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LACROSSE: THREE FROM EASTERN ARE ECAC NEW ENGLAND ALL-STARS

    MacDonald region's top defensive player; Barrett, Vasil also honored

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WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -  Senior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA)  shared the honor as ECAC New England Division III women's lacrosse Defensive Player-of-the-Year as one of three Eastern Connecticut State University lacrosse players honored with season-ending awards.

Above: Taylor MacDonald, foreground, Megan Barrett, background (Stephen Goomrigian photo)

MacDonald was named to the ECAC all-star first team and was joined on the women's all-star team by third-team sophomore defender Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY).  Junior midfielder Eric Vasil (Southington) represented the Warriors as a first-team selection to the men's team.

The honor is among many this season for MacDonald, who closed out a brilliant four-year career by also being selected to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Berkshire Region second team  and as the Little East Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year for the third straight season and a four-time all-conference selection.

Barrett, who moved from midfield to defense this year, started all 19 matches and was second only to MacDonald with  62 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers. Barrett averaged better than 3.0 ground balls per match, collecting at least one in 13 consecutive games.Five times she totalled five or more, with a career-high six coming against both 2010 LEC playoff champion University of Southern Maine and against UMass Dartmouth in the opening round of the LEC playoffs.   

This year, MacDonald led the Warriors in ground  balls  (63) for the fourth straight year and in draw controls (71) and caused turnovers  (27) for the third time. She was also the Eastern leader in assists (37), points (69) and shots (86) for the second straight season.

MacDonald never missed a start in her career and finished first all-time at Eastern in starts and appearances, with 74. She is also first in ground balls (273) and draw controls (237), second in assists (105) and one of 12 players in program history with as many as 100 goals (105).

In her career, MacDonald led Eastern to a four-year record of 42-32, four berths in the LEC playoff title game, two LEC playoff titles, and a mark of 23-1 in LEC regular-season play. The team won the LEC regular-season crown outright three times and shared the title once. Eastern was 9-10 this year and reached the title game of the LEC playoffs.

A total of 16 Eastern women have earned a spot on the ECAC All-Star Team since 2002.

Vasil adds ECAC honors to memorable season

 Earlier this month, Vasil was selected to the United State Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division III All-America team, was also a second-team pick to the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA)  and first-team All-Little East Conference.

Vasil, who repeated as the nation's statistical leader in faceoff percentage and ground balls per game this spring,  was among ten players and two midfielder voted to the ECAC first team, becoming the program's 23 selection to the ECAC All-Star Team , fifth in three years.

Vasil has proven himself to be the nation's premier faceoff specialist for two straight seasons, leading Division III in faceoff percentage (.761) and ground balls per game (14.1) for the second straight year. This year, he finished well ahead of national runnerup J.J. Miller of Messiah College (.741) and No. 3 Craig Bunker of Colby College (.724) in faceoff percentage and decidedly better in ground balls per game than runner-up Stuart Knechtle (11.47) of Gordon College.

Over the course of the season, Vasil won less than half of his faceoffs in a game only once (against three different faceoff men from  NCAA Division III national finalist Salisbury University). In eight conference games, he won 80.7 percent of his attempts, including 15 of 16 against Plymouth State, 20 of 22 against UMass Boston and 22 of 24 against Western Connecticut.

In three years, Vasil is already the program's all-time leader in  career faceoff wins (671) and and winning percentage (.693). He needs two attempts to break the current career record of 969. Vasil set season records for faceoff percentage, wins and attempts as a sophomore in 2009, and broke those records this past year. In addition to his nation-leading winning percentage, he set season records for wins (286) and attempts (376).

Eastern finished 12-5 this season, 6-1 in the conference.

 

BASEBALL: BASS, PARKE WILL REPRESENT EASTERN AT FENWAY

Senior double play combination named to New England All-Star Game

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NEIBA All-Star Game Rosters.pdf

All-Conference.pdf

All-New England Region.pdf

ECAC All-New England.pdf

Final ABCA National Poll.pdf

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University senior middle infielders Travis Bass (West Hartford) and John Parke (Middlefield) are expected to compete as members of the College Division baseball team Sunday, June 6 at the 36th Annual New England College All-Star Game at Fenway Park in Boston.

Above: Travis Bass (background) and John Parke.

The College Division all-star team is comprised of 16 Division III seniors and 15 Division II players and will face a team of University (Division I) all-stars Sunday at 3 p.m. NCAA regulations prevent Division III underclassmen from competing in all-star games.

Bass and Parke's statistics this season were nearly identical. This year's starting shortstop, Bass started all 46 games in which he appeared, batting .338 with 41 RBI and 21 extra-base hits and shared the team lead with 66 hits and led the team with107 assists. Parke, the starting second baseman who started all 45 games in which he appeared, batted .337  with 49 RBI and 24 extra-base hits, 65 hits and 105 assists.  Parke was the team's leadoff hitter in 28 games and Bass batted second 42 times.

Both Bass and Parke were three-time  All-New England selections in their careers. Bass was a three-time third-team pick, earning that honor as a freshman at Castleton State College in 2007 before transferring to Eastern. Parke was named to the second team this year after earning third-team mention in each of the previous two seasons.

Bass concluded his three-year Eastern career with a .358 batting average, 186 hits, 151 runs, 109 RBI, 47 stolen bases, and 306 assists. Including his freshman year at Castleton, Bass totaled 250 collegiate hits. Parke, the team's starting leftfielder as a sophomore, batted .345 with 220 hits, 164 runs, 124 RBI, 54 stolen bases and 304 assists.

The Warriors won 31 and lost 15 this season and shared the  Little East Conference regular-season title and qualified for their 31st NCAA tournament in the last 35 years under head coach Bill Holowaty.
 
 A total of 13 institutions were represented on the Division III all-star team, with Eastern, Wheaton College and Western New England College garnering two selections each.

The University Division leads the all-time series 22-11. The teams also played to one tie and one all-star game was divided in East and West. The University Division ended a brief two-year College Division winning streak  with an 11-0 victory last June at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA.

 


 

M-LACROSSE: VASIL ALL-AMERICA

 Nation's No. 1 faceoff specialist named to USILA honorable mention team

vasil_raw_4939.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -  As the men's lacrosse national statistical leader in faceoff percentage and ground balls per game as a sophomore in 2009, Eastern Connecticut State University's Eric Vasil (Southington) did not merit All-America honors.

At left: Eric Vasil

All he could do in 2010, was repeat the accomplishment. He did, and this time, was recognized at the national level by being selected to the 2010 United State Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division III All-America team.

Vasil was among 67 players named to the honorable mention team. The first, second and third teams were  comprised of 12 players each, with the four national semifinals (Salisbury State, Tufts, Stevenson and Cortland) combining for half of those 36 selections.

"Eric has become a tremendous player and an All-America due to all of his hard work and effort," praised third-year Eastern head coach Justin Axel, whose 2009 NCAA tournament team produced honorable mention  All-Americas Steve Lane, a defenseman, and midfielder DJ Simmons. "And because of his great work ethic, Eric will only continue to grow as an athlete, student and person. He is truly a pleasure to coach."

Vasil's other individuals honors this year included selections as first-team All-Little East Conference and second-team All-New England.

Vasil has proven himself to be the nation's premier faceoff specialist for two straight seasons, leading Division III in faceoff percentage (.761) and ground balls per game (14.1) for the second straight year. This year, he finished well ahead of national runnerup J.J. Miller of Messiah College (.741) and No. 3 Craig Bunker of Colby College (.724) in faceoff percentage and decidedly better in ground balls per game than runner-up Stuart Knechtle (11.47) of Gordon College. Bunker was a third-team All-America at Short Stick Specialist.

Over the course of the season, Vasil won less than half of his faceoffs in a game only once (against three different faceoff men from  NCAA Division III national finalist Salisbury University). In eight conference games, he won 80.7 percent of his attempts, including 15 of 16 against Plymouth State, 20 of 22 against UMass Boston and 22 of 24 against Western Connecticut.

Against four national contenders other than Salisbury, he won 76.9 percent of his attempts (80-of-104).

In three years, Vasil is already the program's all-time leader in  career faceoff wins (671) and and winning percentage (.693). He needs two attempts to break the current career record of 969. Vasil set season records for faceoff percentage, wins and attempts as a sophomore in 2009, and broke those records this past year. In addition to his nation-leading winning percentage, he set season records for wins (286) and attempts (376).

Vasil becomes the 11th All-America in program history. Two have been named to the second team and nine as honorable mention. He is the first faceoff specialist to receive the honor.

Eastern finished 12-5 this season, 6-1 in the conference.

 
 

 

LACROSSE: TWO FROM EASTERN ARE ALL-NEW ENGLAND SELECTIONS

MacDonald for women and Vasil for men earn spots on regional teams

macdonald_head_72_2039.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) and junior WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgmidfielder Eric Vasil (Southington) of the Eastern Connecticut State University lacrosse teams have been selected to their respective women's and men's Division III All-New England teams.

MacDonald closed out a brilliant four-year career by being selected to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse vasil_jersey_72_0183.jpgCoaches Association (IWLCA) Berkshire Region second team at midfield while Vasil was named to the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA)  second team at the specialist position.  Both were first-time honorees.

One of only two All-New England selections from a public school, MacDonald becomes the program's seventh All-New England selection but first at midfield. She is the fourth position player from Eastern to earn the honor. She is one of two four-time All-Little East Conference picks, earning first-team honors for the third time this year. She is also a three-time LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year., 2008 LEC playoff MVP and 2007 LEC Rookie-of-the-Year.

MacDonald becomes the second member of her family to earn All-New England honors, joining older sister Kelsey, who was a second-team pick in 2006 while a junior at Plymouth State University.

This year, MacDonald led the Warriors in ground balls for the fourth straight year and in draw controls and caused turnovers for the third time. She was also the Eastern leader in assists, points and shots for the second straight season.

MacDonald never missed a start in her career and finished first all-time at Eastern in starts and appearances, with 74. She is also first in ground balls (273) and draw controls (237), second in assists (105) and one of 12 players in program history with as many as 100 goals (105).

In her career, MacDonald led Eastern to a four-year record of 42-32, four berths in the LEC playoff title game, two LEC playoff titles, and a mark of 23-1 in LEC regular-season play. The team won the LEC regular-season crown outright three times and shared the title once. Eastern was 9-10 this year and reached the title game of the LEC playoffs.

Also one of only two selections from a public university, Vasil becomes the 23rd member of the men's program to garner All-New England honors, third in two years. Vasil has proven himself to be the nation's premier faceoff specialist for two straight seasons, leading Division III in faceoff percentage (.761) and ground balls per game (14.1) for the second straight year. This year, he finished well ahead of national runnerup J.J. Miller of Messiah College (.741) and No. 3 Craig Bunker of Colby College (.724) in faceoff percentage and decidedly better in ground balls per game than runner-up Stuart Knechtle (11.47) of Gordon College. Bunker was named as the first-team All-New England at the specialist position.

Over the course of the season, Vasil won less than half of his faceoffs in a game only once (against three different faceoff men from  NCAA Division III national finalist Salisbury University). In eight conference games, he won 80.7 percent of his attempts, including 15 of 16 against Plymouth State, 20 of 22 against UMass Boston and 22 of 24 against Western Connecticut.

Against four national contenders other than Salisbury, he won 76.9 percent of his attempts (80-of-104).

In three years, Vasil is already the program's all-time leader in  career faceoff wins (671) and and winning percentage (.693). He needs two attempts to break the current career record of 969. Vasil set season records for faceoff percentage, wins and attempts as a sophomore in 2009, and broke those records this past year. In addition to his nation-leading winning percentage, he set season records for wins (286) and attempts (376).

Eastern finished 12-5 this season, 6-1 in the conference.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 


 

SOFTBALL: EASTERN NO. 3 IN DIII

Nation's top offensive team eliminates Warriors in losers' bracket final

NCAA's Wisconsin 746.jpgEAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Eastern Connecticut State University did not let the nation's top two home run hitters beat it, but Linfield College had plenty of other weapons to eliminate the Warriors in the losers' bracket final of the NCAA Division III national softball tournament Monday by a 10-1 score. The game was stopped after five innings due to the eight-run rule.

Coming off its first loss in 27 games in Sunday night's winners' bracket final against East Texas Baptist University, Linfield (42-6) parlayed two singles and two walks into two first-inning runs against Eastern (39-6-1) sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron), utilized two suicide squeeze bunts, a hit, walk and Eastern error  to chase Rathbun  (30-2) in adding three more in the third, then piled on five more runs with five hits in  batting around in the fourth.

(Note: In the first game of the championship round Monday afternoon, East Texas defeated Linfield, 5-4, to claim its first national championship).

"Linfield came out strong, they're a great hitting team," noted ninth-year Eastern head coach Diana Pepin afterward. "They're a great team and they'll do well (in the final). We played a little tight, though. I felt that we lost a little bit of what got us here, and that was having fun and playing the game.  (But) we competed every day that we were here and we had fun. Today was just a little bit more of a challenge. I don't know if we were tired or not, but that's not an excuse. We should have played our style of softball."

While the 2007 national champion Wildcats have made their reputation as the top power-hitting team in Division III this year with the most home runs (77) and No. 1 slugging percentage (.609), they took a chapter out of Eastern's playbook. Seven of eight hits were singles for Linfield, which scored twice on squeeze plays and ran themsel

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ves into several scoring situations with opportunistic baserunning.

At right: Priscilla Alicea

In fact, the only home run of the game was Eastern's and it came from a somewhat unlikely source. Trailing 5-0 in the top of the fourth, the Warriors got on the board when lefty-hitting all-region rightfielder hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) drove her second home run of the season over the right field fence to apply the only blemish to Linfield junior lefty Claire Velaski's (20-3) five-inning ledger. Velaski, who shared the Wildcats' pitching duties during the season, fanned four without a walk and held the Warriors hitless until Alicea's leadoff blast down the right field line leading off the fourth.

In its first national tournament appearance in 18 years, Eastern placed third in the original field of eight. The Warriors, who tied the program record for wins in a season, won three elimination games in two days after being mercy-ruled by Christopher Newport University in Friday's opener, 8-0. Rathbun did not pitch in that game after coming down with the flu Thursday afternoon, but the two-time All-America strikeout artist returned to start and defeat Moravian College Saturday and DePauw University and Christopher Newport Sunday. Rathbun returned to the mound against Linfield for the 1 p.m. ET start after throwing a complete game in Sunday night's late game against CNU.

Batting 3-4 in the lineup, sophomore Stacy Doucette and freshman Karleigh Prestianni were held hitless by Rathbun and sophomore reliever Kassondra Silva (Hamden), but Division III's home run co-leaders (with 19 each) reached safely in five of their six plate appearances, scoring each time.  Doucette walked twice (one intentionally) after flying out to center in the first and Prestianni walked, and reached on an error and fielder's choice.

Linfield's heavy lifting was done by No. .6 hitter Jaydee Baxter and No. 8 hitter Sami Keim, each of whom drove in three runs despite managing only one hit apiece. Baxter's two-out single in the first staked the Wildcats to a quick 2-0 lead and her suicide squeeze plated the second run of the three-run third. Keim authored the second suicide squeeze of the third inning - Eastern  failing to execute what could have been an inning-ending double play by dropping the bunt before throwing Keim out at first - and drove in two runs with a single in the five-run fifth.

The loss ended a program-record 27-game winning streak for Rathbun, who was credited with all 11 of the team's post-season victories.  Rathbun broke numerous season and career records this season and additionally led the club with a .402 batting average. Alicea was second to Rathbun with a .393 batting average and team-high 59 hits and senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) finished at .392.

mustinrathbun_300_9052.jpgLinfield, a seven-time defending Northwest Conference champion, started only one senior. Playing their final games for the Warriors were Sullivan, first baseman Katie O'Toole (Waterbury), shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) and catcher Nikki Mustin (Canterbury). In her first season as the starting first baseman, O'Toole batted .289 with a .989 fielding percentage; Church completed a four-year career as the starting shortstop, batting .289 with 57 assists; and Mustin wrapped up a two-year career as the starting catcher. The second-year transfer caught virtually every inning that Rathbun pitched, leading the team in putouts (369) and fielding percentage (.992) and allowing only 11 passed balls in 45 games. Mustin batted only 19 times. 

Above: The battery of senior catcher Nikki Mustin and sophomore All-America pitcher Molly Rathbun helped return the program to the top of the heap in New England.

In five national tournament games, Rathbun was 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA, 18 strikeouts and eight walks in 22.0 innings. She gave up only two extra-base hits. Batting at the top of the lineup, Alicea (.714) and Sullivan (.571) led the club in batting. Sullivan drove in six runs and scored five and had a .647 on-base percentage. Alicea had a team-high ten hits and .733 on-base percentage.

As a team, the Warriors commited only two errors (both against Linfield which accounted for two unearned runs) for a .982 percentage in the tournament. They set a program season record for fielding (.977) for the second straight year. The team's final win total ties the season record initially set during the 1985 national championship season. The Warriors' .875 regular-season winning percentage also established a regular-season record and their final overall winning percentage of .867 trails only the record of .872 set when the program won its most recent of five national titles in 1990.

None of the team's four primary outfielders -- Sullivan, Alicea, junior Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) and sophomore Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) -- commited an outfield error this season.

The NCAA appearance is the program's third straight for the Warriors under Pepin, the starting third baseman on the 1990 national titlist. This season, she became the second coach in program history to win 200 games. Pepin (207-148-1) has guided the Warriors to five straight 20-win seasons and  this year, to its first outright regular-season conference title and first conference post-season championship and first regional championship since 1992.

"Eastern has had a tradition of winning and we've gotten back that tradition," said Pepin. "And that's a testament to the players that we have. We are where we want to be... or (more specifically) where I want them to be."

 All-Tournament Team

Ayrika Henderson - Pitcher - East Texas Baptist University
Claire Velaski - Pitcher - Linfield College
Emilee Lepp - Catcher - Linfield College
Staci Doucette - First Base - Linfield College
Rebecca Young - Second Base - East Texas Baptist University
Emily Keagbine - Shortstop - Linfield College
Meghan Fisher - Third Base - East Texas Baptist University
Priscilla Alicea - Outfield - Eastern Connecticut State
Ashley Sullivan - Outfield - Eastern Connecticut State
Ashley Mani - Outfield - Christopher Newport
Alicia Wright - Designated Player/Utility - East Texas Baptist University
Erin Crist - At-large - Luther College
Stacy Havner - At-large - East Texas Baptist University
Molly Rathbun - At-large - Eastern Connecticut State
Haley Buchanan - At-large - DePauw University

 

SOFTBALL: EASTERN ONE OF THREE

At national tournament, Warriors eliminate third opponent in two days

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) spent the majority of the season cheering on her teammates. Her teammates spent Sunday night cheering on the junior leftfielder.

