DARTMOUTH, MA – The Western Connecticut State University softball team earned the final seed in the upcoming Little East Conference Postseason Championship Tournament following a doubleheader split at UMass-Dartmouth on Monday afternoon. The Colonials downed the Corsairs 5-0 in the opener to capture a playoff berth, while the Corsairs won the nightcap, 6-1, claiming the No. 1 seed when the tournament begins on Thursday.
The head-to-head tie for 6th between Keene State and WestConn was decided by the second tie-breaker, competition against the higher seeded teams beginning with the first place team in the final regular season standings continuing to the last place team. Keene State and WestConn were 1-1 in head-to-head competition. Western Connecticut was 1-1 vs. No. 1 UMass Dartmouth, while Keene State was 0-2 vs. No. 1 UMass Dartmouth. WestConn therefore won the tiebreak and earned the No. 6 Seed.
Junior Charline Plasczynski's (Bristol, Conn.) RBI single to left in the top of the third gave Western Connecticut the only run it would need in the opener, and senior Erica Bower (Hillsborough, N.J.) extended that edge to 2-0 in the sixth with a run-scoring single to right center.
Tenke broke things open for the Colonials in the seventh with a three-run double to center, and that would prove to be enough for Miller, who tossed four hitless innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts to collect her fifth triumph of the season.
Major and junior Nicole McSweeney (Bridgewater, Mass.) accounted for UMass Dartmouth's hits in the opening game setback, as sophomore Jill Richards (Kingston, Mass.) fanned five in going the distance inside the circle for the Corsairs to fall to 9-9 on the season.
WestConn (19-15, 7-9 LEC) had taken their one-run second inning lead on senior Nicole Bonanni's (Norwalk, Conn.) RBI single up the middle, which was one of four hits garnered in the second outing by the Colonials. Junior Sara Tenke (Glen Cove, N.Y.) added a double as well for the visitors, as junior Angelina Miller (Holbrook, N.Y.) suffered the setback inside the circle in allowing three earned runs in an inning-plus of action.
UMass Dartmouth will host the 2019 Little East Conference Championships beginning on Thursday at the UMD Softball Complex, as the Corsairs will tangle with No. 6 WestConn in opening round play at 10:00 am. Thursday's other opening round contests will pit second-seeded Plymouth State and fifth-seeded UMass Boston at Noon, followed by third-seeded Eastern Connecticut meeting fourth-seeded Southern Maine at 2:00 pm. The double elimination tournament continues throughout the weekend, with the winner receiving the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championships.
The Colonials wrap up the regular season slate in a non-league twinbill against Trinity on Tuesday.