DANBURY, Conn. – Junior Michelle Knox (Gilmanton, N.H.) delivered an RBI single in the third inning Friday, and the third-seeded Plymouth State College softball team went on to defeat second-seeded Rhode Island College, 1-0, in the first round of the Little East Conference double-elimination tournament, hosted by Western Connecticut State University.
The Panthers move on to face top-seeded WCSU Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in their next outing in the tournament. The game was originally slated for Friday evening, but the tournament was delayed by rain. Western Connecticut came back to defeat Keene State 5-4 in the first game of the tourney.
The win also gives PSC a 25-6 overall record, establishing a school record for victories in a season. The Panthers set the old mark last year when they finished 24-13-2. RIC is now 20-12-1.
Sophomore pitcher Kim Jeffs (Stoughton, Mass.) was her usual dominating self for PSC, allowing only three hits while striking out nine to post her 11th shutout of the season and improve her record to 22-4. Junior Kim Warrington (North Kingstown, R.I.) pitched a strong game for RIC, but took the loss despite giving up only one run on five hits and three walks, fanning six.
The Panthers got the only run they would need in the third when senior Steph Marsland (Cumberland, R.I.) singled and freshman Rose Eaton (Concord, N.H.) walked with no one out. Both runners advanced on a flyout, and PSC loaded the bases on an infield hit by freshman Shawn Cooley (Waterford, Conn.).
Knox registered the single to left to drive in a run, but RIC avoided further damage when PSC clean-up hitter Adriene Harvey (Nantucket, Mass.) bounced into a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
RIC’s best chance to score came in the second inning when Warrington and Caitlin Schimmel (Cumberland, R.I.) collected singles, but Jeffs struck out the next batter to end the threat.
Saturday’s schedule begins at 11:00 a.m. with the conclusion of Game Three between RIC and Keene State, which was suspended Friday in the bottom of the third. Game Four between WCSU and PSC is slated for 1:30 p.m. The winner of Game Three and the loser of Game Four will meet in Game Five at 4:00 p.m., and the winner of Games Four and Five vying for the championship at 6:30 p.m. If a Game Seven is necessary, it would be Sunday at 12 noon.
The LEC Tournament Champion receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III National Tournament.