At left: Katie Dinahanian

In Eastern Connecticut State University's third elimination-round victory in two days, Dinihanian drove in her first two runs of the season with her first hits of the tournament, and scored twice from first base on doubles by senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) as the Warriors posted a 5-2 victory over Christopher Newport University on the third day of the 2010 NCAA Division III national softball tournament at Carson Park.

Eastern (39-5-1) continues its march toward a sixth national title - first in 20 years - when it faces Linfield College in the losers' bracket final Monday at 1 p.m. ET. Linfield lost the all-important winners' bracket final earlier Sunday by a score of 6-2 to East Texas Baptist University, which needs one victory to wrap up its first national title. The Eastern-Linfield winner must come right back to face East Texas Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET.  If needed, a one-game winner-take-all contest would be played Tuesday at noon ET.

In the first game of the day Sunday, the Warriors had avenged a regular-season eight-inning loss to DePauw University with an emphatic 8-1 triiumph.

Sullivan and Priscilla Alicea (Stratford), the top two hitters in the Eastern lineup, reached five times with four hits and a hit by pitch, and Dinihanian had three hits batting out of the No. 9 slot in the order.

Dinihanian had missed 28 games after pulling a muscle in her leg in the sixth game of the season, finally returning to left field in time for the NCAA regional tournament. In addition to her offensive  heroics Sunday, Dinihanian played a steady left field. She recorded three putouts in the late innings by catching fly balls, and her quick return throw to the infield on a batted ball which short-hopped the left field wall nearly erased CNU cleanup hitter Jessica Atkinson sliding into second.

Sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) won her 30th game against one loss (27th straight), throwing a complete-game six-hitter and striking out four as Eastern tied the 25-year-old record for wins in a season. Battling the night's extreme humity, Rathbun was unable to retire the pesky Captains once in order, but never gave up more than one hit in an inning after the first.
 
With Rathbun unable to perform Friday due to a case of the flu, Christopher Newport (42-10) had beaten Eastern 8-0 in the tournament opener. Sunday, the Captains reached Rathbun early, but the Warriors went ahead for good on Dinihanian's two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fourth, and added an insurance run in the sixth after there were two out and none on when Dinihanian singled ahead of Sullivan's double.

In four tournament games, Sullivan has reached base 11 times with eight hits and three walks. She is 8-for-11 with a tournament-high seven RBI, five runs scored, two doubles and two home runs. Alicea, who recorded her 100th career hit in the fifth inning in just 81 games, is also 8-for-11.

 


 
 
 

 

Offense backs Rathbun with 11 hits in 8-1 elimination win over DePauw

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WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgEAU CLAIR, Wis. .--For the first time in 48 career starts, Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) did not strike out a batter. What she did do Sunday afternoon was help keep the Warriors alive in the NCAA Division III national softball tournament.

At right: Ashley Sullivan

Rathun (29-1) avenged her only loss of the season by limiting DePauw University (40-9) to four hits and one run over six innings, and all-region outfielders Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) and Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) combined to reach base seven times with six hits and a walk, score four runs and drive in two as the Warriors won their second straight tournament game after an opening loss with an 8-1 victory.

Eastern (38-5-1) is scheduled to play its third elimination game in two days Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. ET against Christopher Newport University, which eliminated Luther College later Sunday, 4-3. Without Rathbun (flu) in its tournament opener Friday evening, Eastern was shut out by Christopher Newport , 8-0 - its worst national tournament loss ever in 57 games. The Warriors have won their last three national titles coming through the losers' bracket.

Two months ago, Rathbun also pitched a four-hitter against the Tigers but lost what would be her only game to this point when DePauw scored two unearned runs in a 2-0, eight-inning win on the spring trip at Clermont, FL. The Tigers entered Sunday's game with a .345 team batting average and had struck out an average of only three times per game.

Sunday's victory was Rathbun's 26th straight this season, and although she did not strike out a batter as a starting pitcher for the first time ever (and for only the second time in 63 career appearances), she retired 15 hitters on popups - including seven straight after sophomore rightfielder Holly Paris stroked a two-out solo home run which hit the top of the left field fence and bounced over in the fourth to make it 4-1. Eastern's defense, ranked No. 2 nationally, backed Rathbun by making several impressive catches on foul balls in the first three innings, and also got a sliding sno-cone grab by junior leftfielder Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) to end the sixth inning.

Paris' home run ended a program record streak of 48 2/3 scoreless innings for Rathbun, who has given up runs in only two of her last 18 appearances and in only ten of 34 appearances this season.

Batting leadoff for the second straight game (second time in her career),  Sullivan reached safely all four times with her fourth home run with two outs in the fourth, two singles and a walk. She walked to start the bottom of the first and scored the first run, drove in the third run of the game with a single in the second, homered in the fourth to answer Paris' in the top of the inning, and singled to greet relief pitcher Kristin Barrow and scored in the sixth. Alicea, the team's regular leadoff hitter, had a sacrifice bunt to build the first run of the game in the first, singled to drive in pinch runner Courtney Weber (Groton) to make it 3-0 in the second, singled in the fourth and collected her 98th hit in only her 80th career game and scored in the sixth.

Batting third, Rathbun raised her team-leading batting average to .419 by reaching three times with two singles and a walk. She drove in Sullivan with the first run of the game in the first inning. Cleanup hitter Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) plated two runs with a single in the first and a ground ball in the sixth.

Stopped on four hits by DePauw senior Megan Soultz (29-7) in Florida, Eastern had eight hits in five innings this time against Soultz, the three-time Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year who ends her career ranked among Division III's all-time leaders in a number of career categories.  By winning, Rathbun also ties Soultz for the most wins by a pitcher in Division III this season.

In three national tournament games, Sullivan and Alicea are a combined 12-for-16 with five RBI and four runs. Both have six hits, Sullivan adding five RBI and four runs scored. In 11 post-season tournament games (four in the Little East Conference), the Warriors have commited only two errors and are batting .306. Now 27-2-1 in its last 30 games, Eastern is within one victory of tying the program season record for wins, set during the 1985 national championship season.

 

RATHBUN PITCHES ONE-HITTER AT NCAA DIII SOFTBALL NATIONALS

 In her national tourney debut, she fans 13 Moravian batters in 3-0 win
 rathbun_72_5516.jpg

WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgEAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Christopher Newport University dodged a bullet Friday when Eastern sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) came down with a case of the 24-hour flu the day before the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Division III national softball tournament.

Moravian College was not as lucky.

Saturday, in the losers' bracket of the tournament, Rathbun returned to pitch a complete- game one-hit shutout and senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) hit a thee-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning as  Eastern Connecticut State University remained alive in the NCAA Division III national tournament with a 3-0 at Carson Park that eliminated the Greyhounds.

With the win, Eastern (37-5-1) advances to play Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against DePauw University (40-8), which dropped a 2-1 decision to Linfield College later Saturday.

Rathbun (28-1) did not pitch in Friday's 8-0 opening loss to Christopher Newport University due to illness but returned to win her 25th straight decision by limiting Moravian (34-15) to two baserunners - a two-out walk in the fourth and a leadoff single in the fifth. Rathbun struck out 13, her final one representing her 300th of the season.

Eastern stranded five runners through the first three innings before scoring the only runs of the game when Sullivan rapped a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for her third home run of the season.  Senior shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) walked to open the fourth, moved to second on a single to center by sophomore Kassondra Silva (Hamden) and both runners later scored on Sullivan's three-run blast off complete-game loser Elizabeth Python (6-4).

Rathbun struck out at least one batter in every inning, fanning seven over the first three innings in recording her 17 shutout of the season and tying the season record with her 25th complete game. In the game, she also broke her own program record for consecutive innings without an earned run and Christia Mohan's record for consecutive scoreless innings. She has now pitched 45.0 straight scoreless innings.

Sophomore rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) had three of Eastern's six hits, with Silva adding two and Sullivan one with her home run.

In nine post-season starts this year (conference and NCAA), Rathbun is 9-0 over 59 2/3 innings with eight shutouts, nine complete games, 102 strikeouts and 14 walks and a 0.59 ERA. She has allowed 22 hits, 18 of them singles.

Rathbun has set season records this year for wins, consecutive wins, strikeouts, and shutouts. The one-hitter was her seventh of the season (to go along with two no-hitters) and 12th of her career.

After batting in Rathbun's No. 3 spot in the order Friday and collecting three hits, Sullivan batted leadoff Saturday for the first time this season.

DePauw was one of only two teams in the regular season that Eastern did not beat (the Warriors split with Keene State and Coast Guard and lost to the University of Rochester in Florida) and represents Rathbun's only loss this season. In a 2-0, eight-inning loss to DePauw March 24 in Clermont, Florida in her fourth start of the year, Rathbun allowed two unearned runs on four hits, fanning five and walking four.

Eastern has come through the losers' bracket to win the last three of its five national championships.In 1985, the Warriors survived a third-round loss and in 1986 and '90, they were beaten in the second round.  
 

EASTERN SOFTBALL BEATEN IN NATIONAL TOURNAMENT OPENER, 8-0

 In five-inning loss, All-America pitcher Molly Rathbun sidelined with flu

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis.  --  Competing in the NCAA Division III national softball tournament without the nation's most accomplished all-around player, Eastern  Connecticut State University sustained an 8-0 loss to Christopher Newport University Friday night at Carson Park in its first national tournament appearance in 18 years. The game was stopped after five innings due to the eight-run rule

Above: Ashley Sullivan digs for third base in the fourth inning of Friday's loss.

With first-team All-America pitcher and leading hitter Molly Rathbun (Hebron) sidelined with the flu, No. 12-ranked Eastern (36-5-1) gave up three runs in the first inning and five more in the third against the nation's 11th-ranked team in dropping into a Saturday elimination game at 2:30 p.m. ET. The Warriors will face Moravian College, an 8-4 loser to East Texas Baptist University in Friday's late game.

Making only her sixth start of the season, first-year Division I sophomore transfer Kassondra Silva (Hamden) lost her first decision after two wins after giving up six runs on three hits and four walks. The first four Christopher Newport (41-8) batters reached base in the bottom of the first when the Captains pushed across three runs on two hits, two walks, two stolen bases, a passed ball and wild pitch. Batting .318 as a team, CNU  batted around in chasing Silva in favor of freshman Christine Akcer (Milford) in the five-run third. Jennifer Falin and Taylor Morgan greeted Akcer with back-to-back two-run hits in the inning.

All-region senior pitcher Kristen Rowe (23-4) scattered four hits in posting her ninth shutout. She fanned five and walked two. Rowe had a no-hitter until all-region centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) singled with one out in the fourth with the Warriors trailing 8-0.  Senior first baseman Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) doubled Sullivan to third and a walk loaded the bases with two outs before Rowe got a swinging strikeout to end the threat.

Batting in Rathbun's No. 3 spot in the order, Sullivan reached safely each time up with  two hits and  a walk. Sullivan and No. 9 hitter sophomore Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) were the only Eastern runners to reach third.

Rathbun, named a first-team All-America Thursday night, began suffering flu symptons following the team's practice session Thursday afternoon, according to head coach Diana Pepin.  Rathbun was treated at a local hospital and released Thursday night. Her status for the remainder of the tournament is uncertain. Rathbun is 27-1 with a 0.61 ERA and 16 shutouts and has won a record 24 straight games and leads the club with a .420 batting average, 36 RBI and 83 total bases.

 

 

 
 

 

BASEBALL: WARRIORS TAKEN OUT

Relief pitching falters as they end season with 9-4 loss to Wheaton College

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MANSFIELD, Conn.  - Second-seeded Wheaton College wiped out a two-run deficit in a seven-run seventh inning as the Lyons survived an elimination game for the second straight day with a 9-4 victory over fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University Friday as the Warriors made their earliest departure in the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament since 1980.

Above: Senior leftfielder Chris Thomson came up with this sparkling catch in the second inning of Friday's season-enfing loss to Wheaton College. (Stephen Goomrigian photo)

In defeating Eastern (31-15) for the second time against four losses in regional play in this series,the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) champion Lyons (34-9) return to action tonight to play the fourth of four games against the winner of Friday's second game between third-seeded Western New England College and eighth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (ME).

Wheaton trailed only once in the game but erased a two-run deficit in the seventh by scoring  seven runs on five hits and three walks against four different Eastern pitchers. Tad Skelley, batting ninth, opened the inning with a double to the right-centerfield fence and scored the first run, then stroked a two-run double later in the frame to plate the final two runs and make it 9-4.

Run-scoring singles by Sean Munley and Eric Jensen in the sixth staked Wheaton to a 2-0 lead before the Warriors ended a 16-inning scoreless streak by scoring their only four runs on four hits and an infield throwing error. The first six batters reached safely or drove in a run in the inning for Eastern. Cleanup hitter Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA)  tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right and Melvin Castillo (Danbury) gave the Warriors the 3-2 lead with a single to center.

The first six batters of the Wheaton seventh reached safely or drove in a run, with five different batters driving in one run before Skelley capped the surge with his two-out double. Five of the seven runs scored with two out. Eastern pitchers walked seven batters in the game, with four coming around to score.

Wheaton starter Corey Laliberte pitched five scoreless innings but was lifted when the first three Eastern batters reached in the sixth and did not figure in the decision. Laliberte  departed with a 2-1 lead but both  runners  inherited by winning pitcher David Longley eventually scored.

Eastern starter Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) carried a 4-2 lead into the seventh but allowed Skelley's leadoff double and walked leadoff hitter Hal Landers and was lifted.

 

 

 

EASTERN'S RATHBUN DIVISION III SOFTBALL ALL-AMERICA REPEATER

She becomes program's 13th first-team pick; three named all-region

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Complete team

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Sophomore right-handed pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron) became Eastern Connecticut State University's first first-team National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) All-America selection in 20 season Thursday.

The current Division III national leader in ERA, least hits allowed per seven innings and shutouts, Rathbun becomes the program's 13th first-team All-America, but first since national Player-of-the-Year Christia Mohan in 1990. Mohan was a senior right-handed pitcher that year who won 22 of 23 decisions and led the Warriors to their fifth and most recent national championship.

Rathbun becomes the program's 37th All-America since 1982, the most by any college at any level in New England. She was joined on the first team by Luther College senior righty Kim Lambert (21-3, 0.81), who has 198 strikeouts in 138 innings in leading her team to the national tournament.

Rathbun repeated as a first-team All-New England Region selection and was joined on the all-region team by senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) and sophomore rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford). Sullivan  was a first-team pick as a sophomore in 2008 and Alicea a second-teamer as a freshman last year.

Heading into Friday's national tournament opener against Christopher Newport University at Carson Park in Eau Claire, WI,  Rathbun is 27-1 with a 0.61 and has two no-hitters and six one-hitters to her credit this season. In eight post-season games (four in conference, four in regionals), she is 8-0 with 89 strikeouts and 13 walks with a 0.66 ERA in 52 2/3 innings. She has allowed runs in only two of her last 16 appearances (13 of them were starts).

This season, she has set season records for consecutive pitching wins (24), shutouts (16), wins, winning pct. (.964) and strikeouts (287) and is one behind the record of 25 complete games in a season. Rathbun has struck out at least ten batters in 16 games this year, including her last five and eight of her last nine.

Rathbun leads Division III in shutouts,  ERA, least hits per seven innings (2.95) and is fourth in wins and fifth in strikeouts per seven innings (11.0) and total  strikeouts. This year, she was earlier honored as Little East Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year, first-team all-conference and Eastern's Female Athlete-of-the-Year.
 
In less than two years, Rathbun already holds program career  records for strikeouts (493) and ERA (0.70), is second in shutouts (23), third in winning pct. (.843) and among the top ten in appearances, innings, starts, wins and complete games.

Last year, Rathbun was named the program's fourth freshman All-America when was a second-team At-Large selection with a 16-7 record and 0.79 ERA She was 16-3 before losing both decisions in Little East Conference tournament and both decisions in NCAA tournament due to severe shin splits.

Sullivan, who brings a career .363 batting average into the nationals,  is second only to Rathbun with a .372 average.  The team's No. 2 hitter in the lineup, Sullivan has started all 41 gams, leads the team with seven stolen bases and is second on the team in total bases (74), hits (48) and runs (29). She has not commited an error on 38 chances.

The  team's leadoff hitter, Alicea brings a career .397 batting average and 92 hits into the nationals. The left-handed hitter is third on the team with a .360 batting average and 70 total bases this season, leads the club with 49 hits, and 32 runs scored and is second with 27 RBI. She is perfect defensively on 32 chances.She currently has an eight-game hitting streak.
The Warriors (36-4-1) bring a  14-game winning streak into the national tournament. They are 25-1-1 in their last 27 games since losing, 4-2, to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Warriors split with Coast Guard during the year and emerged with a 1-0, 9-inning victory over the Bears to win the Wellesley, Massachusetts Regional title Sunday afternoon - their first regional championship since 1992.
  

 

 

 

 

BASEBALL: WARRIORS SHUT OUT, 3-0

Eastern drops into losers' bracket in regionals after loss to No. 1 seed Tufts

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MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Playing in the first meeting of 1-0 teams during the NCAA Division III regional, Tufts University got a combined eight-hit shutout performance from junior starter Derek Miller and ace reliever sophomore Chris DeGoti as the top-seeded Jumbos knocked off fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University, 3-0, to improve to 2-0 in the tournament.  Tufts will face the winner of the Western New England College vs. University of Massachusetts Boston game in the winner's bracket Friday at 4:30 p.m.  Eastern now plays Wheaton College in an elimination game Friday at 10 a.m.

Above, Andrew Dewing (Stephen Goomrigian photo) 

When Tufts and Eastern met April 27 in Medford, Mass., Eastern jumped out to an 8-0 lead before Tufts came to bat in the bottom of the 2nd  en route to a 19-5 conquest.  Today, Tufts got off to an appreciably improved start as the Jumbos drew first blood in the bottom of the 3rd, plating three runs off Eastern starter senior Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI).  Using three timely hits and a walk, Tufts took advantage of a senior first baseman Nate Bankoff single to center field to drive in freshman second baseman Frank Petroskey, who had a one-out infield single and stole second.  Sophomore third baseman Sam Sager sent a fly ball deep enough into left field to allow junior shortstop David LaResche to tag up and score from third base.  LeResche had walked, moved to second on the Bankoff hit and found third base after a wild pitch.  Bankoff then scored the third run on a single up the middle by junior right fielder Chase Rose.

In the top of the fourth, the Warriors got a leadoff double from junior first baseman Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) and a wild pitch advanced him to third with no outs  Miller came up with a gem of a fielding play, snagging a hard, low liner off the bat of senior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) for the first out, then induced a pop up before getting the last out on a strikeout to strand Dewing at third.

Fontaine picked up a key strikeout in the 5th with Tufts runners at second and third, getting Rose on a swinging strike three to end the threat and keep it a three-run deficit.  While Tufts held the edge on the scoreboard, both starting pitchers were in relative control through five frames as Miller allowed only three hits while fanning six and Fontaine was touched for just four hits with four strikeouts.

Eastern's greatest scoring opportunity came in the 6th when the Warriors loaded the bases with two outs but again a swinging strikeout came to the rescue for Miller as he got junior Robert Perry (Manchester) with a curveball to keep Eastern off the board.

Tufts ace reliever sophomore Chris DeGoti entered the game in the top of the 8th after Miller issued an opening walk.  DeGoti retired the first three batters he faced on a strikeout, a fielder's choice grounder and an inning-ending groundout to third base.

DeGoti had a bit more difficulty in the top of the 9th as Eastern got its leadoff batter, Perry, aboard on a walk.  He was removed in favor of pinch-runner junior Joe Cousineau (Newington).  When pinch-hitter junior Tyler Turgeon (Norwich) laced a single into right field, Cousineau went a bit too far past second base and was tagged out ten feet off the bag after LeResche received the throw from Rose, making it one out with a runner at first.  The Warriors still got the tying run to the plate when junior center fielder Shane Kingsley (Bacon Falls) was hit by a pitch.  But DeGoti went on to record his 12th save of the season as senior second baseman John Parke (Middlebury) hit a grounder to Sager at third base for a forceout and DeGoti took care of the final out, fielding a soft grounder to the mound off the bat of senior shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford) and flipping the ball to first to end the contest.

Playing in its 128th game in its 31st NCAA regional appearance, Eastern suffered just its second-ever shutout in regional tournament play, first to a New England opponent. In the New York Regional in 2006, the Warriors were routed, 9-0, by Cortland State in its only previous regional shutout in the second round, but bounced back to beat the Red Dragons twice, 9-5, 10-7 to capture the title.

The teams were meeting in post-season play for only the third time, the Warriors having posted 5-2, 19-2 wins in winning the Harwich, Massachusetts Regional Tournament en route to the last of its four national championships in 2002..

While Tufts was led by its pitching duo, the Jumbos did get two hits from Bankoff, who scored a run and drove in another.  The Warriors, who out-hit the Jumbo, 8-6, got two safeties from Dewing to lead them at the plate.  Miller upped his record for the year to 5-0 while Fontaine fell to 6-3.

Eastern has beaten Wheaton four times in five regional tournament meetings, including a 6-2 triumph in the third round of the 2003 regional in the only encounter at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

BASEBALL: EASTERN VICTORIOUS

 In New England Regional, Bass, Schult power Warriors to 10-4 win 

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MANSFIELD, Conn.  -- Eastern Connecticut State University, as an at-large entry and tournament host playing in its fifth straight NCAA tournament, got a combined six hits, four runs and five RBI from senior shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford) and junior right fielder Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) to power past MASCAC champion Worcester State College, 10-4, in the opening game of the eight-team NCAA Division III regional tournament here today. 

Above: Travis Bass scores the first run of the game Wednesday against Worcester State.

The win puts Eastern (31-13) in a winner's bracket game Thursday at 4:30 p.m against No. 1 seed Tufts University, which dumped No. 8 Saint Joseph's College (ME), 12-3, later Wednesday. The Lancers face St. Joe's  in the first elimination contest Thursday at 10 a.m.

Eastern moved out to a five-run lead over Worcester (31-10-1). in the bottom of the 4th, courtesy of a bases-loaded, three-run double to right center by Bass, pushing the margin to 5-1 after an RBI single to right by junior center fielder Shane Kingsley (Beacon Falls) had spotted the Warriors a 2-1 lead in the frame.  A single to left from Schult capped the five-run rally for the 6-1 bulge.

 The Lancers got a run back in the top of the 5th when junior first baseman Nick Fluegge walked with the bases loaded to plate senior third baseman Ryan LaPrade, who had led off the inning with a single.  A single by senior shortstop TJ Magnell and a walk to junior designated hitter Corey McDonald filled the sacks.  Eastern got out of the situation on a nice running catch in right field by Schult on a liner by junior catcher Johno Hinkell.

The gap was narrowed to 6-3 when sophomore third baseman Tyler McElman opened the 6th with a single to left for the Lancers.  Senior right fielder Nick Caparell sent a line single into right center, sending McElman to third.  A ground out by junior center fielder Corey Abbascia brought in the Lancers' third run. 

 Eastern then batted around in the bottom of the 6th to put the game out of reach with a four-run outburst for a 10-3 margin.  A two-run single to center field by senior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) made it 8-3 and both junior pinch hitter Robert Perry (Manchester) and senior left fielder Chris Thomson (Montville) drove in a run with a hit to give the Warriors their largest lead.  Worcester St. starting pitcher senior Joey Lucier did not last the inning and was tapped for all 10 runs, nine of them earned, on 11 hits.  He suffered the loss, dropping his seasonal record to 7-3. Eastern finished the game with 16 hits.

 Going seven innings on the mound for Eastern to get the win was senior Will Musson (Wethersfield), who allowed seven hits and three runs, two of them earned.  He improved to 6-1 on the year, 15-2 in his two-year Eastern career.

Worcester had drawn first blood in the top of the 2nd, taking advantage of an infield error by Eastern to get LaPrade safely to first base.  After a stolen base and move to third base on a ground out, LaPrade hit the plate for the initial run on a ground single up the middle by freshman left fielder Chris Creen.

 Eastern responded in the bottom of the 3rd with back-to-back doubles by Bass and Schult.  Bass sent a roller down the third-base line that hit the bag as he hustled into second base.  Schult lashed a ball into the right-center field gap for the RBI.

Worcester  added the game's final run in the top of the 9th when Fluegge knocked in Magnell, who had walked, with a single to left.  Fluegge and McDonald each had a pair of hits for the Lancers, accounting for four of their nine safeties.

While Bass and Schult had three hits apiece for Eastern, the Warriors got a two-hit game from Castillo, Thomson and junior first baseman Andrew Dewing (Swampscott).

SOFTBALL: AT NATIONAL TOURNEY, WARRIORS ARE THE 'HOME' TEAM

Warriors return to finals for first time since 1992, bidding for sixth title

National Tournament Web site

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball team returns to the NCAA Division III national softball tournament this weekend when it faces Christopher Newport University Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. ET in the opening round of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament at Carson Park, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Ranked 12th nationally, Eastern (36-4-1) brings a 14-game winning streak into the tournament against first-time opponent Christopher Newport (40-8). The Warriors won the Wellesley, Massachusetts Regional title this past weekend  to earn a spot in the national tournament for the 12th time, but for the first time since 1992. The Captains - ranked 11th -- claimed the Newport News, Virginia Regional which they hosted.

A win Friday would keep Eastern in the winners' bracket and set up a game at 7:30 p.m.  ET Saturday against the winner of Friday's fourth and final game between Moravian College, PA and East Texas Baptist University. A first-round loss drops the Warriors into an elimination game Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against the Moravian-East Texas loser.

Christopher Newport is competing in its eighth NCAA tournament - fourth straight - but is making its national tournament debut. The Captains equaled their seven-year NCAA tournament win total by winning their regional title in four straight games this past weekend, downing 2009 national champion Messiah twice by shutout behind senior pitcher Kristen Rowe.  Rowe  pitched every inning in the tournament, posting three straight shutouts. Rowe is 22-4 with a 1.33 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 162 innings. Five starters are batting at least .328 for CNU, led by sophomore Maggie Farris (.417), senior Mary Kennedy (.374), and freshman Chelsea Mitchell (.373).

Eastern is ranked second nationally in fielding percentage while CNU is 12th

 

TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK


Eastern is competing in its 12th NCAA Division III national tournament but first since 1992, when it went 2-2 and finished fourth at Pella, IA.

Eastern is the only Division III team from New England to win a national softball championship. The Warriors won the final AIAW title in 1981  and followed with the first NCAA championship in 1982, won back-to-back titles again in 1985-86 and captured their last championship in 1990. Eastern was the only program to win consecutive NCAA titles until matched by St. Thomas earlier this decade.

Eastern is 34-17 in 11 previous national tournaments, surviving a tournament loss in winning titles in 1985, '86 and '90.

Current ninth-year head coach Diana Pepin was the starting third baseman on the 1990 national titlist, starting all 39 games that year and batting .310. She was named to the national tournament all-tournament team at Storm Lake, IA. Pepin won her 200th game when the Warriors defeated Keene State, 1-0, to win their first Little East Conference championship. She is assisted by program founder Clyde Washburne, an NFCA Hall of Famer and architect of four national championships at Eastern.

Eastern did not play a home game this season. Its field was torn down and replaced with a parking garage which is currently under construction. Plans are in the works for a new field at the University's Mansfield Outdoor Complex. Eastern hosted national tournaments in 1983, 1985 and 1991 on its former facility, Howard Spector Field.

Ranked 12th nationally, Eastern is on the verge of setting a program season record for fielding percentage for the second straight year (.977).  The Warriors are batting .300 entering the nationals with a 1.38 staff ERA.

The Warriors are 25-1-1 in their last 27 games since losing, 4-2, to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Warriors split with Coast Guard during the year and emerged with a 1-0, 9-inning victory over the Bears to win the Wellesley, Massachusetts Regional title Sunday afternoon.

Two-time  all-region sophomore outfielder Priscilla Alicea, senior shortstop Kim Church and senior first baseman Katie O'Toole, joined All-America pitcher Molly Rathbun on the all-tournament team.  In eight post-season games (four in the conference, four in the regionals), Rathbun is batting .500, with sophomore Rosie Manzo at .368, Alicea and O'Toole at .333 and freshman third baseman Arielle Cooper .304. The Warriors have commited only two errors in post-season play.

Rathbun had a 14-game hitting streak and Cooper a 13-game hitting streak earlier this season. Alicea is the only player to hit safely in all eight post-season games.

Rathbun is 27-1 with a 0.61 and has two no-hitters and six one-hitters to her credit this season. In eight post-season games (four in conference, four in regionals), she is 8-0 with 89 strikeouts and 13 walks with a 0.66 ERA in 52 2/3 innings. She has allowed runs in only two of her last 16 appearances (13 of them were starts)

This season, she has set season records this year for consecutive pitching wins (24), shutouts (16), wins, winning pct. (.964) and strikeouts (287) and is one behind record of 25 complete games in a season. Rathbun has struck out at least ten batters in 16 games this year, including her last five and eight of her last nine

Rathbun leads Division III with 16 shutouts. Entering the regional, she was also ranked first nationally in least hits allowed per seven innings, fourth in ERA, fifth in strikeouts per game and ninth  in wins.

In less than two years, Rathbun already holds program career  records for strikeouts (493) and ERA (0.70), is second in shutouts (23), third in winning pct. (.843) and among the top ten in appearances, innings, starts, wins and complete games.

Junior leftfielder Katie Dinihanian returned for the regional tournament after missing 27 games with a pulled muscle in her leg sustained in Florida.  Manzo moved from left field to second base with the return of Dinihanian. Manzo has pitched, played outfield and infield this season. Senior catcher Nikki Mustin has batted only 19 times this year but has caught in all but one game and brings a career .991 fielding percentage into action.

A reserve second baseman and catcher prior to this year, O'Toole has moved into the cleanup position and is batting .302 after batting .120 as a junior. Church is batting .297 after recording the exact same average as a freshman and a .295 mark last year.  Rathbun has 13 home runs in just over 200 career at-bats.

Eleven different players have batted in the No. 7 slot in the order as starters, but only Alicea and Church have started at leadoff. Alicea has been at the top in all 39 of her starts. Church has started in every spot in the batting order excepting fourth, eighth and ninth, but has opened at shortstop in all 41 games.

Freshmen Courtney Weber and Katie Stack have totaled only eight at-bats among them but have scored 23 runs. Weber, Stack and Cooper were all members of the Fitch High School state championship team. Freshman second baseman Kelly Paterson has commited only one error on 67 chances. The regular starting outfield of Manzo, senior Ashley Sullivan and Alicea have not made an error this season.

Eastern has previously played every team in this tournament with the exception of  East Texas Baptist and its first-round opponent, Christopher Newport University.
Eastern is 16-14 against Ithaca, 4-2 vs. Luther College, and 0-1 vs. Moravian College, Linfield College and DePauw University.  The Warriors and Ithaca are former Northeast Region rivals. In the first game of the series against Ithaca, the Warriors downed the Bombers, 5-3, in the 1983 national tournament. Eastern is 3-0 against Luther in post-season, beating Luther on the way to the 1981 AIAW title.

DePauw is the only team to defeat Rathbun this year, scoring two unearned runs in the  eighth inning in a 2-0 victory March 24 at Clermont, FL.

 

BASEBALL: REGIONALS OPEN WEDNESDAY AT THE STADIUM

Fourth-seeded Warriors meet No. 5 Worcester State in lid-lifter at 10 a.m.

camerman72_1842.jpg LEClogo-1WEB.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University and the Little East     Conference will co-host the 2010 NCAA Division III Baseball New England Regional Championship at the Eastern Connecticut Baseball Stadium beginning Wednesday and running through Sunday. The eight-team, double-elimination tournament will feature six conference champions and two at-large selections from the 55-team national field.

The first day of competition will feature four contests: No. 5 Worcester State College 31-9-1) at No. 4 Eastern Connecticut State University (30-12) at 10 a.m.; No. 8 Saint Joseph's College (Maine) (32-11) vs. No. 1 Tufts University (31-5) at 1:15 p.m.; No. 6 Westfield State College(30-9) vs. No. 3 Western New England College (33-10) at 4:30 p.m.; and No. 7 University of Massachusetts Boston (28-15) vs. No. 2 Wheaton College, MA (32-8) at 7:45 p.m. Eastern and Westfield State are the only returnees from last year's field.

Eastern is making its 31st NCAA appearance (fifth straight), Westfield State its ninth, Wheaton its ninth (fifth in six years) Western New England its seventh (fifth straight), Worcester State its fifth, Saint Joseph's its fourth (in five years), Tufts its third (first since 2002), and UMass Boston its first.

Tufts qualified by winning the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) title, Wheaton the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown, Western New England the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title, Worcester State the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC), UMass Boston the Little East Conference (LEC) trophy and Saint Joseph's the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title. Eastern was selected on an at-large basis out of the LEC and Westfield State out of the MASCAC.

In 1993, the NCAA Division III Championship Committee separated the Northeast Region into the New England and New York Regions, respectively, to expand to championship tournament to its present eight region field. An institution from the Little East Conference has captured 10 of the 17 past championships with Eastern Connecticut winning seven and Southern Maine raising the trophy three times. The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) has won four championships, while the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) sport two and one title, respectively. Last season, the Bantams hoisted the regional championship tournament for the second straight season.

Fans unable to make the trip to Mansfield, Conn. can catch all the action live on the official Web site of the 2010 NCAA New England Regional (www.littleeast.com).  Eastern Connecticut and the Little East Conference will be video-streaming each game free of charge live on Little East.tv.The Eastern Connecticut athletic department will also be running real-time statistics. The tournament Web site will also feature a blog and photo gallery for each contest.

The Mansfield Regional champion opens national tournament play Friday, May 28 at 2:15 p.m. ET against the winner of the McMinnville, OR Regional. Chapman University is the top seed in that region.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and students with a valid identification card. Children under the age of 5 will be admitted free of charge.

Covering The Field

EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY WARRIORS
Head Coach: Bill Holowaty, 42nd Year (Current Record: 1,318-486-6)
NCAA Tournament Record: 113-59 (.657)
Seed: No. 4  NCAA Appearance (last): 31st   (2009)
National Championships (last): 4 (2002) 
New England Championships (last): 7 (2007)
Conference: Little East Conference (LEC)
How selected: At-Large

MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON BEACONS
Head Coach: Brendan Eygabroat , 6th Year (Current Record: 117-122)
NCAA Tournament Record: 0-0
Seed: No. 7  NCAA Appearance 1st
Conference: Little East Conference (LEC) 
How selected: LEC Tournament Champion

SAINT JOSEPH'S COLLEGE MONKS
Head Coach: Will Sanborn, 18th Year (Current Record: 468-271-6)
NCAA Tournament Record: 1-6 (.143)
Seed: No. 8  NCAA Appearance (last): 4th (2008)
National Championships: 0  
New England Championships: 0
Conference: Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC)
How selected: GNAC Tournament Champion

TUFTS UNIVERSITY JUMBOS
Head Coach: John Casey, 27th season (Current Record: 500-322-3)
NCAA Tournament Record: 2-4 (..333)
Seed: No. 1  NCAA Appearance (last): 3rd (2002)
National Championships 0 
New England Championships 0
Conference: New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)
How selected: NESCAC tournament champion

WESTERN NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE GOLDEN BEARS
Head Coach: Matt LaBranche, 11th year (Current Record: 314-148)
NCAA Tournament Record: 8-12  (.400)
Seed: No. 3  NCAA Appearance (last): 7th (2009)
National Championships 0
New England Championships: 0
Conference: Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)
How selected: CCC Tournament Champion

WESTFIELD STATE COLLEGE OWLS
Head Coach: Ray Arra, 6th Year (Current Record: 126-99)
NCAA Tournament Record: 4-16  (.200)
Seed: No. 6  NCAA Appearance (last): 9th (2009)
National Championships 0
New England Championships: 0
Conference: Mass. State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC)
How selected: At-Large

WHEATON COLLEGE LYONS
Head Coach: Eric Podbelski, 13th year (Current Record: 400-153-4)
NCAA Tournament Record: 20-16  (.556)
Seed: No. 2  NCAA Appearance (last): 9th (2008)
National Championships 0
New England Championships (last): 1 (2006)
Conference: New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)
How selected: NEWMAC Tournament Champion

WORCESTER STATE COLLEGE LANCERS
Head Coach:  Dirk Baker, 14th year (Current Record: 300-177-1)
NCAA Tournament Record: 2-8
Seed: No. 5  NCAA Appearance 5th
National Championships 0
New England Championships: 0
Conference: Mass. State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC)
How selected: MASCAC Tournament Champion

SOFTBALL: HOME SWEET HOME!

