DANBURY, Conn. -- Senior centerfielder Samantha Bardos (Norwalk) tripled in three of her team's six unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team won the first game of a Little East Conference makeup doubleheader,10-7, on the way to a sweep of Western Connecticut State Sunday at Westside Field University that gives the Warriors a share of the regular-season title
Needing a split to claim its first outright regular-season championship in 14 years, Western (18-19, 8-6 LEC) was swept by Eastern (13-23, 8-6 LEC) for the third straight season when freshman lefty Morgan Sanson (Thomaston) fired a seven-hitter with ten strikeouts and no walks for her first career complete game in the nightcap, and freshman No. 9 hitter Megan Hodgdon (Cheshire) drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the top of the seventh in a 3-2 victory.
Eastern, which was in danger of missing the six-team LEC double-elimination tournament at the outset of play Sunday, shares the regular-season title with Western, Plymouth State University and UMass Boston, the latter two having completed their seasons Saturday. Eastern has now won or shared the regular-season championship eight times in the last ten years.
On the basis of tie-breakers, Eastern will be the No. 2 seed and will host No. 5 UMass Dartmouth in a first-round single game of the double-elimination tournament Tuesday at 6 p.m. Plymouth State, which swept Eastern in the regular season will serve as the No. 1 seed and will host a first-round game Tuesday, as well as the remainder of the tournament beginning Friday.
In the first game Sunday, Eastern led 4-0, but Western took 7-4 lead into the seventh inning on the strength of a five-run sixth inning, but four hits, a walk, and two Western infield errors produced six runs and put the Warriors ahead, 10-7.
Senior DP Kristyn Ryan's (Barkhamsed) 100th career hit and a single by senior infielder Gina Georgetti (Milford) got the seventh inning going and a one-out walk loaded the bases. Consecutive infield errors sent in two runs, freshman shortstop Sara Pisanelli's (Wallingford) two-out single tied the score, and Bardos' bases-clearing triple made it 10-7.
Freshman lefty Jacky Arndt (Chelmsford, MA) pitched into the sixth inning and later returned to pitch a scoreless seventh to record her first career save. Senior righty Samantha Valentine (Ridge, NY) allowed an RBI double but got the final two outs of the sixth inning to record the win.
In the second game, Eastern led 2-0 by scoring single runs in the second (without a hit) and fourth (Georgetti's first home run of the season). After Western tied the game in the sixth on No. 3 hitter Kayla Nowalk's two-run home run, the Warriors pushed across what proved to be the winning run in the seventh. Junior leftfielder Jessica Seymour (Barkhamsted) walked to open the seventh, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman third baseman Crysta Wolski (West Hartford) and came around to score when Hodgdon laced a double to left-center, scoring Seymour.
Sanson (3-6) stranded the tying and winning runs in scoring position by getting a swinging strikeout to end the game in the bottom of the seventh.