DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Walk-off singles by junior Emily Colton (Kingston, Mass.) and freshman Maxine Vincent (Hanson, Mass.) in game one and two, respectively, clinched a Little East Conference Tournament berth for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Sunday, as the Corsairs swept visiting Southern Maine on Senior Day. The Corsairs enter Tournament week as the No. 5 seed by virtue of tiebreaker procedures with a 7-7 conference record.
Scores: UMass Dartmouth 3, Southern Maine 2 | UMass Dartmouth 4, Southern Maine 3 (9 inn.)
Records: UMass Dartmouth (21-17, 7-7 LEC) | Southern Maine (15-16, 7-7 LEC)
How it Happened
UMass Dartmouth 3, Southern Maine 2
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Colton drove a single to center field to plate freshman Nicole Vachon (Westport, Mass.) from third and keep the Corsairs' playoff hopes alive.
The run broke the 2-all tie in the final frame, as the Corsairs scored their first runs in the sixth to bring the score even. With the bases loaded, senior Marissa Spinuzzi (Fair Lawn, N.J.) reached on a fielders' choice RBI to complete freshman Nicole McSweeney's (Bridgewater, Mass.) trip around the bases. Immediately following, Colton and Spinuzzi advanced bases on a wild pitch before Colton reached home standing on a throwing error by Southern Maine.
Freshman pitcher Annika Evensen (Lake Forest, Calif.) earned the win in the circle in the final two innings with one earned run, relieving starter Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) who yielded six hits and one earned run with three strikeouts in the opening five innings.
Southern Maine plated the game's first run in the fourth after a lead-off double by Brooke Cross (Saco, Maine). Cross scored three batters later after advancing to third on Samantha Crosman's (South Berwick, Maine) sacrifice bunt, when Amber Kelly (Berwick, Maine) dropped a single in left field.
Danni Humphrey (Walnut Creek, Calif.) drove in another Husky score in the top of the sixth, but Evensen held off the final bases-loaded threat in the inning to give UMass Dartmouth room for the late-inning comeback.
Kelly took the Southern Maine loss after relieving starter Madison Greene (Moultonborough, N.H.), who struck out a pair of Corsairs with just one earned run on three hits.
UMass Dartmouth 4, Southern Maine 3
The Corsairs' late-game flair continued into game two, striking for two runs in the sixth and the tying run in the bottom of the seventh before Vincent's single to the centerfield fence ended the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Freshman Victoria Woodward (Middleboro, Mass.) went the distance for UMass Dartmouth, holding Southern Maine to just one earned run on eight hits with two strikeouts. The pitcher helped her cause with a 2-for-4 performance at the dish, and classmates McSweeney and Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) combined for 5-for-8 on the game with a RBI apiece.
The Huskies sent across a run in each of their first two at-bats, and extended the lead to 3-0 in the top of the sixth with Tabitha Hirsch's (Coral Springs, Fla.) sacrifice fly. McSweeney then kicked off the Corsairs' rally to start the sixth, singling to right field and eventually scoring after two Southern Maine errors. With the bases loaded, Sheerin stepped in to knock a sacrifice fly to deep left field, cutting the Corsairs within a run heading into the seventh.
Woodward doubled to right field, and again McSweeney produced to strike a ball up the middle and force extra innings with pinch-runner McKenzie Joyce's (Marblehead, Mass.) score.
Woodward held Southern Maine to just one hit in the eighth and none in the ninth. With Heather Thompson (Springfield, Mass.) on first, McSweeney dropped a ball into the gap in left field, pushing the runner into scoring position for Vincent in the next at-bat.
Greene took the decision in 8.1 innings with two runs earned on nine hits, fanning two.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth rises to 7-1 in extra-inning games on the season, with nine-inning victories in back-to-back days over the weekend.
- The Corsairs have now outscored opponents 10-0 in four ninth innings on the season thus far.
- The Corsairs become just the fifth team in UMass Dartmouth Softball's 41-year history to surpass the 20-win mark, and do so for the second-straight season.
- UMass Dartmouth secures the season-sweep of Southern Maine for the first time since 2014.
UMass Dartmouth will advance as the No. 5 seed to next week's double-elimination Little East Conference Tournament. The Corsairs open with a single game at No. 2 seed Eastern Connecticut before traveling to top-seeded Plymouth State for Friday, Saturday and Sunday's elimination rounds.