Softball Swept by #22 Southern Connecticut State in Friday Doubleheader
Nikki Pratt goes 2-for-2 with a home run and two runs driven in during game one
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (March 30, 2012) -- The Franklin Pierce University softball team was swept by No. 22 nationally-ranked Southern Connecticut State in a Friday doubleheader at Pelz Field in New Haven, Conn. SCSU won game one by a 6-2 count, while earning a 10-0 decision in five innings in game two. Franklin Pierce fell to 8-11 overall and 6-4 in the Northeast-10, while the Owls improved to 19-3 and 7-1 in league play.
Senior outfielder Nicole Pratt (Gardner, Mass.) went 2-for-2 with a home run and both runs driven in for the Ravens in game one, while classmate and infielder Meaghan O'Neal (Littleton, Mass.) went 3-for-4 at the dish.
Freshman pitcher Kaitlyn Johnson (New Boston, N.H.) pitched a complete game for the Ravens, but was saddled with the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks in six innings of action.
Southern Connecticut got to Johnson with four runs in the bottom of the third to break a scoreless tie, with the highlight of the inning coming from Brittany Bucko, as she launched a two-run homer center field. Shawna Mallory, who singled in the frame's prior at-bat, came around to score on Bucko's shot. It was the first of two home runs on the day for the SCSU center fielder.
The Ravens scratched out a run in the top of the fourth to pull to within three at 4-1. Sophomore Jamie Wiley (Cape Vincent, N.Y.) walked to lead off the frame, advanced to second on a single by O'Neal and then went to third as senior Rachel Baxter (Cumberland, R.I.) drew a base on balls to load the bases. Pratt followed and lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to left field, which allowed Wiley to tag up from third and cross home safely.
The Owls tacked on a pair of runs in the fifth inning when Alyssa Downs sent a two-run blast over the wall in left-center field, scoring Kristin Whitley, who reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the frame.
Pratt answered with a homer of her own in the sixth (her first of the season), but her solo shot was the last run the Ravens would get in their attempt at trying to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
Kelsey Cockrill went the distance for SCSU in the pitching circle and earned the win to improve to 9-1 on the year. She gave up two runs while scattering seven hits over seven innings with 10 strikeouts and five walks.
Southern Connecticut State used the momentum from its game one win to jump all over the Ravens in game two. The Owls pushed a pair of runs across in the first and scored four times in both the second and third innings to set the eight-run rule and cap the game after four-and-a-half innings were played.
Senior catcher Jamie Verner (Natick, Mass.) had the Ravens' lone hit in the game as SCSU pitcher Jayme Larson struck out four with zero walks to pick up the win and run her record to 9-1.
Junior hurler Rachel Allen (Hull, Mass.) took to the circle for the Ravens, but lasted just two innings in suffering the loss. She allowed all 10 runs (only five were earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts and four walks.
Downs tripled down the right-field line in the first inning and drove in Nicole Buch to kick-start SCSU's scoring. Downs came in to score during the inning's next at-bat as Kate Hoffman stroked an RBI single to right field.
The Owls plated four runs on three hits in the second to take a 6-0 advantage. The third inning saw four more runs for the Owls, including an RBI double from Kristie Vituli and a three-run homer from Bucko.
Franklin Pierce returns to action Sunday when the Ravens travel back to Connecticut to face New Haven in a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce softball, please visit the team's page at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the program even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens).