MANSFIELD, Conn. – Sophomore lefty Jackie Arndt (Chelmsford, MA) spun a three-hitter for her first complete game of the season and freshman DP Kat Devolve (Plainfield) had a two-run double in a four-run second inning to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team to a 5-2 Little East Conference victory over the University of Southern Maine and a split of Saturday's season-opening conference doubleheader at the Eastern Softball Stadium.
In the first game, Southern Maine (7-9, 1-1 LEC) defeated Eastern (4-11, 1-1 LEC) for the fifth straight time in the series -- with all of its runs unearned – in a 7-2 victory that spoiled the Warriors' home-opener.
A second-year Division II transfer, Arndt (1-1) was in command throughout the second game, striking out seven and walking three and limiting the Huskies to three hits and single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, with infield errors contributing to both of USM's runs.
Four of Eastern's five runs against USM sophomore starter Alexis Brown in the nightcap were unearned. After scoring a run in the bottom of the first on an infield error, bunt single and wild pitch, Eastern drove Brown from the mound by scoring four runs (three unearned) in the second, two coming on Devolve's two-out, two-run RBI double which doubled her season RBI total.
Arndt struck out two batters in each of the first two innings and allowed only one hit – a bloop single to center leading off the third -- and one unearned run through five innings when an infield single and senior third baseman Courtney Davis' RBI double to center closed out the scoring in the game.
Senior righty Amber Kelly tossed a four-hit complete game in the opener, fanning four and walking only one and giving up only one earned run. Playing only its second doubleheader of the year following a ten-day layoff, Southern Maine scored three times in the first inning in the opener on back-to-back home runs by freshman cleanup hitter Hannah Kenney and senior shortstop Taylor Lux, and after the Warriors got two back in the bottom of the inning, added two in the third in driving Eastern freshman righty Morgan Bolduk (Vernon) from the mound to all but secure the victory.
At left: Prior to Saturday's home-opener, 17th-year head coach Diana Pepin was presented with a life-size banner in recognition of her 400th coaching win, which occured March 15 against nationally-ranked Ramapo College at Kissimmee, FL. The banner was created and presented by Michael Georgetti, father of Eastern softball alumnus Gina Georgetti. For his support of the program, Michael Georgetti was named co-recipient of last year's Jeffrey W. Anderson Memorial Award. (Photo by Ryan Coppinger)
The heart of the USM order did most of the damage in a nine-hit attack in the opening game, Kenney driving in two runs and scoring two, Lux reaching four times with a single, double, home run and error, scored three times and drove in one with the first-inning home run. Kelly aided her own cause with a two-run single that highlighted the three-run third, and Davis had two hits, including a two-run, two-out double in the fifth that pushed the USM lead to 7-2.
With each team making six errors in the doubleheader, only three of the 16 runs were earned.
Freshman utility player Alexis Tyrrell (Torrington) led Eastern with four hits on the afternoon and scored two runs, while Bolduk had three hits, scored three runs and drove in a run, and sophomore shortstop Sara Pisanelli (Wallingford) and sophomore second baseman Jackie Lewis (Mystic) each had two hits. Tyrrell started the second game in right field – her fifth different starting position this year. After singling twice in the opening game, Pisanelli was 0-for-2 with a walk in the nightcap to extend her on-base streak to 11 games but stop her ten-game hitting streak.
Lux, Davis and Kenney all had three hits on the day for Southern Maine, with Kenney scoring four times and driving in two runs with her first-game home run and Lux scoring three times.
Eastern hosts Wesleyan University Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in a non-conference doubleheader.