Softball: After Sweep of Keene, No. 2 Seed Eastern Opens in LEC Tourney Thursday

Jessica Seymour was honored as the team's only senior on Seniors' Day after the Warriors swept Keene State College Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Softball Stadium to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Little East Conference Tournament, which gets underway Thursday at Plymouth State University.
Jessica Seymour was honored as the team's only senior on Seniors' Day after the Warriors swept Keene State College Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Softball Stadium to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Little East Conference Tournament, which gets underway Thursday at Plymouth State University.

MANSFIELD, Conn. – Freshman utility player Morgan Bolduk (Vernon) pitched a complete-game three-hitter in the opener and Eastern Connecticut State University amassed 17 hits off three pitchers in the nightcap as the Warriors  earned the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Little East Conference Tournament Saturday with 1-0, 10-2 victories over Keene State College. The second game was stopped in the sixth inning due to the eight-run rule after the Warriors scored four runs.

Eastern (17-18, 10-4 LEC) plays at noon on the opening day of the LEC six-team, double-elimination tournament Thursday, which will be hosted at top-seeded and regular-season champion Plymouth State University. Thursday, the Warriors will play No. 5 seed, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (23-13, 7-7 LEC), which split at the University of Southern Maine Saturday to finish in sole possession of fifth place.

Unofficially, Keene (9-21, 5-9 LEC) does not qualify for the tournament after finishing in a two-way tie for the sixth and final spot with UMass Boston and losing the tie-breaker to the Beacons on results against top-seeded Plymouth State.

Bolduk (10-8) struck out three without a walk in the opener, and freshman rightfielder Alexis Tyrrell (Torrington)  drove her in with an unearned run in the fifth inning for the only run of the game. With two out, Bolduk reached on a fielding error, stole second, and rode home on Tyrrell's base knock.

Leading 4-2 in the nightcap, the Warriors broke it open with a pair runs in the fifth after there were two out and none on, and the game ended in the sixth when sophomore shortstop Sara Pisanelli (Wallingford) drove in Tyrrell with a one-out double for the first run of the inning, and sophomore second baseman Jackie Lewis (Mystic) doubled home two runs and came around to score on a throwing error by the catcher for the game-ending run.

At left: Assistant coach Tom Madera was presented with the 2018 Jeffrey W. Anderson Memorial Award on Alumni and Senior Day Saturday. Making the presentation on behalf of Keith Anderson -- brother of the late Jeff Anderson -- are current head coach Diana Pepin '92 (left) and softball alumnus Dawn (Walmsley) Brolin '92. 

In the second game, sophomore centerfielder Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) was 4-for-4 with two runs scored, freshman first baseman Christine Guyette (Mansfield) 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Lewis and Bolduk each had two hits, two RBI and two runs scored.

Bolduk's fourth home run on the first pitch of the first inning gave Eastern the early lead in the second game before Keene State tied the game in the  top of the second when  sophomore second baseman Courtney Votto led off with a double and later scored from third on junior catcher Julie Elwell's bunt single.

In the second game, Eastern took the lead for good, 3-1, with two runs in the bottom of the second on Guyette's first-pitch single, two walks and Pisanelli's two-out, two-run single.

Sophomore Haleigh Cardello (Litchfield, NH) was credited with her second win in five decisions in relief in the nightcap, allowing one run on three hits over the final 3 1/3 innings.

On the day, seven Eastern players had at least  two hits. LeMere was 5-for-7 with two runs scored; Bolduk reached five times with four hits, three runs and two RBI and stole three bases; Guyette, Pisanelli and Lewis all had three hits and sophomore catcher Megan Hodgdon (Cheshire) and Tyrrell two each.

Votto had three hits and Elwell two in Keene's 11-hit attack on the day but were the only multiple hitters. Junior Molly St. Germain started both games on the mound for the Owls, giving up 12 hits and three earned runs over eight total innings.

Jessica Seymour (Barkhamsted), the team's only senior, started both games in left field on Seniors' Day, contributed three sacrifice bunts from the No. 9 spot in the order, helping to build Eastern's first (go-ahead) run in the second inning of the nightcap and a run in the fourth inning that gave Eastern a 4-2 lead, also in the second game.

Eastern closes out the regular season Sunday, hosting Salve Regina University in a noon makeup non-conference doubleheader.