MANSFIELD, Conn. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth softball team had its late innings comeback fall short as Rhode Island College eliminated the Corsairs, 5-4, in Day 2 of the Little East Conference softball tournament.
In the opening day of post-season play, the sixth-seeded Anchorwomen upset top-seeded Eastern Connecticut, 3-1, while the fourth-seeded Corsairs fell to third-seeded Western Connecticut, 8-0, in five innings.
Sophomore Shannon Droney (Franklin, Mass.) served as the catalyst for the UMass Dartmouth offense as she went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Six other student-athletes cracked the scoring column for the Corsairs. The Anchorwomen were led by Lauren Duvall who registered three base hits, two RBI and a run.
In the top of first with runners on second and third, Duvall put the first runs on the scoreboard when she knocked home teammates Stacy Pokora and Kristina Gingell. The Corsairs cut the deficit in the following half inning when freshman Marissa Spinuzzi (Fair Lawn, N.J.) singled home Droney.
Lauren DiScuillo, who reached on a one out double, crossed home plate on a throwing error to give Rhode Island College a 3-1 lead after one and a half innings.
After a scoreless third and fourth, the Anchorwomen added two more runs. A fielding error allowed pinch runner Sarah Molin to touch home and later in the inning, Duvall scored on a wild pitch.
Facing a four run deficit with two innings remaining, the Corsairs brought the game within one run. Droney led off the sixth with a double to left field. With two outs in the inning, Droney came around to score on an RBI single by freshman Ally Santerre (Swansea, Mass.). After freshman Alea Martinelli (Everett, Mass.) reached on an error, sophomore Rachel Carey (Holbrook, Mass.) lined a single to right field to score Santerre. Freshman Chelsea Correia (Bridgewater, Mass.) capped the sixth inning scoring when she single up the middle to push home Martinelli.
Starting pitcher Shannon Orton (Swansea, Mass.) set the table for her offense as she set the Anchorwomen down in order in the top of the seventh. Droney started the bottom of the inning with a single to left center. A throwing error in the following at-bat placed Droney on third and Martinelli on first. With the tying run 60-feet away, Spinuzzi grounded to short stop and in attempts to knot the game at five-all, Droney was thrown out at home plate. Despite there being two outs, runners remained on second and first. In a pressure situation Rhode Island College pitcher Michelle Sylvestre produced a ground out to first base to help her team advance in the tournament.
Sylvestre went seven innings, allowed nine hits and struck out five batters in the victory, while Orton threw all seven and allowed eight hits for UMass Dartmouth.
The Corsairs finished the 2014 season with an overall record of 11-21.