CLERMONT, Fla. – Sophomore Erin Martin (Biddeford, Maine) went 4-for-9 at the plate over two games and drove in seven RBI to pace the University of Southern Maine Huskies softball team to a pair of wins in its final games in Florida. The Huskies defeated MCLA 8-0 in six innings, and then closed the day with an 8-5 win over the Elmhurst College Bluejays.
With the two wins, Southern Maine concludes its spring break games with a 6-6 record. MCLA falls to 1-8 with its loss to the Huskies, while Elmhurst dropped below .500 to 3-4.
GAME ONE: SOUTHERN MAINE 8, MCLA 0 (6 inn)
Senior Amber Kelly (Berwick, Maine/Noble) fired a two-hit shutout in game one, collecting eight strikeouts over six innings as USM blanked MCLA 8-0. Martin was 1-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, while classmate Kayleigh Bohan (Bedford, N.H.) went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
With Kelly controlling the circle allowing just one base runner through three-and-a-half innings, Southern Maine broke the game open with five runs in the bottom of the fourth innings. Junior Brooke Cross (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) led off the inning with a double to left, and then came around to score on an RBI ground out from senior Courtney Davis (Woburn, Mass.). An RBI single from senior Taylor Lux (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy) made it 2-0, and an RBI single from sophomore Tabitha Hirsch (Coral Springs, Fla./South Plantation) made it 3-0 before Martin stroked a two-out double to right to score Hirsch and Bohan, who reached base safely with a single.
Southern Maine tacked on another two runs in the bottom of the fifth a two-run double from Bohan scoring Lux and Cross who each drew walks in their at bats, before scoring the game-ender in the bottom of the sixth. Junior Brittany Plowman (Scarborough, Maine) led off the sixth with a single, and advanced to third on an MCLA throwing error. With two on, and no outs, Kelly drew a walk to load the bases before Cross hit a sacrifice fly into left field for an RBI and the Huskies' eighth run of the game.
MCLA starter Morgan Watson was tagged with the loss. Watson allowed five earned runs on seven hits over four innings. Reliever Kara Adams pitched the final 1.1 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks.
GAME TWO: SOUTHERN MAINE 8, ELMHURST 5
Martin, Cross, Lux and Bohan each collected three hits to lead a 16-hit attack as Southern Maine rolled Elmhurst 8-5. Martin drove in a career-best five RBI in a 3-for-5 effort at the plate, including her first intercollegiate triple. Sophomore Alexis Brown (Malden, Mass.) earned her third win of the season allowing four runs (three earned) over six innings, yielding eight hits and three walks. Kelly closed out the game in the seventh, allowing one run, on two hits.
After a scoreless first inning, USM scored three innings in the top of the second and two more in the top of the third to take control 5-0. Martin drove in Hirsch, Lux and Bohan who had each singled ahead of her to load the bases. In the third, Davis connected on a two-run single to center driving in Cross and Lux.
Martin continued her timely hitting in the top of the fifth with a two-run single through the right side to put the Huskies up 7-0. Elmhurst took one back in the home-half of the inning on a USM throwing error. The Bluejays loaded the bases on a walk and back-to-back singles from Faith Thompson and Stephanie Sturino before a misplay on a fielder's choice resulted in a run.
USM scored its final run of the game in the top of the sixth as Cross and Hirsch each collected singles before Lux hit an RBI base hit to center field to plate Cross and give the Huskies an 8-1 lead headed into the bottom of the sixth.
Down to its final six outs, Elmhurst kept the game interesting scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth on five hits and a walk. Tara Cannella, Thompson and Sturino each had an RBI in the inning before Brown bounced back to get the final out of the innings. Trailing 8-4, Elmhurst kept the Huskies off the scoreboard in the seventh retiring three straight. In its final at bat, Elmhurst faced Kelly in relief in Brown. Kelly got the first two outs of the inning on a grounder and a strikeout before giving up a walk and two singles, including an RBI single to Thompson, before ending the game on a ground out to Lux at short for the 8-5 win.
Southern Maine is scheduled to travel to Bates College on Wednesday, March 28 (3:00 p.m.) for a non-conference doubleheader. Martin collected three of her RBI with a two-out triple down the right field line.