WORCESTER, Mass. -- Fifth-seeded Bridgewater State University dropped a 9-4 decision to #4 Worcester State University in the opening round of the 2017 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Softball Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Worcester's Rockwood Park.
The host Lancers (18-16) advance to the four-team, double elimination portion of the tournament. Worcester will take on top-seeded Framingham State University on Thursday afternoon at four. The visiting Bears end the season with an overall record of 15-20.
The Lancers opened the scoring with four runs on two hits and one error in the bottom of the first inning. Courtney Salisbury (Cranston, R.I.) led of the frame with a walk and came around to score two batters later when Sydney Despres (Sterling, Mass.) reached on a dropped fly ball. An RBI single from Rachel Couto (Chelmsford, Mass.), an RBI fielder's choice grounder by Kaci Panarelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.) made it 3-0. Dakota Smith-Porter (Montague, Mass.) scored the final run of the inning on the back end of an attempted double steal.
The Bears responded with three runs in the top of the second. Bridgewater banged out three hits in the frame and took advantage of a Worcester miscue. A two-run double off the bat of Kristyna Flaherty (Burlington, Mass.) plating Courtney Gouveia (Taunton, Mass.) and Alexandra Zoebisch (Plymouth, Mass.) cut the deficit to 4-2. Flaherty raced home on Jackie Welch's (Hubbardston, Mass.) RBI double to make it a one-run game.
An RBI single from Kristen Huston (Spencer, Mass.) in the home half of the second extended the Lancers' advantage to 5-3. Worcester tacked on an unearned run in the fourth and pushed across three more runs on five hit in the fifth inning to take a commading 9-3 lead. An RBI single from Shannon Magner (Lynn, Mass.) and a two-run double by Salisbury highlighted the three-run fifth.
Consecutive singles by Flaherty, Morgan Cox (Hubbardston, Mass.) and Welch with one out in the sixth cut the deficit to 9-4. The Bears had a chance to do more damage in the inning but stranded two runners.
Worcester closed out the game by setting down the Bears in order in the seventh inning to seal the win.
Four Lancer batters (Huston, Despres, Couto, and Smith-Porter) registered two hits apiece in the win, while Salisbury drove in a team-high two runs.
Flaherty was a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI to highlight the BSU offense. Welch also knocked in two runs as she went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Rachel Frisch (Worcester, Mass.) came on in relief and saw five innings in the circle to pick up the win. Frisch allowed just one run on five hits with three strikeouts. Bridgewater starter Kathleen Bailey (Bayport, N.Y.) suffered the loss as she worked the first three innings.