GORHAM, Maine – Senior Allison Pillar (Buxton, Maine/Bonny Eagle) hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to highlight an outstanding 5-for-7 performance at the plate to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies to an extra-inning 2-1 win over the Plymouth State University Panthers in the first game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at the USM Softball Stadium.
With the split, Southern Maine remains at .500 in the Little East at 3-3 and is 10-11 overall. Plymouth State is 14-14 overall and 4-4 in the conference.
GAME ONE: Southern Maine 2, Plymouth State 1 (9 inn.)
With the game knotted at one run, Pillar collected her third hit of the game in the bottom of the ninth with a single to through the right side to deliver the 2-1 win for the Huskies. Pillar laced the single on the ground through the infield to drive in her second RBI of the game. Pillar's game-winner plated junior Courtney Davis (Woburn, Mass.) who led off the inning with a double to the center field fence. After the double freshman Julianna Cleaves (Bar Harbor, Maine/Mount Desert Island) came on as a pinch runner and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from senior Samantha Crosman (South Berwick, Maine/Marshwood).
Pillar staked the Huskies an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second with a single to center field, scoring Husky sophomore Brooke Cross (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy). Pillar finished the game 3-for-4 with two singles and a double and was responsible for both of the Huskies' RBI.
PSU tied the game up in the top of the fifth. Freshman Haley Birch (Salem, Conn./East Lyme) drove in the run with a single into right field, scoring senior Emma Rhodes (Rochester, N.H.). Rhodes reached on a fielder's choice and moved into scoring position on a single up the middle from freshman Nora Butler (Tewksbury, Mass.).
With both pitchers hurling strong games the contest remained tied and low-scoring. Husky rookie Madison Greene (Moultonborough, N.H.) turned in a strong performance in the win. Greene scattered four hits, all singles, and three walks over nine innings for the victory. Freshman Caitlin Miller (Lee, N.H.) also pitched a fine game in the loss. Miller fell to 8-3 on the season despite allowing one earned run on six hits. Miller did not yield a walk and struck out five.
GAME TWO: Plymouth State 7, Southern Maine 2
Plymouth State bounced back in game two to score seven runs on 11 hits to earn the split with USM. The Huskies led 2-1 after the second inning on a two-out, two-run double from Crosman, but the Panthers answered back in the top of third with a two-out RBI of their own from junior Abrie Davis (Amherst, N.H.) for a 2-2 game.
The score remained 2-2 through the fourth before PSU unleashed for three runs in the top of the fifth and two more in the top of the sixth to take control. Senior Katie Kennard (Concord, N.H.) had an RBI single in the fifth, while freshman Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) had a two-run double to the right field gap. In the sixth, sophomore Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) was responsible for both PSU runs with an RBI single that hopped over the middle of the infield.
Sophomore Hanna Seidner (Pembroke, N.H.) earned the win in the circle for PSU. She did not give up an earned run, allowing six hits in seven innings. She struck out three. Junior Amber Kelly (Berwick, Maine/Noble) was saddle with the loss. She allowed four earned runs on seven hits and a walk in 4.2 innings.
Southern Maine travels to Husson University on Thursday (3:00 pm) for a non-conference doubleheader.