PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The #5 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth softball team had its postseason journey halted on Friday afternoon, as the Corsairs fell in game one in a battle with #4 Western Connecticut, before Caitlyn Miller's no-hitter in game two for the #1 Plymouth State Panthers knocked the team out of contention.
Scores: #4 Western Connecticut 5, #5 UMass Dartmouth 4 (Game One) | #1 Plymouth State 4, #5 UMass Dartmouth 0
Records: Colonels 17-22-1 | Panthers 25-14 | Corsairs 24-15
How it Happened
Game One: Western Connecticut 5, UMass Dartmouth 4
Freshman Leah Major (Fairhaven, Mass.) supplied the offense from a hits standpoint as she finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate while knocking in three runs. The top four hitters in the lineup – Maddie O'Gryzek (Norfolk, Mass.), Brittany Polk (Bridgewater, Mass.), Kylie Fletcher (Dighton, Mass.) and Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) – each picked up a hit as well.
The Corsairs seized the early lead in the top of the first as the team used three-hits to strike. After Polk got the first of the game on the board with her single through the middle, another single by Sheerin, and a walk to Jill Richards (Kingston, Mass.) loaded the bases with two outs. Polk came in to score following a bases-loaded hit by pitch, and one batter later, Major pieced a two-RBI single into the outfield grass for the 3-0 lead.
Western Connecticut put a pair on the board for themselves in the bottom of the inning when Kayla Nowak drilled a two-run homer to left field. In the third, the Colonels grabbed momentum when Nowak showed small-ball ability, dropping down a suicide squeeze to level the game at three apiece. Later on, a throwing error allowed the opponent to go-ahead in the game, 4-3.
UMass Dartmouth, now tasked with the deficit, battled back themselves with runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Major reappeared when she kept her single just inside the right-field foul line to bring home Sheerin in unearned fashion. Fletcher gave her team the lead in the sixth when she rocked a double into the gap of left centerfield to bring in O'Gryzek for the 5-4 advantage.
The back-and-forth only continued in the final two innings of play. Western Connecticut knotted it up again in the bottom of the sixth, responding to Fletcher's double when S. Palacios lifted an RBI single into the outfield. In the bottom of the seventh, the Colonels had the walk-off effort when Erica Bower delivered the game-winning two-out single for the 5-4 final.
Game Two: Plymouth State 4, UMass Dartmouth 0
The Corsairs were bounced to the elimination bracket following the game one loss, and as a result, paired up with the top-seeded Panthers of Plymouth State. UMass Dartmouth's offense met a buzz saw in that elimination game, as Caitlyn Miller tossed a no-hitter to pilot the Panthers in the victory. The LEC'S leading-pitcher finished the game with just one walk while striking out a pair in her noteworthy outing.
Plymouth State plated two runs in the bottom of the third inning, and with the way Miller was working, it was all it needed in the game. Aubrie Davis pushed across the eventual game-winning run when she poked a double into left field to bring around Ashley Deyo. One batter later, the host team doubled it on Cassidy Emerson's RBI single.
In the fifth inning, Plymouth State posted a pair of insurance runs to solidify the extension of the season as back-to-back RBI singles by Nora Butler and Jen Landers output the 4-0 final. Miller cruised through the final three innings, facing the minimum nine batters required during that span.
Inside the Numbers
- The Corsairs offense improved in most statistical categories from a season ago, including team batting average (.285), on-base percentage (.339), slugging percentage (.380) and runs scored (175).
- UMass Dartmouth had the power-stroke all year as it set a new single-season high in homers for the program with 13.
- Fletcher finished with the team-lead in batting average (.336), hits (41), home runs (4), RBI (27), and total bases (78) amongst all players with 100-plus plate appearances. She set a new program record for total bases in a season.
- 2018 continued a trend of postseason appearances, with the Corsairs making it to the Little East Conference Tournament in each of the last four seasons.