Region's  winningest post-season softball program back in nationals

VIDEOS: Final Out     Interviews: Molly Rathbun    Coach Diana Pepin

Videos courtesy of Tristan Hobbes '09 

National Tournament Web site             National Softball Tournament Bracket.pdf

sbteam72_9258.jpgWELLESLEY, Mass. -- For 11 consecutive years through 1992, the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team called the NCAA Division III national tournament 'home.' And after an 18-year hiatus, the Warriors are going back.

All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) pitched her fourth straight shutout and Arielle Cooper (Mystic) doubled leading off the top of the ninth and scored the only run of the game one batter later on an infield throwing error as the top-seeded Warriors qualified for the NCAA Division III national tournament for the 12th time with their win over the third-seeded U.S. Coast Guard Academy Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the Wellesley, Massachusetts Regional, hosted by Wellesley College.

rathbunceleb72_9239.jpgA winner of 14 straight and now 25-1-1 in its last 27, Eastern (36-4-1) faces Newport News, Virginia Regional champion Christopher Newport University in the opening round of the eight-team, double-elimination national tournament Friday at 5 p.m. ET at Eau Claire, WI. Christopher Newport defeated 2009 national champion Messiah College twice in its regional tournament.
 
A sophomore, Rathbun (27-1) outdueled USCGA sophomore Hayley Feindel for the second time in extra innings this season. Rathbun, who has won a program record 24 straight decisions, fanned 14 and walked one and gave up five hits to lead the Warriors to their first regional championshihp since 1992. Eastern won the last of its five national championships in 1990, when current ninth-year head coach Diana Pepin was the starting third baseman.

"Our motto all year has been to go out, have fun, and do what we do best," said Rathbun, the unanimous, albeit unofficial, tournament MVP. "It's been a whole team effort this year, not just the starters, but on the bench and on the field. We've had everyone contributing and keeping each other  up. We have great team chemistry and we love playing together and it's gotten us this far."

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"Coast Guard is a great team: a 1-0 game in nine innings," added Rathbun. "They just made one little blunder. They have a great team and one team just outlasted the other, and that's about it. I had great defense behind me. All I had to do was put the ball on the corners (of the plate) and let the defense do the work."

At right: Arielle Cooper doubles to start the ninth and scored the only run of the game on a throwing error.

Eastern's defense commited only one error in four tournament games, none until Sunday.

Cooper, a freshman, had the only extra-base hit of the game with a double to right-center leading off the ninth. Senior Kim Church's (Farmington)  sacrifice bunt was then thrown past first to allow Cooper to score the only run of the game.

Coast Guard stranded five runners in scoring position, three of them at third base. The Bears loaded the bases in the fourth on two hits and a walk, but Rathbun got two strikeouts to end the threat. Rathbun also left a runner on second in the third with a strikeout and escaped in the seventh when she caught a popup to leave runners on the corners. Coast Guard put its leadoff runner aboard in the eighth and a ground ball moved her to third before Rathbun got a swinging strike to end the inning. Given the 1-0 lead, Rathbun pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, fanning Jamie Kim on four pitches to end the game as she equaled her second-highest strikeout total of the season.

aliceasteal72_9202.jpgAfter hitting a Little East Conference tournament-ending home run last weekend, Rathbun nearly gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead in the first but Coast Guard centerfielder Carin Sweeney made an outstanding catch pressed up against the center field fence for the final out. The Warriors left five runners at second base through the first eight innings but no runner reached third until Cooper touched the bag in scoring the go-ahead run.

Above: Priscilla Alicea reached on a bunt single and stole second leading off the eighth inning but the Warriors had to wait one more inning to score the only run of the game..
 
Rathbun, who has won the team's last eight games, fanned 47 and walked eight and gave up nine hits (all singles) in 28 tournament innings to extend her latest scoring streak to 38. She was joined on the all-tournament team from Eastern by senior first baseman Katie O'Toole (Waterbury), sophomore righffielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) and Church.Batting cleanup, O'Toole was 4-for-11 in the tournament and drove in two runs in each of the first three tournament games. She walked twice in the final. Church was 3-for-10 with two RBI in the opener and Alice, the leadoff hitter, Alicea was 5-for-14 with three RBI and three runs scored. Rathbun was 0-for-3 with a walk and had an 11-game hitting streak snapped.

 

TOP-SEEDED EASTERN BASEBALL OUSTED IN LITTLE EAST TOURNEY

NCAA DIVISION III MANSFIELD, CONN. REGIONAL TOURNAMENT.pdf

Complete Division III Selections

Bid to defeat USM for fourth time fails; Warriors await NCAA at-large

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MANSFIELD, Conn. -  Sweeping a quality opponent in a doubleheader is a difficult task. The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team did it six days ago against the University of Southern Maine in Gorham, ME.

At right: Travis Bass (far right) is greeted by Andrew Dewing (at left) after his third-inning home run Friday against Rhode Island College.

Beating that same opponent for a third time is even more difficult. The Warriors did that two days ago in the first round of the Little East Conference Tournament.

Saturday, the Warriors couldn't make it four wins in as many tries this year, falling to the Huskies, 8-7, and in the process, falling out of the 2010 Little East Conference Tournament at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

The winner of last year's tournament  for the fifth time in seven years, the Warriors lost twice after winning their first two as fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston completed an unlikely four-game sweep  with a 7-3 win over No.6 seed  Southern Maine Saturday to win its first conference tournament championship and qualify for its first NCAA Division III.

A seven-time LEC tournament champion, Eastern has never lost the title after reaching the championship round. Its perfect record in title games remained intact after Southern Maine defeated Eastern in the tournament for only the second time in the last nine tournament meetings between the programs.

By ousting Eastern (30-13) , Southern Maine advanced to the final, needing two wins over UMass, which had won the battle of tournament unbeatens with a crucial 5-2 triumph over Eastern Friday.

Eastern (30-13) is expected to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, which would mark its 31st NCAA Division III tournament showing (fifth straight) under 42nd-year head coach Bill Holowaty.

 Against Southern Maine, Eastern scored three times in the third and four in the fifth to take a 7-5 lead after USM had scored five times in the first on five hits, two walks and a hit batter. Sophomore No. 9 hitter David Ricker drove in the first run of the fifth with a sacrifice fly, then broke a 7-7 tie with a leadoff home run in the seventh inning for what proved to be the winning run.

Making his post-season debut, freshman righty Benjamin Church (Rochester, MA) was unable to retire a batter. A winner of all four of his decisions this year, Church was the first of  five Eastern pitchers in the game, the final four of whom were moderately successful.

Offensively, senior shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford) and junior catcher Chris Cannata (Southington) both drove in two runs and junior DH Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) scored twice. Bass' two-run single highlighted Easterns three-run second and No. 9 hitter Cannata plated two with a two-out double when the Warriors surged ahead with four runs in the fifth on four hits and a USM infield throwing error that made three of the runs unearned.

In Eastern's four tournament games, Cammuso was 8-for-15 with four runs and three RBI; junior first baseman Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) 6-for-16 with three runs and two RBI; Bass 5-for-14 with five RBI and five runs scored, an .857 slugging percentage and .550 on-base percentage; senior second baseman John Parke (Middlefield) 5-for-14 with six runs and three RBI and a .526 on-base percentage, and senior outfielder Chris Thomson (Montville) 6-for-17 with four RBI and three runs. Three of the Warriors top hitters and run-producers batted a combined to hit .146 with seven RBI  and three runs scored.

In UMass' milestone championship victory senior lefty Andrew Lebrun  won his first game in a month, allowing four hits over the first seven innings, and sophomore tourney MVP  Mark McCormack hit a grand slam to highlight a six-run second inning that wiped out a 2-0 Southern Maine (22-21-1) lead for UMass (28-15). LeBrun (3-3), who began his collegiate career at Eastern, pitched six scoreless innings after USM scored twice in the first inning on two hits, a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly. UMass also got a quality outing and pitching win from lefty Mike Andriano, who went eight innings to down the Warriors Friday night for his first victory of the season.
 
McCormack was 7-for-18 in the tournament with 12 RBI, three home runsand five runs scored.

 
 

Rathbun tosses one-hitter as Warriors move to within a win of nationals

teepee_raw_5539.jpgWELLESLEY, Mass. -- During a stretch of 11 consecutive years through 1992, the field for the annual NCAA Division III national softball tournament was never without Eastern Connecticut State University.

The Warriors stand one victory away from returning.

Saturday, sophomore All-America righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron) pitched her third straight complete-game shutout at the NCAA Division III Wellesley, Massachusetts Regional Softball Tournament in top-seeded Eastern's 7-0 win over second-seeded Brandeis University Saturday afternoon.

Behind Rathbun's (26-1) 23rd straight win, Eastern (35-4-1) moves within a win of qualifying for its first NCAA Division III national tournament  in 18 years. The former five-time national champions will face the winner of Sunday's noon game between  Brandeis and third-seeded U.S. Coast Guard Academy Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern is the  tournament's only remaining undefeated team. If Eastern loses at 2 p.m. Sunday, a deciding game is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m.

Rathbun, who has won the team's last seven games, pitched her 12th career one-hitter against Brandeis (29-8-1) in a battle of the top two-ranked teams in New England, defeating the Judges for the second time this season. Rathbun fanned 12 and walked four, striking out seven straight early in the game. The Judges managed their only hit when the game was scoreless in the third inning. After fanning the first two batters of the inning, Rathbun walked a batter and gave up a single to center to No. 2 hitter Marianne Specker before getting a ground ball to end the inning.

In the game, Rathbun extended her current scoreless streak to 29 innings, the last 19 coming in the tournament. In three tournament games, she has fanned 33 and walked seven and allowed only four hits. In Friday's  2-0 win over Rivier College, she tossed her second no-hitter in her last six starts.

Winners of 13 straight, Eastern scored at least one run in each of its final four at-bats to break the game open, collecting 11 hits off three Brandeis pitchers in the game. Batting fifth and sixth in the order, corner infielders Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) and Arielle Cooper (Mystic)  each had two hits and two RBI and leadoff hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) had two hits and scored three runs.

Alicea drove in Katie Dinihanian (Stratford) from second with a single for the first run of the game in the third, and Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) plated Alicea with a triple to make it 2-0. O'Toole contributed RBI singles in the fourth and fifth and Cooper knocked in two runs in the fifth with a single. Rathbun hit safely in her 11th straight game with a single in the fifth, and her  pinch runner, Courtney Weber (Groton) eventually scored.

Eastern and Coast Guard split a regular-season doubleheader April 5 in New London. Rathbun outdueled USCGA sophomore ace Hayley Feindel in the first game, 3-2 in eight innings, pitching a one-hitter and striking out 14.  The Bears won the nightcap, 4-2. Rathbun did not pitch in the second game while Feindel pitched all 15  innings of the doubleheader, surrendering seven hits in each game.

The Warriors last won as many as 35 games in 1989, when they captured 36. The program record for victories came during a 39-9 season in 1985 when they claimed the third of their five national championships.

ANDRIANO PITCHES UMASS BOSTON BASEBALL PAST EASTERN BY 5-2

 Beacons move into LEC finals with victory over defending champions

Tournament Central

bassHRswing7272_8309.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior southpaw Michael Andriano hurled eight-plus innings to earn his first career playoff victory and lead No. 4 seed University of Massachusetts Boston over top-seeded and defending champion Eastern Connecticut State University, 5-2, Friday night in the winners' bracket final of the 2010 Little East Conference  baseball tournament at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Above: Travis Bass

By avenging two regular-season losses at the hands of Eastern (30-12)  on this field, UMass (27-15) moves into the tournament's championship round for the first time, receiving two chances to win one game. Eastern faces No. 6 seed University of Southern Maine (21-20-1)  Saturday at 11 a.m., with the winner facing UMass at 2:15 p.m. If necessary, a decisive game will be played Sunday at 11 a.m., with the winner earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament.

Eastern had advanced to the winners' bracket final earlier in the day with its second straight tournament victory, a 9-3 win over No. 3 Rhode Island College.

Andriano won his first game in LEC playoff competition and earned his first victory this season after three losses in helping the Beacons to their tenth win in their last 12 outings. Eight of the nine hits he allowed were singles and six of his nine strikeouts were called, including the game-ending against pinch hitter Robert Perry (Manchester), who represented the tying run.

Eastern senior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) fanned eight and allowed only seven hits before being lifted with one out in the seventh. The Warriors staked Fontaine (6-2) to a 1-0 lead in the first when the first three batters reached on singles.  Andriano, however, never gave up more than one hit in an inning after that until the seventh.

Eastern  looked like it would break up the game early by loading the bases with its first three hitters reaching and senior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) at the plate, but could only come up with a run when Castillo hit a hard ground ball to third where UMass Boston sophomore third baseman Mike Mattei handled the play, stepped on third and threw home, but hit the junior right fielder Shane Kingsley (Beacon Falls) in the back.  Andriano struck out the next hitter and got a harmless fly out to center to get out of trouble.  Kingsley, senior shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford) and junior first baseman Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) collected successive singles to open the frame and load the bases.

UMass Boston pulled even, but might have had more in the third.  Junior right fielder Jose Roman Santos started the frame with a single to left and freshman shortstop Matt Consiglio was brushed by a pitch to put runners on first and second.  Senior left fielder Drew Tambling moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and sophomore center fielder Mark McCormack followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Santos with the tying run, but Consiglio also tagged and then was called out for leaving the base early on the play to end the inning. The Beacons took their first lead of the night when junior second baseman Ryan Walsh crushed the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for his eighth home run of the season and a 2-1 edge.  The four-bagger gave him 282 career total bases to break the school record held  by Adam Waxman (2000-03). 

 UMass Boston tacked on single runs in the sixth,  seventh and eighth innings to take a 5-1 margin.  Walsh beat out an infield single to shortstop, stole second, stole third and came around to score on a sacrifice fly to center field by junior first baseman Connor Reinfurt  for a 3-1 lead in the sixth.  Mattei reached on an infield single to third to lead off the seventh, stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw by the Warriors' catcher, where he scored on a one-out RBI single to left by Consiglio to give the Beacons a 4-1 margin.  Tambling followed with a single through the right side to knock out Fontaine and bring in junior lefty reliever Bill Roveto (South Windsor), who got the left-handed McCormack to hit into an inning ending double play.  Senior  Chris Wojick (Uncasville) came on for the eighth and junior catcher Tim Fontaine drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a Mattei single to right field for a 5-1 lead. 

The Warriors got a run back in the eighth when senior second baseman John Parke (Middlefield) smacked a leadoff double, stole third with one out and just beat the throw at home on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of junior Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) to make it 5-2.  Eastern Connecticut threatened in the ninth when Kingsley drew a leadoff walk.  UMass Boston junior closer Tony Damon  came into the game and walked Bass after a full count to bring the tying run to the plate.  A fly out and a pair of strikeouts later gave the Beacons the victory and Damon his second save of the day and fifth of the season.

Heading into this year's tournament, UMass had lost all three of its LEC tournament games to Eastern and was 4-11all-time against the other five teams in the tournament. Eastern has won seven tournament titles, five of them coming in the last seven years.

Eastern 9, Rhode Island College 3
 
 Parke hit a three-run home run to highlight a five-run fifth inning that snapped a tie and sparked  a 9-3 victory that eliminated third-seeded Rhode Island College.

.Rhode Island (21-18) ends its season with losses in 11 of its last 15 games  The Warriors have now won at least 30 games for ten straight season and for the 26th time under 42nd-year head coach Bill Holowaty.

Bass tied the game for Eastern by belting a solo home run in the third - his third home run in four games after failing to hit one to that point. Parke then unloaded his fourth of the season when the Warriors batted around and scored five times in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. Batting ninth, Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) socked his  second home run of the season - one of his three hits in the game - a two-run shot in the eighth.

Rhode Island collected 11 hits off winning pitcher Schult - who won his fifth straight decision after an opening loss - and Evan Chamberlain (Hebron) but the Anchormen stranded 11 runners.

Rhode Island took a 1-0 lead in the second on a leadoff double by Gary Levesque and single with none out by Tim Schabowski. Schabowski moved to third on consecutive wild pitches but was stranded there by Schult, who worked out of the jam by getting a line drive to right, a strikeout and ground ball to short.

The Anchormen stranded two runners in the third and left runners on second and third in the fourth after scoring a run when  Kyle Allaire lined out to Parke at second. With two out in the fifth, RIC scored again but left a runner at third when Schult picked off a runner at first to end the fifth. Trailing 6-3, RIC left two more aboard in the seventh when Schult induced an inning-ending fly ball with runners at first and third.

Cammuso had three hits, scored two runs and drove in two  while Parke finished with three RBI on his home run and Bass had two hits and scored three runs.

Ronnie Bracchi  had three hits for Rhode Island, Levesque and Kevin Carey picking up two each.
 

 

 
 

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Warriors 2-0 in regional

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Eastern Connecticut State University's  Molly Rathbun (Hebron) threw a stellar no-hitter to defeat Rivier College, 2-0, in the winner's bracket semifinal on Friday afternoon in the NCAA Regional Softball Tournament at Wellesley College.

With the win, the Warriors advance to the winner bracket final on Saturday at 2pm. against Brandeis University. Rivier moves to the loser bracket, where they will face Salem State on Saturday at 10am.

Both pitchers -- Rathbun and Rivier's Monica White -- dominated the game through the fifth inning. Neither squad could muster much offense as Rathbun held Rivier hitless and struck out nine in the first five frames, while White scattered three harmless hits and fanned six during the same stretch.

Eastern broke the ice in the top of the sixth, when Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) and Rathbun led off with back-to-back singles. Then, with two outs, Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) doubled down the left field line, giving the Warriors a 2-0 edge. Rathbun then retired six straight Rivier batters to secure the win.

Sullivan was 3-for-3 for the Warriors. Rathbun, O'Toole, Priscilla Alicea (Stratford), and Kim Church (Farmington) tallied hits for Eastern as well, with O'Toole hammering the game-winner. Rathbun (25-1) finished with 11 strikeouts while walking three in her second no-hitter of the season.

Despite a strong outing, White took the loss for Rivier, giving up seven hits and two runs while fanning seven.

Courtesy of Wellesley College Sports Information

EDWARDSEN, SIMPSON OF EASTERN MEN'S TRACK ALL-ECAC HONOREES

  They excel individually and team on All-ECAC relay with Pates, Lowe

edwardsen_72_4422.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Tyler Edwardsen (Ledyard) and Corey Simpson (Norwich) completed  standout freshman seasons by running to All-ECAC honors in the 110 meter hurdles and 100 meter dash, respectively, at the ECAC Division III Men's Track and Field Championships Thursday and Friday at Blake Track on the Springfield College campus.

