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Softball: Freshmen Contribute in Sweep

Warriors run winning streak to 18th by dumping Trinity College, 5-0, 9-6

martin head 72dpi_2770.jpgmiller head 72dpi_2773.jpgMartin (far left), Miller

MANSFIELD, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University softball team won its 17th and 18th straight games Tuesday night with 5-0, 9-6 triumphs over Trinity College at the Eastern Softball Field.

Eastern's (19-1) winning streak is the second-longest in program history  behind the record 27-game streak set by the 1988 team which won its first  24 northern games and finished 35-7.

Senior right-hander Molly Rathbun (Hebron) won her 12th straight decision and 13th in 14 decisions this year with her fifth shutout of the season in the opener, then struck out two in the seventh inning of the nightcap for her third save to preserve the first collegiate win of freshman righty Erin Miller (Waterford). In the doubleheader, Rathbun fanned 13 in eight shutout innings and allowed five hits and one walk for Eastern, ranked No. 4 nationally.

In her third collegiate appearance, Miller relieved  junior starter Kassondra Silva (Hamden)  in the  third inning of the nightcap while Trinity (8-11) was scoring thre runs to cut a five-run deficit to two. Miller allowed four hits, three walks and three runs (one eanred) in 3 2/3 innings.

In the sweep which keeps Eastern unbeaten in six home games this year on its new facility, freshman Shannon Martin (Wethersfield) had three hits and knocked  in three runs in her first two career starts with a two-run single in the opener and a ground ball which plated one run in Eastern's three-run first inning in the second game. Junior Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) also had three hits, including a double and triple, scored three runs and drove in two.  Junior Arielle Cooper (Mystic)  had two hits, including a triple, and plated two runs and scored two. Freshman Jacqui Alvarado (Bay Shore, NY) , and sophomores Jen Tamindzija (Malden, MA) and Mattie Brett (Waterford) also contributed two hits and Miller plated two key runs with a single in the sixth inning  of the second game after the Bantams had pulled to within 7-6.

In addition to Miller, Alicea and Cooper both plated two runs in a second game where the Bantams twice cut into the Warriors' early five-run lead by scoring three times in the third and three times in the sixth.  In the second game, Alicea walked and scored in a three-run first inning,  drove in a run with a single in a two-run second, and tripled in a run and scored in a two-run fourth. Cooper tripled in the first two runs of the game and scored the third in the first inning of Game 2.

Abigail Ostrom and Kerry McCarthy each had four hits for Trinity, which has lost its last eight to Eastern. Christina Galese had three hits and scored twice.

Through games of Sunday, Rathbun ranked second nationally in ERA and least hits per game, and third in strikeouts per game and Cooper was rated ninth in home runs per game.

Eastern hosts Brandeis University Thursday at 4 p.m. in a doubleheader.

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