PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Four different players hit home runs as the University of Southern Maine Huskies' softball team split a Little East Conference doubleheader on the road at Plymouth State University Wednesday afternoon at D & M Park. PSU edged Southern Maine 2-1 in the opener before the Huskies bounced back with a 7-1 win in the night cap. Senior Jen Lynch (Portland, Maine/Deering) hit the first two home runs of her USM career with one in each game.
With the split, Southern Maine improves to 22-9-1 and 7-5 in the Little East Conference. The Huskies have won seven out of their last eight games. Plymouth State is 14-22 overall and 4-8 in the Little East Conference. The Panthers' loss to the Huskies in the second game snapped a five-game win streak.
GAME ONE: Plymouth State 2, Southern Maine 1
Plymouth State senior Whitney Roberts (Chocurua, N.H./Kennett) held USM to just one run on nine hits and a pair of walks to lead the Panthers to a 2-1 win in the opener. Roberts' pitching performance was aided by RBI doubles from Katie Kennard and Julia Royer.
After a scoreless two and a half innings, Kennard doubled in the first run of the game scoring Nina Murray. Murray singled to center field to lead off the inning, and moved to second on a passed ball. Kennard stroked the run-scoring hit with one out, before Huskies' freshman Sammi Goode (Bucksport, Maine) ended the inning with a pop up and a strikeout.
PSU remained in front 1-0 and doubled its advantage in the bottom of the fifth, on a two-out double from Royer, again scoring Murray. Murray again led off the inning with a single to set up the scoring opportunity for the Panthers.
USM took one run back in the top of the seventh when Lynch launched a one-out home run to left field, but the Huskies were unable to come up with the equalizer as Roberts worked her way around a two-out single and a walk to end the game.
USM had several chances to score runs throughout the game, including a first and third situation with one out in the top of the fourth, but PSU was able to end the threat each time. Roberts earned her fifth win of the season for the Panthers, while Goode suffered her first loss in four appearances. Goode allowed two earned runs on five hits and four walks, while striking out five.
GAME TWO: Southern Maine 7, Plymouth State 1
Clinging to a 1-0 lead heading through four innings, USM scored three runs each in the top of the fifth and sixth innings to claim a 7-1 win in the second game salvaging the split with Plymouth State. Eight of the Huskies' 14 hits in the inning went for extra bases, including four home runs. Lynch, senior Mary Caron (Lewiston, Maine/St. Dominic's), junior Shelby Obert (Norridgewock, Maine/Skowhegan) and freshman Brooke Cross (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) each hit home runs for the Huskies.
Southern Maine sophomore Amber Kelly (Berwick, Maine/Noble) earned her 11th win of the season holding PSU to one earned run on sixth hits and a walk, while striking out five.
Cross gave USM its 1-0 lead in the top of the third crushing the first home run of her intercollegiate playing career to left center field. With Kelly in control and not allowing a PSU base runner to advance to second base through four full, the Huskies tacked on three runs in the top of the fifth. Lynch led off the inning with her second home run of the day, this time over the right field fence. Sophomore Courtney Davis (Woburn, Mass.) followed with a double and then touched home plate on a one-out RBI triple from Kelly to make it 3-0 in favor of USM. Kelly scored USM's third run of the inning and fourth of the game on an RBI single from junior Danni Humphrey (Walnut Creek, Calif./Northgate).
Kelly continued her strong work in the circle retiring PSU in order in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of ground outs and one of her five strikeouts in the game, before USM added to its lead with three more runs in the top of the seven.
With one down, Caron hit a solo home run over the centerfield fence, making it 5-0. Lynch followed with triple to center field, before Obert knocked in two runs with a home run to score Lynch. Caron's home run was her second of the season and fifth of her career, while Obert's two-run shot was her third of the season, tying her for the team lead with senior Kat McKay (Mechanic Falls, Maine/St. Dominic's).
Kelly kept PSU off the board in the home half of the sixth working her way around a pair of singles and a USM throwing error, and USM went down in order in the top of the seventh, keeping the game at 7-0 heading to the final three outs for PSU. Kelly battled back from back-to-back singles to lead off the inning to record two outs on a fielder's choice ground out and a strikeout before being tagged for an RBI single from Panther freshman Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.), but it was as much as the Panthers would get as Kelly got the final out on an infield grounder for the win.
Roberts, the game one starter, was tagged with the loss giving up one run on four hits and a walk through two innings. Reliever sophomore Allison Moylan (Methuen, Mass./Lowell Catholic) allowed six earned runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings of work, before the game was closed by junior Calila Abbot (Atco, N.J./Winslow Township) for the final 1.1 innings. Abbot did not allow a run and gave up one hit in her appearance.
Southern Maine travels to in-state rival St. Joseph's College on Thursday (5:00 p.m.) for a non-conference doubleheader before closing out the regular season at home against Keene State College in an LEC doubleheader on Saturday (1:00 p.m.). Plymouth State hosts non-conference opponent Thomas College on Thursday (3:30 p.m.).