At left: Tyler Edwardsen

The duo earned additional ECAC honors when then teamed with sophomore Nick Pates (East Haven) and first-year junior transfer Brian Lowe (Enfield) on the 4x100 meter relay when placed sixth in a field of 20 in a time of 43.20

Edwardsen and Simson each placed eighth in their respective events to earn the final All-ECAC certificates. Edwardsen was timed in 15.44 in the final after logging a time of 15.20 in a field of 26 to become the last qualifier for the final. Simpson was clocked in a time of 11.10 in the final after clocking a personal-best time of 10.98 in finishing in a tie for seventh among 16 competitors in the preliminaries.

Lowe placed tenth in the 100 meter preliminaries, .07 shy of a spot in the final. He was the third New England finisher.

Edwardsen and Simpson wrapped up remarkable freshmen seasons by garnering individual and relay honors in their final post-season meet.  In post-season competition in the 110 hurdles,  Edwardsen won the Little East Conference and New England Alliance championships and earned All-New England honors with a fourth-place finish in the Division III Championships and sixth-place finish in the Open (in a program-record time of 15.11 in the preliminaries).

In his first semester at Eastern after participating in football at Norwich University in the fall, Simpson was second at 100 meters in the Little East meet and fifth in the New England Alliance and was All-New England  in the Division III Championships (5th) and Open (4th).

In the ECAC women's championship Thursday, senior Erika Barber (Portland) equaled her program record of 10-8 in claiming a tie for tenth place among 19 competitors in the pole vault. It marked the sixth time in nine meets - including all four post-season meets -- this season that she jumped at least ten feet.She set the current record at the Little East/New England Alliance Championships and equaled it May 1 in earning All-New England honors at the Division III Championships.

 

 


 

Thomson homers and drives in four runs in 10-2 victory over No. 6 USM

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MANSFIELD, Conn. --   Chris Thomson (Montville) tripled and homered and drove in four runs to highlight a 15-hit attack as  No. 1-seeded and defending champion Eastern Connecticut State University downed No. 6 University of Southern Maine, 10-2, in the opening game of the 2010 Little East Conference baseball tournament Thursday at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Above Chris Thomson

Ranked 16th nationally, Eastern (29-11) scored four times in the bottom of the first inning and after Southern Maine (19-20-1), then tacked on four more in the eighth to break the game open. Eastern senior righty Will Musson (Wethersfield)  allowed nine hits and both Southern Maine runs over the first eight innings to post his fifth win against a loss this year. The win was Eastern's third in four days over the Huskies. This past Sunday, Eastern swept USM at Gorham, ME to earn the tournament's No. 1 seed.

Eastern faces No. 3 seed Rhode Island College (21-17) Friday at 10 a.m. The Anchormen need a win to remain alive after losing 11-0 Thursday to No. 4 seed Massachusetts Boston.

Travis Bass (West Hartford) hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Thomson, batting seventh, Thomson tripled in Eastern's final run of the inning. Thomson also had an RBI single in the seventh and belted a two-run home run in the  eighth.

Southern Maine lefty Mark Schmidt was lifted after facing only four batters, the first three of who reached safely and scored in the first. Musson struck out three and walked two in bouncing back from his only loss of the season in his most recent start May 6 at Wheaton College.

Batting ninth in the order, Eastern's Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) matched Thomson with three hits for Eastern while Melvin Castillo (Danbury) drove in two runs with a single in the sixth and a triple in the eighth. The Huskies got six hits but no RBI and only one run scored from its top two hitters in the lineup, Tucker White and Anthony Pisani, Nick Grady drove in two runs with two hits. He singled in USM's two runs in the eighth.

In the LEC tournament, Eastern leads the series against Southern Maine, 9-5, having won  nine of the last 11 after the Huskies won the first three. Southern Maine has won only two of its last ten games (2-7-1). Last year's top tournament seed, Southern Maine is looking for its first LEC tournament championship since 1999.

SOFTBALL: WINS NCAA OPENER

church 300 dpi_7786.jpgWELLESLEY, Mass. -- Eastern Connecticut State University, seeded #1 in the NCAA Softball Regional at Wellesley College, used dominant pitching and timely hitting to down #8 Husson University, 8-0, in five innings Thursday morning in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Eastern (33-4-1) advances to Game #7 against River College, to be played Friday, May 14, at 2pm. Rivier defeated Bowdoin College in Thursday's second game. Husson (28-14) moves to Game #5, Friday at 10a.m.

At left: Kim Church

Eastern got on the board in the bottom of the second when Kim Church (Farmington) led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Katie Dinihanian (Stratford). Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) followed with a single, pushing Church to third with one out. The Warriors then capitalized on a Husson miscue to score both runners for a 2-0 edge. Two innings later, Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) singled up the middle to score Dinihanian and push the lead to 3-0.

Eastern broke the game open in the fifth, when Molly Rathbun (Hebron) and Kassondra Silva (Hamden) opened the inning with back-to-back singles. A single to center from Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) plated two for a 5-0 lead. Church followed with a two-run double for 7-0 lead, before an illegal pitch scored the game-ending run.

 For Husson, Cassie Berry, Lona Sargent, and Courtney Hill notched one hit each. Kody Lyon took the loss for the Eagles, giving up seven runs and seven hits in 4.2 innings of work.

For Eastern, Rathbun and Silva tallied two hits each, while Alicea, O'Toole, and Church recorded two RBI a piece. Rathbun was over-powering in the circle, fanning 10 while scattering three hits to move to 25-1 on the season.

Rathbun broke the 24-year-old program record for strikeouts in a season in the game. She now has 250, five more than previous recordholder Kim Durocher.

Game account courtesy of Wellesley College Sports Information

 

BASEBALL: EASTERN HOSTING LEC

By the Little East Conference Office of  Communications

Six-team, double-elimination tournament unfolds Thursday in Mansfield

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NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University earned the top seed and right to host the 2010 Little East Baseball Championship Tournament by virtue of winning the tie-breaker over Keene State College. The Warriors will host the six-team, double elimination field from Thursday, May 13 to Saturday, May 15.

The first day of tournament action will feature four contests: No.1 Eastern Connecticut (28-11) and No. 6 University of Southern Maine (19-19-1) at 10 a.m.; No. 2 Keene State College (25-13-1) and No. 5 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (20-17) at 1:15 p.m.; No. 3 Rhode Island College (21-16) and No. 4 University of Massachusetts Boston (24-15) at 4:30 p.m.; the losers of Game 1 and Game 2 at 7:45 p.m.

Under the watchful eye of Head Coach Bill Holowaty, the Warriors secured the top-seed in the tournament for the eighth time in the 14-year history of the conference. Eastern Connecticut shared the regular-season title with the Owls, but was awarded as the host site based on sweeping the Anchormen. Eastern Connecticut won five of last six conference contests to complete the Little East slate with a 10-4 mark. The Warriors are ranked No. 14 in the latest edition of the D3baseball.com Top 25 Poll and fifth in the NCAA Division III New England Region.

Fans unable to make the trip to Mansfield, Conn. can follow all the action on Tournament Central. The Little East Conference office will be video-streaming each game on LittleEast.tv.
 

 

NINETEEN FROM EASTERN CITED

In Little East Conference  year-ending program, four receive major awards

macdonald strip_9697.jpgA total of 19 individuals in the sports of men's and women's lacrosse and softball have been LEClogo-1WEB.jpg  recognized by the Little East Conference as part of its season-ending awards program.

At left: Taylor MacDonald, voted three-time Player-of-the-Year and four-time all-conference selection.

Seven members of the LEC champion softball team were honored, among them sophomore Molly Rathbun (Hebron) as Pitcher-of-the-Year and ninth-year head coach Diana Pepin as Coach-of-the-Year. Senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) and sophomore rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) joined Rathbun as a first-team all-conference selection. First-year sophomore Kassondra Silva (Hamden) and freshman third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) were named second team at designated player and third base, respectively.

In women's lacrosse, senior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) was named Defensive Player-of-the-Year for the third time and all-conference for the fourth time (third time on the first team). She was joined on the first team by sophomore defender Megan Barrett (Setaucket, NY). Second-team selections were seniors Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) and Dana McLaughlin (West Hartford), junior midfielder Ashley Del Vecchio (Fairfield) and first-year sophomore Ashley Prizio (Brookfield). Wayte was named at attack, Del Vecchio and Prizio at midfield and McLaughlin on defense.

In men's lacrosse, freshman goalie Donald Berube (Tewksbury, MA) was recognized as Rookie-of-the-Year. Junior midfielder Eric Vasil (Southington) and junior attack Grant Albertson (New Canaan) were first-team picks. Junior defenseman Ryan Schneeloch (Glastonbury), junior long-stick midfielder Sean Leary (West Hartford) and sophomore defenseman Tommy Flynn (Miineola, NY) were second-team picks.

 

Competing in 17th NCAA, LEC champs face Husson Thursday at 10 a.m.

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Regional Bracket.pdf

Tournament Web Site

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball team will compete in its New England-record 17th NCAA Division III tournament as the No. 1 seed in the Wellesley (MA) Regional beginning Thursday at Wellesley College.

At right: Seniors Kim Church, Katie O'Toole, Ashley Sullivan and Nikki Mustin have led the Warriors to their winnningest season in 16 years and into their third straight NCAA tournament.

The Little East Conference champion will face No. 8 seed Husson University (28-13) in the first of four games on the first day of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament . Eastern (32-4-1) will remain in the winners bracket with a victory over the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) champion Hawks and play Friday at 2 p.m. against the winner of Thursday's second game between No. 5 Rivier College (32-4) and No. 4 Bowdoin College (33-12). A first-round loss to Husson drops the Warriors into an elimination game Friday at 10 a.m. against the Rivier-Bowdoin loser.

Six  of the eight teams competing in the Wellesley regional  were automatic selections, with No. 2 Brandeis University (27-7-1) receiving an at-large berth after finishing second in the University Athletic Association (UAA) tournament and Bowdoin receiving an at-large bid after finishing second in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament.

Additional automatic qualifiers in the regional are No. 3 U.S. Coast Guard Academy (30-8), Rivier, No. 6 Salem State College and No. 7 Endicott.  Coast Guard won the New England Women's and Men's Conference (NEWMAC) title,  Rivier the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), Salem the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) and Endicott the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).

A total of 60 teams will compete in the tournament, 39 qualifying automatically as conference champions. The eight regional winners will advance to the NCAA Division III national tournament May 21-25 at UW-Eau Claire's Carson Park. A five-time national champion, Eastern last competed in the national tournament in 1992 when it won the Cortland, NY regional. The Warriors competed in the Mahwah, NJ Regional last year and the Plattsburgh, NY Regional in 2008.

Eastern and Husson will be meeting for the first time. During the regular season, Eastern defeated Brandeis, 3-2 and Bowdoin, 3-0 and split with Coast Guard, winning 3-2 in eighth innings and losing 4-2. In the most recent New England poll, Eastern is ranked first, Brandeis second, Coast Guard third, Rivier fourth, Bowdoin fifth, and Endicott eighth. The Warriors share 11th place in the most recent NFCA national poll and Brandeis is 17th.

Since splitting with Coast Guard, Eastern is 21-1-1 in its last 23 games, sweeping four games as the No. seed in this past weekend's Little East Conference tournament at Keene, NH. The Warriors enjoyed their winningest regular season (percentage-wise) in the program's 34-year history and totaled its most wins this season in 16 years.

Molly Rathbun (Hebron), a second-team  All-America utility player as a freshman in 2009, has set a number of career and season pitching records this year and brings a program-record 20-game winning streak into the regionals. She is 23-1 with a 0.72 ERA, with 240 strikeouts in 155 innings. She has thrown one no-hitter and five one-hitters this season. Against Bowdoin, she carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before a one-out bunt single spoiled her bid. In her only loss March 24 against DePauw University (seeded second in the Greencastle, IN Regional), she broumanzo_72_5719.jpgght a no-hitter into the seventh and lost on two unearned runs in the eighth.

At right: Rosie Manzo, who replaced injured Katie Dinihanian in left field early this season, batted .545 in the LEC tournament -- 373 percentage points above her season average

Rathbun also leads the Warriors with a .434 batting average, with all-region outfielders Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) and leadoff hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) at .371 and .361, respectively. Rathbun has nine home runs and 36 RBI, Sullivan 28 runs scored and 67 total bases and Alicea 29 runs scored, 24 RBI and 63 total bases. As a team, the Warriors are batting .302 and are fielding at .975. They commited only one error in the LEC tournament, that coming on a foul popup.

In addition to Sullivan in center, starting seniors include catcher Nikki Mustin (Griswold), second  baseman Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) and shortstop Kim Church (Farmington). Sophomores Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) and Kassondra Silva (Hamden) start in left field and DP, respectively, with sophomore Alicea in right, freshman  Arielle Cooper (Mystic) at third and freshman Kelly Paterson (Southington) at second.

Silva and freshman Christine Akcer (Milford) are the team's second and third pitchers, respectively Silva is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 40 1/3 innings and Akcer is 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 45 1/3 innings

..In the LEC tournament,  Rathbun was 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA, pitching three shutouts and fanning 42 with only four walks. She led the Warriors with a .727 batting average. Manzo batted .545, Cooper .364, Alicea .313, Church .308 and O'Toole .300. O'Toole handled 18 fielding chances without an error and Mustin handled 44 of 44 fielding attempts. The championship win over Keene - the program's first LEC tournament tilte -- was the 200th in the nine-year head coaching career of Diana Pepin, who has led Eastern to at least 20 wins in six of the last seven seasons.

Like Eastern, Husson brings a ten-game winning streak into NCAA play. Since losing 11 of their first 13 games (2-8 during a spring trip to Texas), the Hawks are 26-2, the losses coming in splits with Colby College and Maine-Farmington. Eastern and Husson have faced three common opponents: the University of Southern Maine , Bates College, and  Bowdoin. Eastern is 4-0 in those games, Husson 5-3, with four of its wins coming against Bates.

Husson won all 14 of its conference regular-season games and went on to capture its second NAC playoff title with junior Nicole Sargent no-hitting Maine Maritime in the championship game and senior infielder Cassie Berry earning tournament MVP honors with a .555 batting average and three home runs.  Sargent is 10-5 with a team-leading 3.09 ERA.

The other six teams No. 1 pitchers are Bowdoin junior Kara Nilan (12-3, 1.24),   Brandeis senior Emily Vaillette (15-4, 1.49), Coast Guard sophomore Hayley Feindel (28-8, 0.96), Endicott junior Jenna Bortolot (20-5, 1.48), Rivier senior Monica White (26-3, 0.87) and Salem sophomore Katelynn Fanning (21-5, 2.32).


 

 

 

 

 

 

SOFTBALL: LITTLE EAST CHAMPIONS!

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 Rathbun pitches five-hitter and delivers walk-off home run (shown above)

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KEENE, N.H. - All-America utility player Molly Rathbun (Hebron) pitched a complete-game five-hitter with 12 strikeouts for her fourth tournament win and belted a walk-off solo home run leading off the bottom of the eighth inning to end a scoreless duel and carry the No. 11 nationally-ranked and top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University softball team to its first Little East Conference tournament title Sunday against second-seeded Keene State College at the Owl Athletic Complex

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.A winner of three straight tournament games after an opening loss in the six-team, double-elimination tournament, Keene (26-14-1) needed to beat Eastern twice Sunday in order to claim its fifth title in the 13-year history of the tournament. Keene had advanced to face Eastern Sunday after eliminating Western Connecticut, 8-2, Saturday in the only game played due to rain.

At left: Seniors Katie OToole (facing camera) and Kim Church celebrate the championship.

The victory was the 200th in the nine-year head coaching career of Diana Pepin (200-146-1), a third baseman on the program's fifth and most recent national championship team in 1990.

A winner of ten straight and now 21-1-1 in its last 23 games, Eastern (32-4-1) qualified for its third straight NCAA tournament - 17th in program history. The Warriors are 7-0 this year in games decided by one run.

"I won't accept anything but their very best," said Pepin of her team, which has won 30 games for the first time since 1994, "and we keep striving for that. As (current assistant coach and former head coach) Coach Washburne says, we haven't arrived anywhere yet, and that's the truth, but we keep going at it and keep getting better and better and better. We're not satisfied."

 The NCAA tournament gets underway Thursday with regional tournaments. Rhode Island College will host the New England Regional Tournament, although Eastern has been shipped to New York and New Jersey the last two seasons after receiving at-large berths to the tournament. The automatic bid is the first-ever for the Warriors, who had reached the tournament championship round twice previously, most recently in 2005 when they lost to Keene State.

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"The seniors stepped up," said Pepin of centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull), shortstop Kim Church (Farmington), first baseman Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) and catcher Nikki Mustin (Canterbury). "And Molly is a great competitor but she wants nothing more than for the team to be successful. She will do anything for the team to win."

A winner of a program-record 20 straight decisions, Rathbun (23-1) had only one 1-2-3 inning through the first five but retired the final ten in order for her program-tying 12th  shutout of the season. Her 23rd win also establishes a season mark, breaking the old mark set in 1990 by Christia Mohan and equaled the next year by Donna Poyant.

 

Since returning from its spring trip, Keene has been shut out only twice - both times by Rathbun. On April 25, Rathbun also pitched a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 3-0 Eastern win over the host Owls.

Leading off the bottom of the eighth, Rathbun drove a 0-1 pitch from Keene sophomore righty Courtney Savoie (9-5) on a line over the center field fence for her team-high ninth homer of the season - seventh in the last 14 games. In her previous at-bat leading off the sixth, Rathbun had lined a double high off the center field fence but Eastern left the go-ahead run on third because of a botched stolen base attempt. "But we hung tough and stayed strong and we didn't let it detour us," noted Pepin. "And Molly comes up big all the time."

rathbun72_7992.jpg The unanimous tournament MVP, Rathbun won all four of the team's games with a 1.42 ERA, 42 strikeouts and four walks in 24 2/3 innings and batted .727 (8-for-11) with a double, two home runs, five RBI and an .800 on-base percentage.

At left: Seniors Kim Church (far left) and catcher Nikki Mustin (far right) were there to support Molly Rathbun throughout the tournament.

Rathburn  allowed runs in only one game - a 10-5 victory over third-seeded Western Connecticut in Friday's winners' bracket final. Western had six hits - including two home runs - of f Rathbun, who was lifted from the game for the first time this year. She returned to record the final six outs, however, and earn credit for the win.

