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Finn two-hits Huskies as softball sweeps doubleheader at USM

Kristen Finn threw a two-hitter and walked no one for her first career seven-inning shutout. (File photo)

GORHAM, Maine -- Junior Kristen Finn fired a two-hitter and had a perfect game through 4 2/3 innings in a 6-0 shutout in the second game of a doubleheader, leading the Bates softball team to a sweep of the University of Southern Maine Huskies Thursday afternoon at Towers Field. Bates won the first game of the afternoon, 5-4, in eight innings.

With the pair of wins, the Bobcats improve to 7-9 on the season and snap a four-game losing skid. The Huskies fall to 3-29, suffering their fifth straight loss.

Finn (Winthrop, Mass.) pitched an outstanding game for the Bobcats, striking out five batters without yielding a walk. She had a perfect game through two outs of the fifth inning and had retired 14 straight hitters before allowing a single.  Both of the hits Finn allowed were singles, as she earned the first seven-inning shutout win of her career.

With Finn in control of the Huskies' bats, the Bobcats took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning.  The Bobcats used four hits in the second inning, including an RBI double from junior C Leah Maciejewski (Tewksbury, Mass.). The next two Bates runs were scored on an RBI groundout by first-year 2B Alayna Garbarino (Reading, Mass.) and an RBI single from junior OF Courtney Talcott (Sutton, Mass.).

The Bobcats added a pair of runs in the fourth inning and one in the fifth for the 6-0 win. USM freshman P Samantha Morse took the loss, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and two walks.  Morse struck out five.

In the opener, Bates rallied from a one-run deficit in the top of the seventh and grabbed the win in an extra inning. Trailing 4-3 after a solo home run from USM senior P/1B Sarah Deroche in the bottom of the sixth inning, Maciejewski blasted a two-out RBI double to right field to force the extra inning.  Maciejewski drove in Finn, who was pinch running for junior 1B Monica Berube (Plaistow, N.H.), from first base. Berube started the rally with a two-out bloop single.

After holding the Huskies scoreless in the bottom of the inning, Bates plated the winning run in the top of the eighth. With the extra inning rule in effect and a runner on second, Bates advanced its runner with a sacrifice bunt before sophomore 3B Mary Lewis (Gardiner, Maine) singled in a run.

Sophomore Caroline Gattuso (North Reading, Mass.) closed out the win in the bottom of the eighth. After the Huskies advanced their runner to third with a sacrifice bunt, Gattuso was aided by a heads-up play from Lewis at third base to gun down the USM runner headed home on a sharply hit infield grounder. With two outs, Gattuso got the final USM batter out on a popup.

Gattuso, who was in the hole early 3-0 on three unearned runs in the bottom of the first, allowed one earned run on six hits and one walk, and struck out a season-high eight batters over eight innings. She now has 42 strikeouts over 47 innings pitched this season, and raised her record to 3-4 while lowering her ERA to 4.21.

Deroche, USM’s starter, allowed three earned runs on nine hits and three walks. Morse, who came in for Deroche in the seventh, was tagged with the loss, giving up one earned run on four hits in two innings.

Bates hosts Bowdoin on Friday at 4 p.m., then plays a doubleheader at Bowdoin on Saturday to complete the rivals' three-game NESCAC East Division series.

Game 1 Box Score: Bates 5, Southern Maine 4 (8)

Game 2 Box Score: Bates 6, Southern Maine 0