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Softball: Warriors Sweep RIC, 8-0, 7-2

They remain unbeaten in ten Little East Conference games

sb_seniors_day72pdi_0298.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior Molly Rathbun (Hebron) won her 19th straight pitching decision and extended her hitting streak to 18 and junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) extended her program-record hitting streak to 23 as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team remained undefeated in the Little East Conference with its 29th and 30th straight overall wins, 8-0 in six innings and 7-2 against Rhode Island College Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Softball Field.

Above: Recognized on Seniors' Day at the conclusion of the sweep Saturday were Priscilla Alicea, Rosie Manzo, Molly Rathbun, Jaymie Sommers, and Christine Yeomans. (Anthony Gennusa photo)

Ranked No. 3 nationally and No. 1 in New England, Eastern (31-1, 10-0 Little East), won the battle of undefeated LEC teams by defeating Rhode Island (15-12, 6-2 Little East) for the tenth time in the last 11 meetings between the programs. Eastern is 36-2 in its last 38 LEC regular-season games.

Rathbun (20-1) pitched a complete-game one-hitter in the opener with eight strikeouts and no walks in the first game, and retired all 15 batter that she faced to pick up the second-game win (the 90th of her career) in relief of junior starter Kassondra Silva (Hamden). Rathbun fanned11 in 11 innings on the day to move to within four of her 1,000th career strikeout.  She extended her consecutive inning streak without allowing an earned run to 42 2/3 innings, 9 1/3 shy of her program record. She has allowed earned runs in only three of 27 appearances this season.

andersonaward72dpi_0122.jpgRathbun extended her hitting streak with a two-run home run in the first game -- improving her career record to 25 -- and a third-inning double in the nightcap for her only hits of the day. Cooper  had two singles in the opener and contributed a two-run single in the second game to prolong her record hitting streak.

Above: During pre-game ceremonies, the Jeff Anderson Memorial Award was presented to the family of Eastern softball alumnus Suzanne "Suzy Warrior" Warner Stanton, who passed away in March from cancer.(Anthony Gennusa photo)

Senior rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) collected four hits on the afternoon (two doubles) and drove in two runs to move to within three of breaking the 20-year-old  program career record of 192.

Junior first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington) doubled and hit her first career home run while batting ninth in the order in the first game and finished with three hits on the day.

Junior first baseman Emily Johnson had Rhode Island's only hit of the first game - a two-strike opposite-field single down the right field line leading off the second inning.  Freshman leftfielder Taylor Nelson recorded two of her team's four hits in the second game, reaching on an infield hit and scoring in the third on junior second baseman Marisa Jandreau's single to tie the game 2-2.

The Warriors broke the 2-2 tie in the second game by scoring twice in the fourth and three times in the sixth. Cooper's two-out single made it 4-2 in the fourth and Paterson singled in the first run of the sixth and Alicea doubled in the final two.

Eastern hosts Western Connecticut State University Tuesday in a 5 p.m. Little East Conference doubleheader. A ceremony officially recognizing the new field will be staged before the first game.

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