"Western is a very good hitting team," pointed out Pepin. "We called for a lot of fastballs, and they caught up to them. We didn't change up as much as we did (against Keene). We threw a lot more changeups today and they were fishing for them. We mixed speeds very well today, and we did what we're supposed to do."

Eastern committed only one error in the tournament - that coming against Keene on a dropped foul ball which prolonged the at-bat of  No. 3 hitter Katie Bradford with two out in the fifth. Bradford eventually ground a 1-2 pitch back at Rathbun, who knocked it down and threw the runner out from her knees.

Sophomore leftfielder Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) brought a .172 batting average into the tournament but was second only to Rathbun with a .545 average (6-for-11) as the Warriors outscored their opponents 24-5 and had twice as many hits. Freshman third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) had a 13-game hitting streak ended against Keene, but batted .364 (4-for-11) in the tournament.

Church, a four-year starter at shortstop, concludes her LEC career by beating Keene State on its home field to win a conference championship for the second time this year. Last November, she was named MVP of the LEC soccer playoffs when she led the Warriors to a 1-0 victory over the top-seeded Owls in the LEC final.

 

 

BASEBALL: SWEEP NETS NO. 1 SEED

Bracket REVISED.pdf        Tournament Central

Eastern to host Little East Conference tournament beginning THURSDAYKingsley_5313.JPG

LEClogo-1WEB.jpgGORHAM, Maine - The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team will host the 2010 Little East Conference Tournament after sweeping the University of Southern Maine, 21-1 and 12-9 Sunday afternoon at the USM Baseball Stadium. The first game was stopped after seven innings.

At right: Shane Kingsley

The sweep gives Eastern (28-11, 10-4 little east) at least a share of its tenth LEC regular-season title in the 14 years of LEC baseball competition. Ranked  No. 16 nationally, Eastern shares the regular-season title with Keene State College and was awarded the No. 1 seed due to tie-breakers. The six-team double-elimination tournament runs THURSDAY through SUNDAY at the Eastern Baseball Stadium. Eastern meets No. 6 seed Southern Maine (19-19-1, 6-8 little east)) THURSDAY at 10 A.M. in the first of four games on the first day.

Eastern needed to win both games against Southern Maine in order to nail down the No. 1 seed and hosting privileges. Eleven different Southern Maine pitchers surrendered 31 hits, walked 13 batters and hit ten,  and the Huskies commited nine errors. In the first game, Eastern senior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston) allowed just one run on seven hits over the first six innings to earn his sixth win against a loss. Fontaine fanned six without a walk. In the nightcap, junior lefty Bill Roveto (South Windsor) won his third game without a loss - all in relief - as the third of four Eastern pitchers. Roveto gave up only two hits and one earned run in three innings while fanning two and walking two. . Junior righty Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) got the final three outs for his first save.

Senior second baseman John Parke (Middlefield) drove in six runs with three hits (two doubles), while senior shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford) and junior outfielder Shane Kingsley (Beacons Falls) each drove in five runs and junior first baseman Tyler Turgeon (Norwich) four. Senior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) reached base eight times with two singles, three walks and three hit-by-pitch and scored five times.

Southern Maine won only two of its final nine regular-season games (2-6-1). The Huskies have won or shared five LEC regular-season titles, including the 2009 crown. They have captured two LEC tournament titles, the last coming in 1999. Eastern is the defending conference tournament champion, winning its fifth crown in the last seven years last spring.

With just one goal over first 20 minutes, Warriors dig early hole in loss

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LEClogo-1WEB.jpgKEENE, N.H. -- The top-seeded Keene State College men's lacrosse team built a six-goal lead by holding second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University to one goal over the first 20 minutes and went on to win its third Little East Conference championship in six years with a 14-10 victory Saturday evening at the Owl Athletic Complex. In the process, Keene  qualifies automatically for the NCAA  Division III Tournament.

Above: Michael Sullinger

The win is the ninth straight this year and ninth in ten home matches for Keene (12-5), which has defeated Eastern (12-5) in the final in each of its championship seasons. A six-time playoff champion in the ten-year history of the event, Eastern has beaten Keene four times in the final.

The Warriors cut Keene's lead to two goals three times in the second half, but the Owls answered with two key goals - the final two of the game - in a span of 67 seconds and neither team scored the rest of the way.

Eastern converted four of five extra-man opportunities and its man-down unit killed eight of Keene's nine man-up tries.  Entering the match, Keene rankedfirst in the LEC in man-up scoring and Eastern last in penalty-killing perentage

Three of the Warriors final four goals in the game came with the man advantage.

Eastern's Eric Vasil, the national leader in faceoff percentage and ground balls per game,  won 19 of 25 faceoffs and picked up 18 ground balls. In the game, he broke his own program season records for faceoff attempts and ground balls. In the semifinal victory over Western, he broke his own program record for faceoffs won.

Eastern sophomore attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield) contributed an assist for the seventh straight game, collecting a career-high total of four. Sophomore midfielder Salieu Bolivar (Norwalk) took ten of Eastern's 30 shots, connecting on three. Freshman goalie Donald Berube (Tewksbury, MA) made 15 saves - one shy of his career high.

Keene sophomore Griffin Meehan, who had five goals and three assists against Eastern in the regular-season game, led both teams with six goals to improve his conference-leading total to 66. While Meehan improved his season goal average, the Warriors shut down sophomore Matt Schairer, the Owls' second-leading scorer. Schairer was held to one shot and a single assist.

Entering play, Eastern had won five straight matches - all against conference opponents -- since losing to visiting Keene State, 17-11, April 16.

 A winner of at least ten matches for the 13th time in the 15-year history of the program this season, Eastern expects a bid to the ECAC New England Tournament for the fourth time in program history - its tenth post-season bid in the last 12 years.  

TRACK: FOUR ALL-NEW ENGLAND

Simpson, Lowe, Edwardsen, Pates run to regional honors at Open

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simpson_closeup_4477.jpgDEDHAM, Mass. --  Four members of the Eastern Connecticut State University men's track and field team ran to All-New England honors at the  New England Open Friday and Saturday at Solomon Track, hosted by Northeastern University.

At left: Corey Simpson

In a field of Division I, II and III competitors Friday, freshman Tyler Edwardsen (Ledyard) broke his own record in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.11 in the preliminaries before taking sixth place in a field of 28 in the final. In the 100, first-semester freshman Corey Simpson (Norwich) was fourth and first-year junior Brian Lowe (Kingston, Jamaica) seventh in a field of 22. In the final, Simpson was timed at 11.01, Lowe 11.10 .

The 4x100 relay also achieved All-New England recognition when they raced to a fifth-place finish among 14 in a time of 42.97 - just a half-second off the program record. Lowe, Simpson, Edwardsen and sophomore Nick Pates (East Haven) comprised the relay.

All four had earned All-New England recognition at least weekend's Division III Championship at Tufts University.

On the women's side, senior program record-holder Erika Barber (Portland) was 17th with a mark of 10-0, freshman Cora Gingras (East Hampton) was 17th in the triple jump (33-8 ½) and tied for 17th in the high jump with a personal-best mark of 5-1 which was just one inch off the program record. The 4x100 relay also competed, taking 13th place in a time of 52.57. Relay members included seniors Monica Mills (East Hartford) and Sandra Brautigam (Scotland), freshman Christine Charpentier (Monroe) and junior Roxanne Atterbury (Manchester).

Barber, Edwardsen, Lowe and Simpson have qualified to compete in in the ECAC Division III Track & Field Championship Thursday and Friday at Blake Track on the Springfield College campus.

SOUTHERN MAINE W-LACROSSE COMPLETES RUN WITH TITLE

Fifth-seeded Huskies win three road games by four goals to claim crown

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macdonaldwlax_6669.jpgMANFIELD, Conn. - The University of Southern Maine became the first No. 5 seed to win the Little East Conference women's lacrosse playoffs Saturday afternoon, scoring the first six goals of the match and fending off several bids by No. 3 seed Eastern Connecticut State University to post a 15-14 victory at the Manfield Outdoor Complex.

Above: Taylor MacDonald (Stephen Goomrigian photo)

Until this year, no seed lower than No. 2 had even reached the finals. The Huskies defeated No. 4 Western Connecticut and No. 1 Keene State College before completing the sweep to capture its first title in its second championship game appearance. All of USM's wins came on the road. After losing to Western, Keene and Eastern by a total of four goals during the regular season, Southern Maine won its three playoff games over those teams by a total of four goals. The Warriors had knocked off No. 2 seed Plymouth State University, 11-10 in overtime in Thursday's semifinals to reach the final for the eighth time in the nine-year history of the championship.

Southern Maine (11-9) qualifies automatically for its first NCAA tournament.

 In 2008, second-seeded USM had lost to top-seeded Eastern, 17-10 in its only previous final appearance.

Tournament MVP Jessica Knight scored three of her seven goals in the first eight minutes to help Southern Maine break to a 6-0 lead and the visitors never relinquished the lead.  Eastern's  (9-10) most extended offensive thrust of the game resulted in five straight goal and cut the Husky lead to one with seven minutes left in the first half. Trailing by three at halftime, Eastern cut a goal off that deficit on five separate occasions and by the final one-goal margin with six seconds left.  Eastern won the ensuing draw but was unable to get a clean shot off.

In a battle of freshman goalies, Southern Maine's Samantha Kiesel stopped 17 shots, ten in the second half. Eastern's Nancy Ibrahim (Lindenhurst, NY) made six saves. Junior Mary Vaughan, the team's second-leading scorer, contributed three goals and two assists and won four ground balls for the winners. 

Eastern sophomore Ashley Prizio (Brookfield)  and senior Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY)  combined for nine goals and senior Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) had three goals and five assists, for the Warriors, who had won seven straight LEC matches after losing their season-opener to Keene State.  Freshman Daniela Marchitto (Orange) won 15 of 28 faceoffs.

MacDonald and  Prizio combined to win nine draws for Eastern and Knight and Vaughan teamed to claim nine for Southern Maine.

Eastern accumulated  six yellow cards in the match, three coming in the final three minutes which had the Warriors playing another man down with each subsequent  card.

The  runaway conference scoring leader with 75 goals, Knight scored 18 goal in the team's three playoff wins, netting eight in the first-round victory over Western Connecticut.

The win for Southern Maine over Eastern, a former three-time playoff champion, is the Huskies first after 12 losses in the series, two coming in the playoffs.

In the game, MacDonald broke program all-time records with her 74th appearance and 74th start (she never missed a match) and finishes first all-time in ground balls (273) and draw controls (237), second in assists (105), third in points (210) and tied for tenth in goals (105). 

 

 
 

EASTERN W-LACROSSE UPENDS PLYMOUTH IN LEC SEMIFINALS

SATURDAY GAME TIME CHANGED TO 2:30 p.m.

Warriors erase early second-half deficit, will host No. 5 USM Saturday

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Tournament Central

PLYMOUTH, NH - Senior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) scored the only goal of overtime with a minute and a half remaining in the first of two three-minute extra sessions and third-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University pulled off a dramatic 11-10 victory over second-seeded Plymouth State University in a thrilling semifinal contest of the 2010 Little East Conference women's lacrosse tournament Thursday at Arold Field.

With the win, Eastern (9-9) qualifies for the conference championship game Saturday. The Warriors will host fifth-seeded University of Southern Maine (10-9), which shocked top-seeded Keene State College, 10-8, Thursday afternoon. Keene dumped Eastern in overtime in last year's final at Mansfield. Southern Maine has won two conference tournament games by a total of three goals.

The title game will be a re-match from 2008, when Eastern topped the Huskies, 17-10, for its second straight title. The Warriors are making their eighth title game appearance in the nine-year history of the championship, having won three times.

MacDonald's free-position goal in the non-sudden-death overtime period capped a wild affair that saw Eastern rally from a three-goal deficit early in the second half to take a two-goal lead, and Plymouth State come storming back with two goals in the final two minutes of regulation, including a tying goal with just 32 seconds left on the clock, that forced the overtime.

After shooting 20 percent on free-position shots last year, MacDonald has converted 50 percent of her 18 tries this season.

The win was Eastern's fifth in the last six outings and snapped Plymouth's six-game winning streak. Plymouth holds a 4-3 edge over Eastern in LEC playoff games, with all but one of the seven decided by four or less goals and two being settled in overtime.

Eastern defeated Plymouth State 17-10 during the regular season and had to rally with eight consecutive goals to fend off Southern Maine, 17-16, April 24 at Mansfield.  
      
 Sophomore midfielder Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) led Eastern with five goals on the day, while MacDonald finished with a goal and three assists and a team-high five ground balls.  Prizio has scored 12 of her team-high 44 goals against Plymouth this year, having fired in a career-high seven during the regular-season victory over the Panthers.

Senior attack Katie Beers (Trumbull) chipped in with two goals for the Warriors, and sophomore defender Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) anchored the defense with three caused turnovers and four ground balls.

Sophomore Brianna Davis  led the Panther offense with four goals and one assist. She scored her fourth goal with two minutes left in regulation to cut the deficit to one goal, and she set up the game-tying goal by sophomore Jenn Foley with 32 seconds left. Senior Kalie Judd  scored two goals and one assist while adding five draw controls and three ground balls.  Foley and senior Kerry D'Ambroise also scored twice for the Panthers.

After the teams traded goals through the first 20 minutes, Plymouth  started to pull away when Davis and D'Ambroise scored the first two goals of the second half, but the Warriors were not going away easily.  Prizio notched her third of the game just 21 seconds after PSU had taken a three-goal lead (7-4), and Eastern tacked on the next four goals, one apiece by freshman midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and senior Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) and two more by Prizio, to give the Warriors a two-goal advantage (9-7) with 14 minutes to go.

This time it was Plymouth State that wasn't going down easily.  Judd scored her second of the game with 10 minutes on the clock to make it 9-8, but junior midfielder Ashley Del Vecchio (Farifield) restored Eastern's two-goal lead (10-8) with 6:48 on the clock.  The Panthers were a determined group and forced overtime thanks to Davis' goal with 2:02 remaining and Foley's tying goal with 32 seconds on the clock.

Both teams had several chances in both overtime periods but MacDonald, two-time LEC Defensive Player of the Year and 2008 playoff MVP, was the only one to score to win it for the Warriors.

The Warriors shared the LEC regular season title with Plymouth State and Keene State, all with 5-1 conference records, but was relegated to the No. 3 seed due to tiebreakers. The Warriors have won seven straight conference games this year after opening the season with a 20-14 loss at pre-season favorite Keene State.

Plymouth State Sports Information contributed to this game account

 

SOFTBALL: EASTERN ONE WIN AWAY

Tournament Central

Western solves Rathbun, but can't take down unbeaten Warriors in LEC

silva_raw_5693.jpgKEENE,NH - Sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) may be a central figure in the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team's bid for its first Little East Conference tournament championship, but the team's success revolves around speed and defense. And if conference opponents thought that the Warriors were indeed a one-man band, they found out differently Friday afternoon.

At lefft: Kassondra Silva
 
In the winners' bracket final against third-seeded Western Connecticut State University, freshman third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) hit a three-run home run in the top of the first inning to ignite Eastern's nine-run explosion in the first two innings as the top-seeded Warriors moved to within a win of their first LEC championship with a 10-5 victory over the Colonials  at the Keene Athletic Complex.

In the team's first game of the day, Rathbun hurled her first collegiate no-hitter as the Warriors mercy-ruled four-time defending tournament champion Rhode Island College, 10-0, for the second time in six days.

Now 20-1-1 in its last 22 games, No. 11 nationally-ranked Eastern (31-4-1) is the only remaining unbeaten team in the original field of six in the double-elimination tournament. Western (21-17) faces second-seeded Keene State College (25-13-1) Saturday at noon. The winner of that game needs two wins later that day over Eastern to win the title and gain the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. Eastern has qualified for the NCAA tournament each of the last two years on an at-large basis.

Western became the first team this year to knock Rathbun out of the game - hitting two home runs in a stunning five-run, third-inning uprising - but the Colonials were unable to knock the Warriors out of the winners' bracket.

Eastern played flawless defense for the third straight game in the tournament,  utilized its remarkable team speed to reach safely six times in the game on either infield hits or bunt singles, and got 2 1/3 innings of shutdown relief pitching from first-year sophomore Kassondra Silva (Hamden) that stemmed the tide and allowed the Warriors to regroup for its third win over Western this year without a loss.cooper_raw_5554.jpg

Rathbun failed to complete a start for first time in 20 starts this season, but tied the program season record for wins with her 22nd victory against a single loss and managed to extend her program record with her 19th straight pitching win. Rathbun also broke the career strikeout record of 429 with the third of her seven on the afternoon, needing less than half the number of innings to overtake former recordholder and national Player-of-the-Year Christia Mohan.

At right: Arielle Cooper

With Eastern seemingly on cruise-control with Rathbun in command of an early 9-0 advantage, the All-America was knocked out of the game when Western struck for five runs in the third - getting a two-run home run from Danielle Basciano and a three-run shot from Anna Levesque - only the fourth and fifth home runs allowed this season by Rathbun. After Silva pitched 2 1/3 solid innings, Rathbun returned to close out the win, recording the final six outs after Western put its first two runners aboard in the sixth. Silva, who has evolved into the staff's No. 2 pitcher, held Western scoreless on five hits while fanning one and walking two (one intentional).

While Western rallied  after being down nine after two innings, the Colonials never brought the tying run to the plate and stranded eight runs from the third through sixth innings. And in an effort to match Eastern's "small-ball" attack, the Colonials ran themselves out of potentially- big inning in the fourth when Basciano was gunned down by Eastern senior first baseman Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) trying to go from first to third on an infield ground ball. That baserunning blunder took the wind out of the sails of Western, which couldn't capitalize on two infield singles in that fourth inning that would  have further eroded Eastern's once comfortable cushion.

The first three Eastern batters reached on infield singles or bunts to spark the Warriors' six-run second inning, and Western did its  part with two errors. Sophomore leadoff hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) drove in the first two runs with a single past first baseman Katelyn Farrell, and O'Toole drove in the final two runs of the inning with a two-out single to center.

In addition to her three-run home run - her fifth HR of the season - Cooper walked and scored in the second and sixth, and reached on a bunt single in the fourth, extending her current hitting streak to 13.

While seeing its ace roughed up for the first time this season, Eastern also overcame tough luck to score ten runs for the second straight game. Facing three different pitchers (Brittany Connors returned in relief after getting the hook after only one inning), the Warriors lined out no less than five times in the game, with the Colonials turning two of the smashes into double plays.

