Rathbun doesn't allow a baserunner in 4-0 victory over No. 1 Tufts
WELLESLEY, Mass. - Sunday was a perfect day for Molly Rathbun (Hebron) and the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team.
And the summer-like weather was only a small part of the reason.
At left: Molly Rathbun unleashes the final pitch of her masterpiece Sunday against Tufts...
Against Tufts University -- the No.1-ranked team in New England -- Rathbun avenged her and the team's only loss of the year by firing only the second perfect game in program history, and drove in the first three runs with a home run and two-run double to lead the Warriors past the Jumbos, 4-0 at Wellesley College.
Eastern (25-1), ranked second in New England and third in Division III, won its 24th straight game (three behind the program record) later in the day with an 11-2, five-inning victory over Wellesley College.
Rathbun (16-1) won her 15th straight game by avenging her only loss of the season against Tufts (24-4), ranked 11th nationally and 20th in Division III with a team .352 batting average. Rathbun fired her first perfect game and eighth career no-hitter (second all-time in program history) by retiring all 21 batters in order. She fanned seven and allowed only two balls out of the infield, both off the bat of junior Emily Beinecke who flew out to sophomore centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford) to end the fourth and to senior rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) to end the game.
Rathbun needed only 76 pitches over an hour and 35 minutes to dispose of the Jumbos, who had beaten Rathbun and the Warriors, 4-2, on March 19 in Clermont, FL in Rathbun's first start of the season. Sunday, she did not throw as many as three balls to any batter, throwing only 17 in all.
Above Rightfielder Priscilla Alicea secures the final out of Molly Rathbun's perfect game.
On Saturday, Rathbun carried a perfect game into the seventh inning against UMass Boston before settling for a one-hit victory. Only one of Rathbun's last 50 batters have managed a hit.
Rathbun drove in the only run she would need with a two-out solo home run in the first inning - her first of the season and 24th of her career -- then made it 3-0 with a two-out, two-run double in the fifth. Sophomore shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester) drove in the final run with a two-out single in the sixth.
Against Wellesley (12-14), Eastern scored six times in the first inning to back the pitching of junior Kassondra Silva (Hamden), who won her eighth decision without a loss by limiting the Blue to four hits over four innings.
Godwin, Brett and junior first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington) all drove in two runs against Wellesley
Junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) had a one-out, RBI double in the third inning against Wellesley to extend her hitting streak to 17, one shy of the program record set 23 years ago by current assistant coach Tammy Schondelmayer. Rathbun singled in the first inning against Wellesley to stretch her hitting streak to 13.
Until Sunday, the only perfect game in the program's 36-year history was thrown by Julie Bacher against Rowan University on March 18, 1985 in a 3-0 Eastern win. Rathbun had faced the minimum 18 batters in an 11-0, six-inning win over Rhode Island College in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament, but had to settle for a no-hitter due to a leadoff infield error in the second inning. The next batter hit into a double play, started by Rathbun.
In two games against Eastern this year, Tufts has opted to hold back freshman pitching sensation Allyson Fournier, who brought an 11-0 record with a 0.50 ERA, 120 strikeouts and only 15 walks into Sunday's games..
Eastern hosts the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Tuesday in a 4 p.m. doubleheader. Rathbun and the Warriors had won the 2010 NCAA regional tournament at Wellesleyy with a 1-0 victory over Coast Guard.