WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Ali Maloof (Norwood, Mass.) recorded the lone RBI for the fifth-seeded Southern New Hampshire University softball team in a 1-0 victory over eighth-seeded Wilmington University Saturday afternoon to avoid elimination in the NCAA East Regional second round at New Haven. The Penmen improve to 31-14 overall, while the Wildcats see their season come to an end after its first ever NCAA appearance with a 29-26 record.
Southern New Hampshire advances to the championship round tomorrow, when it faces top-seeded LIU-Post for a rematch of today's game for a 1:00 p.m. start tomorrow. The Pioneers have not lost yet this weekend, and need one win to advance to the Super Regionals, while the Penmen will need to defeat LIU-Post twice in order to move on.
After a scoreless and hitless first inning, the Wildcats were able to get on the board in the hits column when Bennett led-off with a single to right field, and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. However, the Penmen put away the next two batters in order to get out of the inning and remain tied at 0-0.
In the bottom of the inning, SNHU recorded two hits, as Lindsey Bolduc (Londonderry, N.H.) had a lead-off double and Cara Daly (Plainville, Mass.) singled to left field, but back-to-back pop-outs ended the inning without registering any runs.
The next three innings were the same, with both teams recording hits but unable to convert any into runs, until the bottom of the fifth when the Penmen finally put a score on the board.
Devan Rabidou (Ashland, Mass.), who was the hero in last weekend's Northeast-10 Conference Championship game, pinch hit for the Penmen to lead-off the inning and got on base with a walk. With one out, Tesia Stanasek (Blackstone, Mass.) followed with a double to left field to move the freshman to third. The Penmen then tried for a sacrifice squeeze, when Mo Hannan (Scarborough, Maine) laid a bunt down the third base line, but Rabidou was called out at home in a close play for the second out of the inning, to bring up Maloof. With Stanasek on third and Hannan on first, Maloof smacked a single to center field on the first pitch to score Stanasek and to take a 1-0 lead on the Wildcats.
The Penmen retired Wilmington in the next two innings, allowing only one hit and no runs to take the win and advance.
Maloof pitched her third straight complete game, while totaling five strikeouts and allowing five hits and no runs, while Stephanie Sarris allowed seven hits and one run in six innings of work for the Wildcats.
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