WESTFIELD, Mass. – Sixth-seeded Worcester State jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held of third-seeded Westfield State late, as the Lancers topped the Owls 7-3 in the opening round of the MASCAC softball tournament on Wednesday afternoon.
With the win, Worcester State (9-30) advances to the double-elimination portion of the tournament and will play at #2 seed Framingham State tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Westfield State is eliminated from the tournament and the Owls' season comes to a close with a 12-25 overall record.
The game got off to an unusual start, as Lancers leadoff hitter Samantha Stake hit a ground ball to short that Owls' shortstop Maddie Keigwin bobbled then fired to first for the apparent first out of the inning. After a challenge, the three-man umpiring crew conferred for several minutes and then overturned the first base umpire's call, giving Stake first base. Worcester's Kaulani Ennis then doubled with one out to to score Stake, and with two out, Rachel Frisch's single drove in Ennis for a 2-0 lead, with both runs unearned.
The Lancers tacked on three in the third, as consecutive singles from Katie Poliselli and Frisch set the table, with Poliselli scoring on a wild pitch before Sam Maglione drove in two with a single up the middle for a 5-0 Worcester State lead.
Westfield finally answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, as freshman Colleen Hughes led off with a line-drive home run to left field, the first of her career. Later in the inning Sarah Meunier, Bri Tortora and Maddie Keigwin delivered consecutive base hits to load the bases, then Kaitlyn Prophet drove in a pair of runners with a single to left field that trimmed the lead to 5-3, before Caitlin Hughes flew out to right to end the inning.
After a leadoff single from Karly Mastello in the bottom of the fifth, Worcester State starter Frisch (W, 6-8) settled back in and retired the final nine Owl hitters in order.
Frish finished 3-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored to help her own cause. Sarah Fahey added three hits for the Lancers.
Starter Emily Arredondo (L, 7-11) took the pitching loss for the Owls. Prophet and Meunier each had a pair of hits for Westfield State.