The win was the 199th in the nine-year coaching career of Eastern head coach Diana Pepin, who has already led this year's team to its winningest season in 16 years.

 

SOFTBALL: EASTERN ROUTS RIC, 10-0

Rathbun's first career no-hitter eliminates four-time defending champions 

rathbun72pdi_3724.jpgKEENE, NH -- Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) struck out ten of the 16 batters she faced, recording her first collegiate no-hitter in a 10-0, 5 inning victory over four-time defending Little East Conference tournament champion Rhode Island College in the second round of the 2010 LEC softball tournament, hosted by Keene State College.

Now 2-0 in the six-team double-elimination tournament, top-seeded Eastern (30-4-1) plays again at 4 p.m. against the winner of a noon game between  No. 3 Western Connecticut and No. 5 University of Southern Maine. Those two teams will be the only remaining undefeated teams in the tournament. The tournament championship round gets underway Saturday at 10 a.m.

The win is the 18th straight for Rathbun (21-1), who brought ten one-hitters into action. Ranked No. 1 in New England and No. 11 nationally, the Warriors are 19-1-1 in their last 21 games and 22-2-1 up north. Rhode Island (24-13) was eliminated in two games after winning the last four LEC tournaments.

Rathbun struck out the first six batters she faced and the last three and did not walk a batter in facing just one batter over the minimum. She allowed only one ball out of the infield. The closest thing to a hit came with two out in the fourth, when Eastern freshman second basman Kelly Paterson (Southington) ranged to her left to field a ground ball in the first base-second base hole and throw out cleanup hitter Chelsi Panarelli by a step.

Leading 1-0, Eastern broke the game open by batting around in the third and scoring seven runs on five hits and two Rhode Island errors. Eastern's first eight runs were unearned due to four Rhode Island infield errors.

Rathbun, sophomore DP Kassondra Silva (Hamden) and senior shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) all drove in two runs and sophomore rightfiielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) and senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) both scored two runs at the top of the order.

Rathbun moved to within two wins of setting a season record for pitching wins and within three strikeouts of breaking the career record of 429, set by Christia Mohan in 621 innings. Rathbun is 37-8 in her career in 301 2/3 innings. She has allowed only one (earned) run in her last 45 innings.

EASTERN M-LACROSSE OUSTS PESKY WESTERN, ADVANCES TO FINAL

Tournament Central

Warriors never trail against Colonials but need to produce in final minutes

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MANSFIELD, Conn. - The second-seeded Eastern  Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team moved into the championship game of the Little East Conference playoffs for
the ninth time in the ten-year history of the playoffs, downing No. 3 Western Connecticut State University for the tenth time in ten meetings in this series, 13-11.

Defending champion Eastern, a winner of six championships, visits No. 1 Keene State College 11-4) Saturday at 5 p.m. (note time change from 5 p.m. to 1 p.m. back to 5 p.m.)  The Owls will be making their seventh trip to the final in the past eight years after routing fourth-seeded Plymouth State University, 16-4, earlier Thursday. The Owls have won two titles, both at home over Eastern.

The teams will be meeting for the seventh time in the last eight years in the final, the Warriors having won four times. The home team has won every time in the final. Eastern, which has won its last five LEC games, lost 17-11 at Keene April 16.

Eastern never trailed against Western (7-10) , outshooting the Colonials 29-14 in moving out to a 9-5 halftime lead.Trailing 12-10, Western got  a man-up goal (its only one of the game) by leading scorer Sean Macey to cut the deficit to one and later had possession with a chance to tie after forcing an Eastern turnover. However, Eastern freshman goalie Donald Berube (Tewksbury, MA) made a save on a shot by Andrew Bascom, Eastern senior midfielder Maxim Fantl (West Hartford) picked up the losse ball and buried a critical unassisted goal with 3:16 left to make it 13-11.

"We talked all week about the importance of getting out of the gate quickly and having a good first quarter, which is vital to our success. We did jump out to a great lead, and now we've got to work on playing with a lead, rather than playing from behind," commented third-year Eastern head coach Justin Axel during a post-game interview with internet broadcaster Steve Piro.

"We didn't quite capitalize on lot of opportunities that we had throughout the game that could have blown the game open, but I'll give a lot of credit to Western, they hung tough the entire game, and kept clawing back. It was an excellent effort on their part."

With Western playing a man down, Mike Schoen hit the post with 2: 16 left and Berube came up with his 11th and final save on a bid by Ryan Gillis and the Warriors were able to salt away the win without allowing another shot.

Eastern junior faceoff specialist Eric Vasil (Southington) won 22 of 27 faceoffs and picked up 17 ground balls.  In two wins this season over Western (in the last three games), Vasil won 44 of 51 confrontations at the X.

Andrew Barbieri of Western led his team with five goals on five shots but Sean Macey and Adam Lanehart - ranked first and third on the team in scoring, were limited to only three goals and two assists.

 

EASTERN BASEBALL GAMBLES, LOSES REGIONAL BATTLE BY 7-3

With critical LEC twinbill Saturday, Warriors start ace Musson in loss

NORTON, Mass. -- - In a match-up of nationally-ranked teams, Wheaton College senior Nick WARRIORlogo2009_72dpi.jpgKostaras carried a one-hit shutout against Eastern Connecticut State University into the seventh inning, as he and four relievers bottled up one of the nation's top offenses during a 7-3 win on Thursday in Sidell Stadium.
 
In their final home game of the year, the 30th-ranked Lyons improved to 31-8 while giving head coach Eric Podbelski his 399th career win. The 16th-ranked Warriors (26-11) had beaten Wheaton the previous two times the programs had met as Wheaton moved to 4-0 at home in the all-time series. Eastern is ranked fourth in New England, Wheaton second.

Usually saving senior ace Will Musson (Wethersfield) to pitch the first game of weekend Little East Conference doubleheaders, Eastern went with Musson (4-1) against the Lyons. Already owning key non-conference pitching victories over New England contenders Trinity College and Tufts University this year, Musson was chased in the sixth inning Thursday after surrendering ten hits and six runs (five earned), losing for only the second time in 15 career decisions at Eastern.

Tied for first in the conference with Keene State College, Eastern visits defending regular-season LEC champion University of Southern Maine in the regular-season finale, hoping to nail down the regular-season title and No. 1 tournament seed. Junior Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) and senior Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) will likely get the nod as the starting pitchers.

Thursday, Wheaton scored three times in the second and led 7-0 before the Warriors pushed across a run in the seventh added two more in the eighth.

Kostaras (5-1) allowing one run on two hits in six-plus innings, striking out one. He limited an offense that entered the week third in Division III in runs per game and averaged 13.4 hits. Sophomore Hal Landers went 3-for-4 with two RBI, as every starter had at least one hit. Freshman Sean Ryan had two hits and two runs, classmate Eric Jensen provided two hits, and junior Hadi Raad scored twice. 

Juniors Andrew Dewing (Swampscott, MA) and Robert Perry (Manchester) each turned in one hit and an RBI for the Warriors, while senior Travis Bass (West Hartford) stole a pair of bases.

The hosts pushed three runs across in the second inning, with the first scoring on a wild pitch before Landers stroked a two-run single into right field. Wheaton added to its lead in the fifth, with junior Sean Munley lofting a sacrifice fly.

In the sixth, the Lyons  plated another three runs for a 7-0 advantage. Ryan beat out a potential inning-ending double-play ball for an RBI, senior Paul Malaguti followed with a two-out triple, and sophomore Dan Haugh added an RBI knock. 

Through the first six innings, Kostaras yielded only one hit, getting 13 of his 18 outs via ground balls while pitching around three infield errors. However, Eastern put its first three runners on in the seventh, with Perry picking up his team's first hit since the second inning when he lined an RBI single into left field, chasing the senior righty and getting the bullpen involved. 

Freshman Justin Santiago entered the game with two on and no one out but retired three of the four batters he faced, fanning two without allowing the Warriors to get closer than 7-1. The visitors got two more runs in the eighth with a pair of productive at bats, as a groundout plated the first run before Dewing hit a sac fly, but they came no closer. Freshman Jordan Wylie got the first two outs in the eighth before senior Jon Shepard recorded the final four outs, including the last two of the game on strikes. 

The Warriors shared the LEC regular season title with Plymouth State and Keene State, all with 5-1 conference records, but was relegated to the No. 3 seed due to tiebreakers. The Warriors have won seven straight conference games this year after opening the season with a 20-14 loss at pre-season favorite Keene State

Wheaton College Sports Information contributed to this game account..

 

RATHBUN PITCHES, HITS EASTERN SOFTBALL TO LEC TOURNEY WIN

Tournament Central

In opener, All-America fires one-hitter with 13 Ks and belts two-run HR

rathbun72bow_3804.jpgKEENE, NH --  Sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) pitched a complete-game one-hitter with 13 strikeouts and no walks and drove in two runs with a home run to lift the top-seeded and No. 11 nationally-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University softball team to a 3-0 win over sixth-seeded Plymouth State University Thursday morning in the opening game of the 2010 Little East Conference Softball Tournament at the Owl Athletic Complex.

At left: Molly Rathbun

Now 18-1-1 in its last 20 games and a winnerof seven straight, Eastern (29-4-1) advances in the winners' bracket of the six-team tournament Friday at 10 a.m. to face No. 4 seed Rhode Island College, which was beaten by No. 3 Western Connecticut, 4-1 later Thursday. Rhode Island, which needs a win to remain alive, has eliminated Eastern from the tournament each of the past three seasons. The Warriors shut out Rhode Island twice this past Saturday.to clinch the regular-season title

 Rhode Island is the four-time defending tournament champion while Eastern is chasing its first title in the 13-year history of the tournament.

Rathbun (20-1) extended her program record for consecutive wins to 17 with her second win in as many decisions this year over Plymouth (13-21), facing only one batter over the minimum of 22. She set down the first 11 batters she faced and the last ten. In between, No. 3 hitter Allie Luisi hit a program-record 13th double  with two out in the fourth as the only Panther to reach base.

Eastern scored the only run Rathbun would need after there were two out and none on the second on back-to-back  doubles by the last two hitters in the order -- freshman Kelly Paterson (Southington)  and sophomore leftfielder Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA). Rathbun made it 3-0 with two out in the fifth on her team-leading eighth home run of the season, scoring Manzo, who had led off with a single up the middle. The home run was the sixth in the last 11 games for Rathbun.

Rathbun had three of Eastern's nine hits and Manzo two. Rathbun was 3-for-3 to raise her team-leading batting average 20 percentage points to .418. In three wins this season over Plymouth, Rathbun has thrown two shutouts in two starts with 21 strikeouts and no walks, allowing  four hits in 12 innings. Offensively against Plymouth, she is 6-for-8 with five RBI.

Paterson_72_3905.jpgThe conference tournament win was the first after two losses a year ago for Rathbun, who suffered shin splints over the final weeks of last year that made her 0-4 in conference and NCAA tournament play as a freshman. The victory for Eastern ended a streak of four straight conference losses for the Warriors, who lost two straight in 2008 after winning their first two and dropping both of their decisions a year ago.

At left: Kelly Paterson

Rathbun reached 200 strikeouts for the second time in as many years, moving to within 13 of a program record for career strikeouts. Rathbun has pitched 296 2/3 career innings. Current strikeout leader Christia Mohan pitched 621 in her four-year career.

Eastern's recent surge has allowed it to move up eight spots in the this week's NFCA Division III national poll The Warriors are tied for 11th with Christopher Newport University. Rathbun's only loss this season was an eight-inning 2-0 setback to No. 13 DePauw University (32-5) March 24. Both DePauw runs were unearned.

Eastern need one victory to reach the 30-win plateau for the first time since finishing 32-15 in 1994.
 

 

EASTERN BASEBALL CAN'T SOLVE ROGER WILLIAMS FRESHMAN

On Seniors' Night, Warriors manage only three hits in 5-2 setback

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wojick raw_9151.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. -- Freshman lefty Ben O'Shea pitched a three-hit shutout  through seven innings and senior righty Billy Dunn earned his fifth save when he left the potential tying run at bat as Roger Williams University spoiled Seniors' Night with a 5-2 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University in a non-conference baseball game Tuesday night at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Above: Chris Wojick

O'Shea fanned 12 batters and walked only one and gave up only two singles and a double as Roger Williams (12-23) survived five errors to defeat No. 16 nationally-ranked Eastern (26-10) for the first time in this seven-game series in the Warriors' final regular-season home contest of the season.

Sophomore leadoff hitter Tim Georgen reached safely three times witih a single, double and walk, scored two runs and drove in one for Roger Williams, with freshman No. 2 hitter John Oppenhimer doubling home two runs in the third to help the Hawks build a 5-0 lead through four innings.

The Warriors scored two unearned runs in the eighth - one coming in on senior chris Thomson's sacrifice fly, the Eastern left a runner on the eighth and  Dunn got a game-ending ground ball to strand two runners aboard in the Eastern ninth.

Eastern first-year sophomore righty Mitch Furber (Montville) lasted 2 2/3 innings in his fourth start of the season, allowing four hits before being replaced by Wojick while the Hawks were scoring three runs. Wojick gave up only two hits and one run with seven strikeouts and no walks in 4 1/3 innings. In his last eight appearances, Wojick is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA over 15.0 innings. He has fanned 16 and walked only two in that stretch.

Eastern's ten seniors - the largest senior class in program history - were honored before the game. Six of the seniors saw action: second baseman John Parke (Middlefield), shortstop Travis Bass (West Hartford), third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury), leftfielder Chris Thomson (Montville) and relief pitchers Chris Wojick (Uncasville) and Wes Dutton (Waterbury). Starting pitchers Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI) and Will Musson (Wethersfield), spot-starter and reliever Mike Tingley (Rockville), and utility player Andrew Smiley (North Kingstown, RI) did not appear in the game.

Eastern visits No. 30 nationally-ranked Wheaton College Thursday at 3:30 in a non-conference single game and closes out the regular season at the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference noon doubleheader. The Huskies won last year's LEC regular season and the Warriors captured the conference tournament on their home field.

 

No. 3 Warriors score first 11 goals and coast past No. 6 UMass Dartmouth

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Tournament Bracket.pdf

Tournament Central

MANSFIELD, Conn. - The third-seeded Eastern LEClogo-1WEB.jpgConnecticut State University women's lacrosse team scored the first 11 goals of the match to post its sixth straight victory against Little East Conference opponents with a 20-5 win over sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Tuesday in the first round of the LEC playoffs at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At left: Katie Beers (Stephen Goomrigian photo)

Eastern (8-9) faces second-seeded Plymouth State University (10-4), which drew a first-round playoff bye. The Warriors have captured their last six games against conference opponents since opening the season with a 20-14 loss at defending playoff champion Keene State College.

The Warriors scored the first 11 goals of the match Tuesday, with freshman Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and junior Ashley Del Vecchio (Fairfield) both finishing with four goals. Senior Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) had four assists and won 17 of 27 faceoffs. Seniors Katie Beers (Trumbull) and Courtney Bedocs (Hamden) both delivered three assists, as 13 of the teams goals were assisted. Sophomore Megan Barrett (Setauket, NY) had six ground balls and Beers four.

Eastern has eliminated UMass (4-10) from the LEC playoffs in each of the last three seasons by a combined margin of  56-8.

Eastern, Plymouth and Keene State all finished with identical 5-1 conference records and shared the regular-season LEC title. Keene gained the No. 1 seed on tie-breakers, Plymouth taking second and Eastern third. Keene and Plymouth earned first-round byes.

Eastern and Plymouth have met in the playoff title game five times in eight years, with the Warriors winning the last two after Plymouth captured the first three. Keene defeated top seed Eastern in overtime last year to claim its first LEC playoff title.

The Warriors downed Plymouth, 17-10 when the teams met in the regular season April 10 at Mansfield.  Eastern freshman goalie Nancy Ibrahim (Lindenhurst, NY) made nine saves in that game and first-year sophomore transfer Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) scored a career-high seven goals. Eastern never trailed after the opening goal, scoring five in a row to move out to a four-goal lead 12 minutes into play.

 

FOUR FROM EASTERN RECEIVE LITTLE EAST WEEKLY AWARDS

Rathbun, Cooper, Vasil, Berube cited for play during week ending May 2

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Berube_4818.JPGNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. --  Four members of the Eastern Connecticut State University spring athletic teams have been recognized with weekly honors by the Little East Conference for the week ending May 2.

At left: Donald Berube

In softball, sophomore All-America righty Molly Rathbun  (Hebron) received a weekly honor for the fifth time in the last six weeks as this week's Pitcher-of-the-Week, and freshman third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) was selected for her first weekly honor when she was named Rookie-of-the Week. Prior to this week, Rathbun was named Pitcher-of-the-Week four times and Player-of-the-Week once.

In men's lacrosse, junior faceoff specialist Eric Vasil (Southington) and freshman goalie Donald Berube (Tewksbury, MA) repeated as Defensive Player-of-the-Week and Rookie-of-the-Week, respectively. It was the third such weekly award for Vasil this year and fourth weekly award for Berube, who was named Rookie-of-the-Week for the third time in five weeks after being selected Goalie-of-the-Week March 15.

The softball team is the No.1 seed in the Little East Conference tournament, which runs from Thursday through Saturday at Keene, NH. The men's lacrosse team is seeded second in the LEC playoffs and earned a bye through the opening round and will host a semifinal-round match Thursday at 7 p.m. against either third-seeded Western Connecticut or sixth-seeded Salem State College.

In the softball team's 6-0 week, Rathburn was 3-0 with a save and a 0.30 ERA, 32 strikeouts 9.7 per 7 innings) and five walks in 23.0 innings and limited opponents to a .145 batting average.  She threw a complete-game two-hit shutout against Trinity College and a complete-game six-hit shutout against five-time defending Little East Conference regular-season champion Rhode Island College, the win over Rhode Island clinching the program's first-ever outright LEC regular-season title. She also saved the second-game win over Rhode Island. Against UMass Dartmouth Sunday, she threw a complete-game two-hitter with 12 strikeouts  to set a program record with her 16th straight pitching win. Against the Corsairs, she also reached 400 career strikeouts, becoming the third pitcher in program history to achieve the feat.

cooper_72_5480.jpgOn the season, Rathbun is 19-1 with a 0.59 ERA, 198 strikeouts (10.6 per game) and 33 walks in 130 1/3 innings, with opponents batting .128 against her. Starting the week, she was ranked among the national top five in strikeouts per game, ERA and least hits allowed per game

At left: Arielle Cooper.

