WORCESTER, Mass. – The No. 4 Worcester State Lancers defeated the No. 5 Bridgewater State Bears in the first round of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) tournament by a score of 9-4 Wednesday (May 3) afternoon at Rockwood Park.
With the win, Worcester State improves to 18-16 on the season and advances to the quarterfinals tomorrow (May 4) which will be played at No. 1 Framingham State with a 4 p.m. first pitch. With the loss, the Bears are eliminated from the tournament and complete the 2017 campaign with a 15-20 record.
Following three back-to-back Bear strikeouts from Worcester State's starting pitcher, Dakota Smith-Porter (Montague, Mass.), the Lancers scored four runs on two hits and one error in the bottom of the first. The first run crossed when Sydney Despres (Sterling, Mass.) reached on an error and Courtney Salisbury (Cranston, R.I.) rounded third and headed home for the 1-0 lead. The Blue and Gold added three more runs in the inning on an RBI from Kaci Panarelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and an attempted double-steal for Smith-Porter to reach for the 4-0 gain.
The Bears bounced back from the four-run deficit in the top of the second as they scored three runs on three hits and one Lancer error. Kristyna Flaherty (Burlington, Mass.) began the scoring with a two-RBI double to centerfield, plating Courtney Gouveia (Taunton, Mass.) and Alexandra Zoebisch (Plymouth, Mass.). Bridgewater tallied their third run of the game on another RBI double from Jackie Welch (Hubbardston, Mass.).
Worcester State chipped in another run in the bottom of the second on an RBI single from Kristen Huston (Spencer, Mass.) to put the score at 6-3.
After a scoreless third inning, the Lancers chipped in another run in the fourth as they capitalized on Bridgewater's fourth fielding error of the game. They then added three more in the fifth to insure the win. The three runs in the fifth were scored on five hits, including an RBI single from Shannon Magner (Lynn, Mass.) and a two-run double from Salisbury.
Bridgewater State slid another run home in the top of the sixth on an RBI single from Welch, however ended the sixth with a popup and a strikeout. The Lancers closed out the top of the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning to seal the 9-4 victory.
Four Lancer batters registered two hits apiece in the win (Huston, Despres, Rachel Couto, and Smith-Porter) while Salisbury drove in a team-high two runs.
For the visitors, Flaherty led the offense batting 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Welch gathered two RBI as well as she went 2-for-3 from the batter's box.
Worcester State's opening pitcher, Smith-Porter, pitched the first two innings, striking out five of her 10 batters faced. Rachel Frisch (Worcester, Mass.) came in relief and earned the win as she saw five innings in the circle, only allowing five hits and one run with three strikeouts. Bridgewater's starter, Kathleen Bailey (Bayport, N.Y.) suffered the loss in a 3-inning, six-hit outing.