Behind Cooper, Warriors down Springfield College twice, 4-1, 4-0
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Eastern Connecticut State University softball team, ranked No. 4 nationally, ran its winning streak to 14 straight with 4-1, 4-0 wins over Springfield College Tuesday afternoon at Potter Field.
Eastern (15-1) equaled its fifth longest winning streak in program history by defeating Springfield (8-7) for the eighth and ninth consecutive times in this series.
Arielle Cooper (at right) has been a tough out at the head of the order.
Senior All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) struck out 11 and walked one without allowing an earned run in a route-going effort in the first game to gain her 11th win in 12 decisions this year. Junior Kassondra Silva (Hamden) improved her record to 4-0 by winning the second game with four innings of relief in place of junior starter Christine Akcer (Milford) to complete the staff's sixth shutout of the season. Both Silva and Akcer each allowed three hits and a walk and fanned one.
Junior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) had three of Eastern's 15 hits in the doubleheader, with senior outfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford), sophomore outfielders Stephanie Johnson (Southington) and Mattie Brett (Waterford) and Rathbun each chipping in two hits. Brett stole two bases, drove in two runs and scored three runs and Johnson knocked in two runs.
Cooper blasted her 17th career home run leading off the first game - the 100th hit of her career. Cooper also opened the second game with a single - the fifth straight game in which she has had a hit leading off the Eastern first inning when batting at the top of the order. She has now homered leading off the Eastern first in two of the last four games.
After Cooper homored leading off the first inning of the first game, No. 9 hitter Megan Godwin (Manchester) plated Brett (single) with a two-out single to make it 2-0 in the second, and Godwin came around to score on an error to make it 3-0.
Eastern scored three times in the first inning of the nightcap on a two-out single by Brett and a two-out, two-run single by Johnson. Brett sent in the fourth run with an RBI single after Rathbun doubled to lead off the fifth.
Eastern visits Keene State College Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Little East Conference doubleheader.