Cooper extended her hitting streak to ten games last week. One of two freshman starting infielders  on the team, Cooper batted .474 (9-for-19) with three home runs (in consecutive games), a double, six  runs batted in and 19 total bases. In a pair of conference sweeps over Rhode Island College and UMass

Dartmouth on the week, Cooper went 7-for-13 from the plate with a double and home run. She recorded a pair of extra base hits against Rhode Island College in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday. Since batting .178 through the first 16 games of her career, Cooper is batting .457 through her last 17 to up her current average to .319 - her highest average since the second game of the year.

Rathbun and Cooper have helped Eastern to a final regular-season record of 28-4-1 - the best regular-season winning percentage in program history and the most regular-season wins since 1994.  The team's 13-1 conference record is also its most conference regular-season wins ever.

Vasil dominated the X--winning 84.1 percent (37-for-44) of his faceoffs--to help the men's lacrosse team record a pair of Little East wins this past week. Vasil was instrumental in the come-from-behind win over Western Connecticut, winning 22 of his 24 faceoffs and scooping up 17 ground balls. Later in the week, Vasil was 15-for-20 from the X at Salem State College. He also contributed to the offensive rush with five points. Vasil entered the week ranked first nationally in ground balls per game and second in faceoff winning percentage. His current faceoff percentage is .756 and he is averaging 13.6 ground balls per game.

Berube backstopped Eastern to a pair of conference wins to help the Warriors capture the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Little East tournament. Having started 14 of the team's 15 matches, Berbue registered 14 saves in a comeback win over Western Connecticut and eight more at Salem State.  Berube finished the week with a .629 save percentage and 6.50 goals-against average. On the year, he is 10-3 with a 10.38 goals-against average and .534 save percentage. The Warriors won their final six regular-season conference matches and as now 58-3 in ten years of regular-season conference competition.


 

EASTERN SOFTBALL WRAPS MOST SUCCESSFUL REGULAR SEASON

 Warriors' winning percentage of .864 best in program's 34-year history

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Tournament bracket.pdf

Tournament Central

STORRS, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball team concluded its winningest Little East Conference and most successful regular season in program history with a 3-1, 5-0 sweep of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Sunday afternoon at the University of Connecticut softball complex.

Above: Katie Sokoloski

Prior to the doubleheader, Eastern (28-4-1, 13-1 little east) was already assured of its first outright conference championship in 15 years of  LEC competition and its second No. 1 tournament seeding in the last three years. The sweep wraps up the program's winningest LEC regular season, with the team winning one more game than in 2008.

The final .864 winning percentage is the highest in the regular season in the program's 34-year history and the win total is its highest in regular-season play since the 1994 club won 31 games prior to the NCAA tournament.

The six-team, double-elimination Little East  Conference tournament is scheduled for this Thursday through Saturday at second-seeded Keene State College. Eastern is unable to host the tournament as the No. 1 seed because it is temporarily without a home facility.

The Warriors open the tournament in the first of four games on the first day, facing No. 6 seed Plymouth State University at 10 a.m.  They will have the rest of the day off if they win their opener and will play Friday at 10 a.m. against the loser of Thursday's game between fourth-seeded Rhode Island College and third-seeded Western Connecticut. A first game loss will drop the Warriors into an elimination game later Thursday at 4 p.m. againt the loser of a game between No. 5 University of Southern Maine and No. 2 Keene State College.

Against UMass Dartmouth (7-22, 0-14 lilttle east) in the first game, sophomore All-America righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron) broke the program record with her 16th consecutive pitching victory and became the third pitcher in program history with as many a 400 strikeouts.  Rathbun (19-1) owned a no-hitter until losing pitcher Brittany Eldridge socked a leadoff home run in the fifth that sliced Eastern's 2-0 lead in half. The run was the first allowed by Rathbun in eight games and 34 1/3 innings.

In the second game, first-year sophomore righty Kassondra Silva (Hamden) recorded her first complete game and shutout in five starts. She scattered three hits without walking a batter. She struck out a career-high seven and didn't walk a batter for the first time in 13 appearances this year.

In the first game, senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) gave Eastern a 2-0 lead with a two-run home run to left. Sullivan plated sophomore rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford), who was hit by a pitch. After allowing only her third home run of the season in the top of the fifth to Eldridge, Rathbun returned the favor be belting a solo  leading off the bottom of the fifth - her team-leading seventh.

In the second game, Sullivan had three more hits --  including a triple - and freshman DP Katie Sokoloski (Eastford) had her first two collegiate hits and first three RBIs in her first career start. Batting eighth, Sokoloski drove in the first run of the game with a two-out double. She walked in the fourth and made it 5-0 in the fifth with a two-out, two-run single.

rathbun72_7663.jpgFreshman third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) and Sullivan extended hitting streaks in the doubleheader. Cooper has hit safely in ten in a row and Sullivan seven.

At left: Molly Rathbun (Stephen Goomrigian photo)

In the doubleheader, Sullivan had five hits  and ten total bases. She scored twice and drove in two runs. Cooper had four hits and Sokoloski, senior first baseman Katie O'Toole (Waterbury) and Silva two each.

UMass Dartmouth was limited to five hits iin the doubleheader and received only one walk from Rathbun and Silva. In addition to pitching two complete games, Eldrdge (4-14) had two hits, including a double and home run. Sophomore first baseman Kaitlin Hogan and sophomore catcher Hannah Rounds collected the team's other extra-base hits with doubles.

Needing two strikeouts to reach 200 in a season for the second straight year, Rathbun is ranked third all-time with 404 strikeouts. She needs 26 to break 1990 national Player-of-the-Year and Eastern Hall of Famer Christia Mohan's  program record of 429. Mohan set the record in 621 innings. Rathbun has pitched 289 2/3 innings thus far, having won 35 of 43 decisions with a 0.70 ERA. Rathbun's only loss this season came against DePauw Universtiy March 24 in Clermont, FL, a 2-0, eight-inning decision. She did not allow an earned run in that game.


 

M-LAX: EASTERN CLOSES OUT VIKES

Their LEC playoff status determined, Warriors subdue Salem in finale

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Tournament Central

Playoff bracket.pdf .pdf

SALEM, Mass. -- Already assured of the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the upcoming Little East Conference men's lacrosse playoffs, Eastern Connecticut State University closed out the regular season with its sixth straight conference victory -- a 10-7 decision over Salem State College Saturday night.

While the outcome was noteiceably closer than any of the previous eight meetings between the programs -- Eastern outscoring the Vikings by a 10-to-1 margin in those matches --  it was never seriously in doubt after Eastern (11-4, 6-1 little east) limited Salem  (9-7, 3-4 little east) to one first-half goal and were in command of a 9-4 lead with 15 minutes left in the match.

The Warriors begin their chase for a seventh LEC playoff title in ten years -- second straight -- when they host a playoff semifinal-round match Thursday at 7 p.m. Eastern awaits the outcome of a Tuesday first-round match between sixth-seeded Salem and third-seeded Western Connecticut (6-9, 4-3 little east). Top-seeded Keene (10-5, 7-0 little east) will host the other Thursday semifinal against either fifth-seeded Massachusetts Dartmouth (7-9, 3-4 little east) or fourth-seeded PlymouthState University (7-7, 4-3 little east). The highest remaining seed will host the Saturday championship game.

Eastern is unbeaten all-time against both Salem and Western, but struggled early in a 14-6 victory over the Colonials in the regular-season meeting last Tuesday at Mansfield.

Against Keene, junior midfielder Eric Vasil (Southington) won 15 of 20 faceoffs and freshman goalie Donald Berube (Tewksbury, MA) made eight saves.

W-LAX: EASTERN MAKES IT OFFICIAL

Warriors share Little East Conference regular-season title with final win

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MANSFIELD, Conn. - The good news after Plymouth State University upset Little East Conference women's lacrosse leader Keene State College Thursday afternoon was that Eastern Connecticut State University would be virtually assured of sharing the regular-season conference title.

bedocs72_7615.jpgAt left: Courtney Bedocs (Stephen Goomrigian photoa)

The bad news was that Plymouth's win ultimately forced a three-way tie for first place in the final conference standings. Utilizing tie-breakers, Eastern was seeded third in this upcoming week's LEC playoffs, necessiting a first-round game for the first time since  the visiting Warriors knocked off host Western Connecticut State University to advance to the tournament semifinals in 2004.

Tuesday's  first-round playoff game will be the first ever at home for Eastern (7-9, 5-1 little east), which made its tri-championship official Saturday afternoon on Seniors' Day with a 26-2 thumping of a game but overmatched Rhode Island College team (3-10, 0-6 little east) in the conference and regular-season finale.

The have now had a piece of four straight regular-season titles, having gone undefeated from 2007 through 2009. Eastern is 47-7 all-time in eight years of regular-season LEC competition and captured playoff titles in 2005, 2007 and 2008. Eastern has reached the playoff finals every year except 2004, when it was eliminated by Plymouth State in the semifinals, 15-12, after defeating Western, 13-7, in the first round.

Unofficially, Eastern will host sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 4-9, 1-5 little east) Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the first round. Second-seeded Plymouth State (10-4, 5-1 little east) awaits the winner Thursday at Plymouth, NH in one semifinal match. Top-seeded Keene State College (12-4, 5-1 little east) will host the No. 4 Western Connecticut (10-5, 3-3 little east)-No. 5 University of Southern Maine (8-9, 2-4 little east) victor Thursday. The highest remaining seed will host Saturday's championship tilt.

Eastern won its eighth straight game against UMass in this series last Tuesday in a 17-2 victory at North Dartmouth, Mass. The Warriors are 16-3 all-time against the Corsairs and have eliminated UMD each of the last two years in the  conference semifinals at home by a combined 36-3 margin.

The Warriors also defeated Plymouth, 17-10, April 10 at Mansfield in the regular-season meetings between the teams. The Warriors had a 21-game conference regular-season winning streak broken by Keene in this year's LEC opener at Keene, NH, 20-14.

In Saturday's 26-2 win over Rhode Island, all five outgoing seniors contributed goals, and senior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) scored her 100th career goal. Senior attack Courtney Bedocs (Hamden) had five goals, senior attack Katie Beers (Trumbull)  four goals and four assists, senior attack Brooke Wayte (Bellport, NY) two goals and two assists, MacDonald two goals and an assist and senior midfielder Dana McLaughlin (West Hartford) two goals. MacDonald won 19 of 28 faceoffs and collected seven draws. Wayte won five draws and McLaughlin picked up four ground balls.

The Warriors ended their conference season with five straight wins after the opening loss to Keene State.

MacDonald and first-year sophomore midfielder Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) have both netted at least 50 points this year for the Warriors while Wayte has 46 points. MacDonald has a team-leading 55 ground balls, 63 draw controls and 20 caused turnovers and has won 103 faceoffs. Freshman midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) leads the Warriors with 14 free-position goals on 19 tries.

Freshman goalie Nancy Ibrahim (Lindenhurst, NY)  has played all but 13 minutes in net this year with a 13.54 goals-against average and .399 save percentage. She made six saves in 47 minutes Saturday while freshman Taylor Bidmead (Somers) saw action for the first time in her career Saturday, playing  the final 13 minutes without a save.

 

 

 

 

 

EASTERN BASEBALL TRADES ONE-RUN WINS WITH UMASS DARTMOUTH

Fontaine throws complete game as Warriors salvage split, 5-4

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Fontaine_725352.jpgNORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Senior righty Matt Fontaine (Cranston, RI)  threw his first complete game in more than two years - allowing only one earned run - as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team maintained a share of first place in the Little East Conference with a 5-4 victory over the University of Masschusetts Dartmouth Saturday afternoon in the second game of a doubleheader at the UMD Athletic Complex

Above: Matt Fontaine.

In the first game, UMass Dartmouth's (19-15, 7-5 little east) Matt Ryan hit a game-tying,  two-run home run with no one out in the bottom of the ninth inning after the first batter was hit by a pitch to force extra innings, and Anthony Fiorita ended the game with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning with an RBI single after going 0-for-5 in the game and failing to get the ball out of the infield in the hosts' 6-5 triumph. The UMass first-game win snapped Eastern's  (26-9, 8-4 little east) six-game winning streak.

With two games conference remaining, Keene State College pulled into a tie with Eastern atop the conference standings by sweeping defending regular-season champion University of Southern Maine, 12-10 and 12-6 at Keene, NH.  Next Saturday, Eastern visits Southern Maine and Keene hosts UMass Dartmouth in doubleheaders on the final day of the regular season. The regular-season champion hosts the  six-team LEC double-elimination tournament May 12-16.

Fontaine, now 16-4 in the career, scattered six hits while fanning six and walking three to gain his fifth win in six decisions this year and pitch his first complete game since shutting out Western Connecticut 5-0 April 5, 2008. Trailing 5-2, UMass scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth on one hit and two Eastern errors, but Fontaine stranded the tying run at third with an infield ground ball. Fontaine pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve his first complete game of the season.

Junior DH Tyler Turgeon (Norwich) hit his sixth homer of the year  in the first game and senior third baseman Melvin Castillo (Danbury) belted his seventh of the season in the second game for Eastern. Castillo's homer was his fifth in the last 12 games and extended his program record to 46. In the doubleheader, Turgeon had three hits - including a double - and scored four runs and  junior centerfielder Joe Cousineau (Newington),  sophomore catcher Steve Cammuso (Rutland, MA) , senior leftfielder Chris Thomson (Montville) and junior rightfielder Jim Schult (Wappingers Falls, NY) all had two. Batting ninth in the second game, Cammuso had a two-run single to give Eastern a 2-0 lead in the fifth and a sacrifice fly.Castilllo's home run was a two-run shot that made it 5-2 in the eighth.

Junior righty Chris Wojick (Uncasville) pitched 3 1/3 of four-hit scoreless relief  after taking over on the mound for Schult in the first game. Wojick retired the side in place of Schult after the first two batters reached in the fifth inning of a tied (3-3) game. Turgeon's two-run shot gave the Warriors a 5-3 lead which held up until the Corsairs tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on the two-run home run.

Eastern hosts Roger Williams University Tuesday at 7 p.m.

 

SOFTBALL: EASTERN LEC CHAMPION

Warriors shut out out five-time defending regular-season champs twice

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STORRS, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball team clinched its first outright Little East Conference  softball regular-season championship and the playoff's No. 1 seed with 9-0, 1-0 wins over five-time defending regular-season champion Rhode Island College Saturday afternoon at the University of Connecticut softball field The first game was stopped after six innings due to the eight-run rule

In 2008, Eastern had shared the regular-season title -- it's only regular-season title in the first 12 years of conference softball play -- after sweeping Rhode Island on the final day of the regular season.

In the opener, senior righty Molly Rathbun (Hebron) tied the program record for consecutive pitching wins (15) with a six-hit complete-game shutout - her ninth shutout and 15th complete game in 15 starts.  Ranked among the national top five in three pitching categories, Rathbun (18-1, 0.57) recorded the final six outs of the nightcap to earn her second save. She allowed a sixth-inning double  but got two pop-ups to end the inning and stranded the tying run on first in the seventh after issuing a two-out walk.

In the team's last ten wins, Rathbun has eight wins and a save. She has now pitched 30.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run.

Eastern scored the only run of the second game in the bottom of the first inning on sophomore pitcher Kassondra Silva's (Hamden) two-out RBI single which plated senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull)  from second. Sullivan had singled with one out and moved to second on a ground ball.

In the first game, sophomore leadoff hitter Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) and No. 2 hitter Sullivan combined for five of the team's 11 hits. Alicea doubled and scored three runs, Rathbun drove in two runs with a double in the sixth and freshman third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) hit a solo home run when Eastern scored five unearned runs in the first on three hits and two Rhode Island errors.

A first-year transfer from Division I Iona College Silva (1-0) gained her first career win in her fourth decision by pitching the first five innings of Game 2. Silva struck out three and walked three and gave up only a first-inning double. Silva stranded that runner on second and worked out of a jam in the third when Alicea turned a fly ball into an inning-ending double play when she threw out a runner at the plate.

Eastern closes out the regular season Sunday with a conference doubleheader against the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth at noon at the University of Connecticut.

For Warriors, freshmen Edwarsden and Simpson are two-time honorees

MEDFORD, Mass - Five  members of the Eastern Connecticut State University men's and women's track and field teams earned All-New England honors Saturday at the Division III Championships at Dussault Track on the campus of Tufts University.

Senior pole-vaulter Erika Barber (Portland) of the women's team achieved All-New England status for the second time in her career when she jumped a program-record 10-feet-8 inches for the second consecutive week to  finish in a tie for sixth in a field of 34.

Four members of the men's team gained All-New England recognition, three of them newcomers. Freshmen Tyler Edwardsen (Ledyard) and Corey Simpson (Norwich) each earned recognition in one individual event and on the 4x100 meter relay, while first-year junior Brian Lowe (Enfield) and sophomore Nick Pates (East Haven) achieved All-New England honors.

Edwardsen was fourth among 24 with a time of 15.29 in the 110 hurdles - just two hundredths of a second shy of his program record; and Simpson raced to a personal-best time of 11.00 in the finals and captured fifth in a field of 25 at 100 meters; Simpson, Pates, Edwardsen and Lowe combined for a time of 42.82 and a fifth-place finish in a field of 16 in the 4x100 relay.

For the women, senior Monica Mills (East Hartford) broke the program record in the 400 hurdles for the second straight week. After breaking the record  at last week's Little East Conference/New England Alliance Championships with a time of  1:08.18, Mills was timed in 1:08.04 Saturday to better her own program standard.

Freshman Cora Gingras (East Hampton) competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump for the women, with senior Sandra Brautigam (Scotland) running the 100 hurdles and sophomore Amanda Quinones (Trumbull) competing in the 3000 steeplechase. In addition, Brautigam, Mills, freshman Christine Charpentier (Monroe) and junior Roxanne Atterbury (Manchester) formed the 4x100 relay and Atterbury, junior Stephanie Noheimer (Willimantic), Charpentier and Mills combining on the 4x400 relay.

On the men's side, indoor recordholder Joshua Fitzpatrick (Beacon Falls) competed in the triple jump and long jump, junior Mike D'Elia (Windham) in the 400 hurdles, Lowe in the 100, Pates and freshman Tim Callahan (Portland) in the 400. Sophomore Casey McGarvey (Bozrah), D'Elia, Pates and Callahan also teamed on the 4x400 relay.

Having qualified for this weekend's New England Open at Solomon Track in Dedham, MA are Lowe and Siimpson in the 100, Edwardsen in the 110 hurdles, sophomore Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) in the javelin and the men's and owmen's 4x100 relay.