PLYMOUTH, N.H.—Freshman pitcher Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) was dominant and senior Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) provided just enough offense, as #4 UMass Boston softball earned a spot in the LEC Championship Series Friday morning.
#4 UMass Boston 2, #2 Eastern Connecticut State 1
(UMass Boston 26-11)
(Eastern Connecticut State 15-25)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Raczkowski drove in a run in the first and raced home to score on an error with two outs in the third, to back one of the best outing of the season from Greenspan.
With the win, #4 UMass Boston advances to take on #1 Plymouth State University in the LEC Championship Series starting at 12:30 p.m. The Beacons will need to beat the Panthers twice, to earn their first-ever LEC Tournament Championship.
The freshman worked around early trouble, to shutout the #2 seeded Warriors for the final six innings. Greenspan limited Eastern Connecticut State to seven hits and one walk, to move to 2-0 in the LEC Tournament. She left seven total Warriors on base.
Greenspan also struck out three batters to become the third pitcher in program history to go over the century mark in strikeouts for a single-season (102).
Raczkowski had two of the Beacons' three hits with a single and a double and added an RBI and a run scored. Sophomore Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) added a bunt single, that led to the Beacons second run scored.
Eastern lefty Morgan Sanson was the tough-luck loser. In her third outing in two days, Sanson allowed just three hits and two runs, while walking three.
Kristyn Ryan led the Warriors with a pair of doubles and an RBI in her final collegiate game. Fellow senior Samantha Valentine and freshman Sara Pisanelli each added two hits of their own.
UMass Boston struck for a run in the top of the first. Morse was hit by a pitch and Vento walked to put two on with one out. After a wild pitch moved both runners up 60 feet, Raczkowski blooped a single into shallow center to score Morse.
The Warriors countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Pisanelli led off with a single and moved to second on a Beacons error. After a sacrifice bunt moved her to third, Ryan belted a double to tie the game. With two on and one out, Greenspan got a fly out and a ground out to keep the score tied.
Raczkowski helped the Beacons' take the lead for good in the top of the third. She belted a two-out double to the wall and then scored on the next play. Pawlina put down a perfect bunt and Sanson threw the ball over the head of the first baseman to allow Raczkowski to score from second.
From there, it was a pitcher's duel between the two freshman aces.
Greenspan left a single runner on in the third and the fourth, before running into some serious trouble in the fifth.
In the fifth, Samantha Bardos doubled to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Greenspan retired Ryan with a foul pop and then got a soft grounder to first to keep the Warriors off the board.
Eastern put a runner at second with one out in the sixth, but Greenspan retired the final two batters to keep them off the board.
The Warriors went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh thanks to some great defense from freshman Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.). Braga made a diving catch in shallow center for the second out and then threw out Bardos on a bang-bang play at first to end the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston avenged a regular-season sweep at the hands of the Warriors with today's win. The Beacons also ended Eastern's season for a second-straight year.
- With the victory, UMass Boston will be appearing in their second-straight LEC Championship Series and second overall.
- Raczkowski moved into second-place in program history with her two hits. She passed Andrea Ciarletta ('07) for second place with her 139 career hits.
- Plymouth State University is making their first-ever LEC Championship Series appearance. The winner of today's series is guaranteed to be a first-time LEC Tournament Champion.
#4 UMass Boston will look to extend the LEC Championship Series to a game two, when they take on #1 Plymouth State University at 12:30 p.m.