GORHAM, Maine – Freshman Ashley Alward (Cornville, Maine/Skowhegan) and junior Alexis Brown (Malden, Mass.) got it done on the mound and at the plate to help the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a Little East Conference sweep of the Plymouth State University Panthers 5-1, 8-2, keeping their team in LEC postseason contention Friday afternoon at USM Softball Stadium.
Alward earned a game-one win, scattering four hits and a walk over seven innings, and went 2-for-4 at the plate with one run scored, and three RBI. Brown picked up the second game win, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and four walks. Brown was 3-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored.
Game One: Southern Maine 5, Plymouth State 1
Game Two: Southern Maine 8, Plymouth State 2
Records: Southern Maine 16-15, 5-7 Little East; Plymouth State 15-15, 8-4 Little East
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
- Southern Maine snapped a five-game skid leads the 91-game series, 47-44, over PSU
- Plymouth State had its two-game win streak ended with the pair of losses.
- USM has four games remaining in Little East Conference play, and must finish in the top six of the regular season standings to earn a post-season berth.
How It Happened:
- The Huskies played small ball in the bottom of the fourth inning to break open a scoreless game as both Alward and PSU starter junior Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) turned in strong pitching performances. Junior Kayleigh Bohan (Bedford, N.H.) drove in the first run of the game for USM, with an RBI ground out. Junior Erin Martin (Biddeford, Maine) led off with an infield hit, took second on a walk, and then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from senior Brooke Cross (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) to set up Bohan.
- Freshmen Brynn Hink (Porter, Maine/Sacopee Valley) and Kaitlyn Nelson (Guildhall, Vermont/White Mountains) each had RBIs in the fifth to give USM a 3-0 lead.
- USM made it 5-0 in the sixth on a pair of sacrifice flies from sophomore Hannah Kenney (Oxford, Maine) and Alward. Junior Ashley Tinsman (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) had a lead-off walk, and Brown and a double to left field to set the table for Kenney and Alward.
- PSU took one back in the top of the seventh capitalizing on a two-out USM fielding error. Sophomore Samantha Cushing (Amherst, N.H.) and senior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) each had singles in the inning.
- Miller (10-7) took the loss for PSU. She allowed three earned runs on four hits and two walks in five innings. Miller struck out five. She did not allow a hit nor a USM baserunner until the fourth. Freshman Jillian Aziz (Plaistown, N.H.) pitched the final two innings, allowing two earned runs on a hit and a walk.
- Alward went seven full with four single base hits and a walk. She struck out three and did not allow an earned run.
- Trailing 2-0 after one inning, Southern Maine scored eight unanswered run to earn the sweep.
- USM collected 11 hits, three for extra bases, in the win. Alward, Hink and Nelson each had doubles.
- PSU struck for three of its seven hits in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Emerson and senior Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) each had singles, before coming around to score on a two-run single to center field from freshman Katie Burk (East Islip, N.Y.)
- USM rallied to tie the game in the bottom of two on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to left field from Martin.
- The Huskies tacked on three runs in the bottom of three and held the lead for good. Alward and Hink each had RBI doubles in the inning, cleaning up singles from Bohan and Kenney, and a walk by Tinsman.
- Nelson had an RBI single as part of a two-run three-hit bottom of the fifth to help USM to a 7-2 lead.
- Alward drove in the Huskies final run of the game with an RBI ground out to bring home Bohan who led off the inning with a single. Bohan was 2-for-3 in the game.
- After allowing three hits in the first inning, Brown settled and gave up just a single in the third, a double in the fourth and a pair of singles in the seventh to earn the win.
- PSU starter Kayla Mathieu (Fairfax, Vt.) absorbed the loss. She pitched 2.2 innings allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and five walks. Aziz pitched the final 3.1, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk.
BY THE NUMBERS
- PSU's Emerson was 4-for-6 with one run scored over two games. She was the Panthers' lone repeat hitter in both games.
- USM's Hink was 2-for-4 over two games with three RBI. She had a double, a walk, and a sacrifice. Nelson was 2-for-5 with two RBI and a double.
Southern Maine travels to Colby on Monday (4:00 pm) for a non-conference doubleheader. USM is back at home in another non-conference doubleheader against St. Josephs' College on Tuesday (5:00 pm).
- cac –