Softball: Warriors Sweep Defending Little East Champions, Now 5-1 in Conference

Junior leftfielder Calli Duthrie put the finishing touches on Saturday's Little East Conference sweep of defending LEC tournament champion UMass Boston with a long running catch of a seventh-inning drive by UMB second baseman Alyssa Tulle.
Junior leftfielder Calli Duthrie put the finishing touches on Saturday's Little East Conference sweep of defending LEC tournament champion UMass Boston with a long running catch of a seventh-inning drive by UMB second baseman Alyssa Tulle.

MANSFIELD, Conn. – Freshman righty Morgan Bolduk (Vernon) pitched 9 ½ innings without allowing an earned run to earn both wins on the mound and had four hits and scored four runs as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team swept a Little East Conference doubleheader from the University of Massachusetts Boston, 8-0 in six innings and 9-5 Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Softball Stadium.

In the opener, Bolduk (7-5) tossed a four-hitter with eight strikeouts and one walk and was one of four players with two hits; in the second game, Bolduk came on in relief when UMass Boston's (9-17, 1-3 LEC) was scoring a first-inning run. She threw one pitch to end the inning and later returned in a 3-3 game to pitch the final three innings and was credited with the victory when Eastern (11-14, 5-1 LEC) scored twice in the fifth on two hits, a walk and infield error and added four insurance runs when it batted around in the sixth and scored four runs on five hits and an infield error.

The Little East sweep is Eastern's 21st in 22 tries against UMass, which won its first Little East tournament title last year en route to a program-record 30 wins. The Beacons have lost six of their last eight.

In two games, Bolduk, sophomore shortstop Sara Pisanelli (Wallingford) and freshman utility player Alexis Tyrrell (Torrington) all had four hits to spark a 25-hit attack which included only one extra-base hit (a double by Pisanelli).  Sophomores Sabrina LeMere (North Branford), Megan Hodgdon (Cheshire) and Jackie Lewis (Mystic) all contributed three hits and freshman DP Kat Devolve (Plainfield) reached four times with two hits and two walks. In addition to Bolduk scoring four runs, Devolve and LeMere each scored three times.

Batting leadoff, Tyrrell drove in four runs with a two-run single in a four-run sixth inning in the first game and with a two-run single in the second inning of the second game that gave Eastern a 2-1 lead. The No. 3 hitter in the lineup, Pisanelli plated three runs with a ground ball and single in the first game and a double in the second game; and LeMere was also credited with three RBI with a sacrifice fly and single in the opener and a ground ball in the nightcap.

Three UMass hitters had more than one hit on the day. Freshman rightfielder Kelly Danahy (Kingston, MA) was 4-for-7 with two runs scored and an RBI and All-Region junior catcher Roxanne Vento (Arlington, MA) was 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run and junior centerfield Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, RI) 2-for-5 with an RBI.

After giving the Beacons a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the first inning of the second game, Vento, batting cleanup, unloaded a monster two-run home run in the third inning of the nightcap that gave the Beacons a 3-2 lead. The Warriors answered with the tying run in the bottom of the inning, scoring an unearned run on singles by Pisanelli and Devolve and an infield error.  Pisanelli and Bolduk opened the fifth inning with singles, Devolve walked and two runs scored on two errors to make it 5-3.

In 9 1/3 innings, Bolduk surrendered two unearned runs on seven hits, fanning nine and walked two.

Eastern hosts Western Connecticut Tuesday in a 5 p.m. conference doubleheader.