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Softball: Rathbun Near-Perfect Again

Her second tourney no-hitter leads Warriors to 11-0 victory in NCAAs

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Junior All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) threw her second no-hitter in as many days at the NCAA Division III Providence, R.I. Regional Softball Tournament Friday as  No. 1 seed Eastern Connecticut State University defeated No. 4 seed Rhode Island College, 11-0 in six innings at the Dayna A. Bazar Softball Facility.

At right: Molly Rathbun

With its second tournament win, Eastern (32-4) advances in the eight-team double-elimination tournament to play Saturday at 2 p.m. against No. 6 seed St. Joseph's College, ME (37-80), which defeated No. 2 seed U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 4-3, Friday..

The no-hitter is the third this year, third in two years of NCAA regional tournament play and sixth in the career of Rathbun (21-0), who has not allowed a hit in her last 15 2/3 innings. Thursday, the righty no-hit No. 8 seed Husson University, fanning 16 and walking two.

Against Little East Conference foe Rhode Island College (34-12), Rathbun allowed only one baserunner, facing one batter over the the minimum of 18. She fanned five without a walk. Rhode Island's Chelsi Panarelli reached on an infield error leading off the second inning for her team's only baserubut was erased on a double play when Rathbun snared a line drive and doubled Panarelli off first.

Eastern had 15 hits - all singles - against two Rhode Island pitchers.

Leading 1-0 after scoring in the top of the first on Rathbun's RBI single, Eastern scored five in the fifth and five in the sixth on ten hits and two Rhode Island errors. In those two innings, sophomore third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) and junior utility player Rosie Manzo (Hudson, MA) each drove in two runs, senior catcher Rachel Soychak (Mahopac, NY), freshman outfielder Stephanie Johnson (Southington), Rathbun, and junior infielder Christine Yeomans (Durham) each drove in one run.

The top four hitters in the lineup all scored two runs. Rathbun had three hits, two RBI and two runs, Cooper two hits, two runs and two RBI and Manzo drove in her two runs after entering the game as a replacement in center field. Freshman shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester) reached safely three times with two hits and a walk and scored two runs.