PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Eastern Connecticut State University softball team's hopes for a piece of a ninth Little East Conference regular-season championship in 11 years dissolved in an 8-5, 6-3 doubleheader loss to two-time defending regular-season champion Plymouth State University on the final weekend of the regular season at D & M Park Saturday.
The pre-season LEC favorite to win the regular-season title, Eastern (25-11, 10-6 LEC) entered play a game back of leader Massachusetts Dartmouth, with the Corsairs scheduled to close out the LEC regular season Sunday with a home makeup doubleheader against Western Connecticut. For Eastern, the tournament's third seed, that outcome becomes mostly irrelevant .
Plymouth (20-16, 11-5 LEC) could gain a share of its third straight regular-season title and would become the No. 1 tournament seed and host if UMass loses both (Plymouth earning the top seed on tie-breakers). By winning one game, UMass would be the No. 1 seed.
Eastern is locked in as the No. 3 seed and will face No. 4 seed University of Southern Maine (21-16, 8-8 LEC) on the first day of the LEC double-elimination tournament Thursday at 2 p.m. Eastern would return to play Friday at noon (if it wins Thursday) in the winners' bracket or would face an elimination game at 10 a.m.
Despite being swept, Eastern finishes with as many as ten LEC wins for the tenth time in the last 12 seasons and enters post-season play having won seven of its last 11. The Warriors reached 20 wins for the 12th time in the last 16 years.
Saturday, Plymouth extended its winning streak over Eastern to seven with the sweep, handing Eastern sophomore righty Morgan Bolduk (Vernon) her first loss after 11 wins in the first game. The hosts scored five times to take a 5-1 lead in the second inning, and after the Warriors got two back in the third, moved out to an 8-3 lead with three more in the sixth when they chased Bolduk in favor of junior lefty Morgan Sanson (Thomaston).
On the day, two Plymouth pitchers combined for nine strikeouts without a walk.
Trailing 8-3 in the first game, Eastern pushed across two runs on an RBI double by junior Sara Pisanelli (Wallingford) and a ground ball by pinch hitter Kamdynn Moroney (Sandy Hook). The Panthers escaped and stranded the tying runs on base when junior Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) lined out to second to end the game.
In the first game, Pisanelli became the fifth player in program history to record three doubles in a game, and with another double in the second game, moving into a tie for seventh place all-time, with 33. Freshman Brooke Matyasovsky (Orange) drove in three runs with two hits and sophomore Alexis Tyrrell (Torrington) had two hits and scored three runs.
Pisanelli added a hit in the second game to extend her hitting streak to 11. The Warriors led 3-2 in that second game before the hosts struck for four runs in the fourth on four hits, the final two runs coming on cleanup hitter Mel Goss's two-out, two-run triple. Tyrrell added two more hits in the second game, as did LeMere.
Junior lefty Jacky Arndt (Chelmsford, MA) made her first pitching appearance in six weeks, pitching a hitless sixth inning in the nightcap.
On the day, Tyrrell was 4-for-7 with four runs scored and an RBI and also reached on a hit-by-pitch; Pisanelli was 4-for-8 (all doubles) with two RBI and a run scored.