the Huskies, Kelly settled and retired the next six Colonial batters in order, and allowed just three more hits the rest of the game to keep her team within striking distance. Pitching strong for the Huskies, Kelly, helped by some stellar defensive plays, did not allow a base runner past second base after the first inning. Kelly was aided by a line-drive double play in the top of the sixth as senior shortstop Mary Caron (Lewiston, Maine/St. Dominic's) snared a line drive and threw out the runner at first, and senior right fielder Jen Lynch (Portland, Maine/Deering) made a diving catch in the top of the fourth to rob a Colonial batter of a hit.
The Huskies were able to tie game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs on three hits and capitalizing on a Western Connecticut error. Senior Kat McKay (Mechanic Falls, Maine/St. Dominic's) led off the inning reaching safely on a fielding error on a sharply hit ground ball, and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A single from Kelly made it first and third with one out for USM, before Caron drove in the Huskies' first run of the day with an blooper of an RBI single to center field. With runners on first and second and one down, Davis to her turn at the plate and launched her team-leading sixth double of the season to center field for two RBI, scoring Caron and Kelly. Western Connecticut battled back to get the final two outs on a line out from junior Samantha Crosman (South Berwick, Maine/Marshwood) and strikeout to Cross, who subbed in as the designated player, in her first at bat of the game.
A one-out single from Lawrence in the top of the sixth looked promising to Colonials, but Caron's stab at a line drive from Rodriguez ended threat with a double play. The Huskies looked to have something going in the bottom of the inning as their lead off reached safely on a fielding error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, but Colonial starter senior Emily Cintorino (Bristol, Conn./Bristol Central) was get the second out of the inning on a line out, before Sabith returned in relief, getting the final out of the inning on a strikeout.
In the top of the seventh, Kelly got the first two batters in order on a ground out and a line out, before working her way around a single to send the game into the bottom of the seventh with the score tied at 3-3. Kelly led off the home half of the seventh with a fly out to left field, before Caron singled to center field. USM made it first and second with one out on a fielder's choice grounder from Davis that was muffed at second base. Another fielder's choice, this time from Crosman, had Davis out at second, making it runners at first and third with two outs for Cross. In just her ninth plate appearance of the season, Cross was down to her final strike before she took an outside pitch through the right side for the game winning single for her first intercollegiate RBI.
Sabith took the loss in relief for the Colonials, giving up an unearned run in one inning of work on two hits and with one strikeout. Cintorino pitched 5.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits and a walk.
Southern Maine turns around quickly and travels to Rhode Island College on Sunday (1:00 p.m.) for a Little East Conference doubleheader. Western Connecticut hosts John Jay on Tuesday (4:30 p.m.) in a non-conference doubleheader.