St. Joseph’s softball team posts NCAA tourney victory

Posted May 12, 2011, at 10:01 p.m.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Alyssa Dunn went 4-for-4 and was a triple shy of the cycle as the No. 6 Saint Joseph’s College of Standish softball team downed No. 3 Endicott College 8-1 in the third game of the NCAA Division III Providence Regional Thursday.

Saint Joseph’s awaits the winner of No. 7 Lesley vs. No. 2 Coast Guard game on Friday at 4 p.m.

Dunn had a home run, double and two singles with two RBIs and three runs scored for 36-8 Saint Joseph’s. Maria Labbe doubled and singled with three RBIs, Lindsay Moore had a double, two singles and an RBI and Connie Grovo doubled and singled.

Maddie Kluna allowed one run on four hits and a walk while striking out five to improve to 14-3 for the Monks.

Mattie Brett singled twice to lead 35-7 Endicott. Krista Fales doubled.

St. Joseph’s |013|020|2 — 8 14 0

Endicott |001|000|0 — 1 4 1

Kluna and Labbe; Bortolotti, O’Connor (5) and Fales

ECSU 7, Husson 0

At Providence, R.I., Eastern Connecticut State junior Molly Rathbun no-hit the Husson University, striking out 16 and walking two, as the top-seeded Warriors beat the eighth seed Eagles in the Providence NCAA Division III Regional Thursday morning.

Eastern Connecticut State, 31-4, will take on host Rhode Island College, 34-11 and the fourth seed, in the 2 p.m. winners bracket game Friday while 25-18 Husson will meet fifth seed Worcester State (28-10) in an elimination game at 10 a.m.

First-inning solo homers by Megan Godwin and Rathbun supplied the Warriors with a 2-0 lead and they erupted for five more in the second inning.

Stephanie Johnson was the game’s only repeat hitter with two hits and an RBI.

Rathbun, the two-time Little East Conference Pitcher of the Year, has shut out Husson in consecutive NCAA Division III Tournament openers.

She allowed just three base-runners as ECSU committed an error to go with the two walks.

Husson |000|000|0 — 0 0 1

ECSU |250|000|x — 7 7 1

McCarty, Naegelin (2), Lyon (2) and Risser, Sousa (6); Rathbun and Bondy

Baseball

South Carolina optimistic

COLUMBIA, S.C — Ray Tanner has seen plenty to be pleased about from defending national champion South Carolina, but he’s about to find out if his team can overcome an unpleasant experience against Ole Miss.

The Gamecocks (39-10) are trying to bounce back from losing their first Southeastern Conference series of the season at Ole Miss last week.

“You either win or you don’t. That’s the bottom line,” Tanner said. “We lost the series last weekend. But we’ve won a bunch of them. You’ve got to play the percentages and they’ve been pretty good.”

South Carolina takes on Arkansas (32-15) at Carolina Stadium, its final home series of the season. The 2010 College World Series winners took series against SEC powers Florida and Vanderbilt — both No. 1 when the Gamecocks faced them — and moved into the top spot of the Collegiate Baseball rankings last week.

Then came the trip to Mississippi, where South Carolina dropped two of three, the first time in eight SEC weekends the Gamecocks hadn’t left as winners. Tanner thinks his team’s experience will keep it grounded and focused on what’s ahead, not on what happened a week ago.

“In my position I’m very fortunate that I have a team that has experience,” Tanner said. “Guys that have been here for a while and played a lot of baseball.”

But there aren’t as many experienced players as when the season started. The Gamecocks are down two outfielders, including star center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., the CWS most outstanding player last June. Bradley had surgery on his left wrist earlier this month and isn’t expected to play for several more weeks.

Adam Matthews, another starting outfielder, is recovering from a hamstring injury. Both were critical components to an offense that’s hitting .296 this season, fourth best in the SEC “.

“Would we love to have Jackie Bradley back in center field, Adam Matthews in the lineup? For sure. But they’re not going to be there,” Tanner said. “So, we’ll just go play.”

South Carolina took steps toward putting last week behind it with mid-week victories over Big South Conference foes Presbyterian and Charleston Southern.

Third baseman Adrian Morales says those are good first strides at rebounding. The Gamecocks, Morales thinks, are playing like they did a year ago when they overcame inexperience to succeed in Omaha.

“We got to try and bring that every game,” he said. “Sometimes, we’re not always there. But we have to try and compete every day.”

South Carolina has counted on solid starting pitching and a stellar bullpen to keep on top. Michael Roth has been the team’s top gun, the Friday night starter who has gone 10-1 after not starting a year ago until the College World Series. Roth leads the SEC with a 1.23 ERA.

Forest Koumas, a freshman right-hander, has provided a spark the past few weeks with a 5-0 record and a 3.14 ERA.

Colby Holmes has been South Carolina’s third weekend pitcher, although Tanner’s not sure after the sophomore gave up three runs in less than two innings of work at Ole Miss.

Closer Matt Price is second in the league with 13 saves.

Offensively, sophomore first baseman Christian Walker leads the team with a .372 average and is No. 1 in the SEC with 50 RBIs. Catcher-designated hitter Brady Thomas (.333) and second baseman Scott Wingo (.315) — both part of the CWS champions — are also hitting over .300.

Tanner hopes that combination of top-line pitching and just enough offense can keep the Gamecocks in contention for an SEC title. At 18-6, they’re tied with Florida, one game behind Vanderbilt for the league’s best record with two SEC weekends remaining.

“We’re moving on and looking forward to a good weekend against Arkansas,” Thomas said.

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