NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Senior pitcher Jayme Larson (Aurora, Colo.) hurled a two-hitter, while junior third baseman Alyssa Downs (Seymour, Conn.) cracked two home runs and drove in three to lead the No. 18 nationally ranked Southern Connecticut State University softball team over Caldwell College in a NCAA East Regional final contest on Sunday.
We used a stationary video camera!
The Owls, the top-seed in the East Region, improved to 40-10 with the win. They will move on to next weekend’s Super Regional to play either Molloy or Dominican at a site TBD. Caldwell’s season came to a close at 39-15.
It’s the first time in program history that the Owls have advanced to the Super Regional round.
Southern Connecticut never trailed in the contest. The Owls started things off with a run in the top of the first. Nicole Buch (Darien, Conn.) singled with one out and moved to third base on a single by Kristin Whitley (North Andover, Mass.). Downs followed with a popup to Cougars' shortstop, Megan Fryday, who threw to first base to try to double off Whitley. Buch read the play and scampered home to give the Owls a 1-0 lead.
Downs extended the lead to 2-0 in the third with a solo shot to straight away center field. That home run was the 31st of her career, moving her past Megan Caporossi for first place on the all-time SCSU home run list.
Caldwell scored a run in the third and had the tying run on third base with two outs. However, Buch made a lunging stab at a line drive to record the third out of the inning.
Southern Connecticut added some insurance in the top of the seventh. Whitley singled and came in to score on Downs’ second homer of the day, a majestic shot that easily cleared the left field fence. The blast was the 15th of the year for Downs.
Larson set the side down in order in the bottom of the seventh to clinch the win. She did not walk a batter and struck out five in moving to 23-3 on the year.