May 7, 2009



Beverly, MA-Second-seeded Rhode Island College dropped its opening game, 5-2, to seventh-seeded Springfield in game four of the 2009 NCAA Div. III Softball Tournament New England Regional on Thursday afternoon.


 "We're disappointed with the loss," RIC Head Softball Coach Maria Morin said afterwards. "This is not how we wanted to start the NCAA Tournament." RIC, which is making its fourth consecutive NCAA tourney appearance, had never lost a New England Regional game in three previous appearances prior to today's contest with the Pride.


 The Anchorwomen (40-6) will face sixth-seeded Bridgewater State in an elimination game tomorrow at noon. RIC swept a doubleheader from the Bears (9-2, 13-0) on Mar. 31. Rhode Island College will be looking to equal the 2007 squad's program record for wins in a season (41).



 Sophomore first baseman Chelsi Panarelli established a new program
record with her sixth home run in a losing effort.


 The Pride (21-22) received a complete game from starter Samantha Rhodes (Mendon, MA) who struck out six Anchorwomen en route to her 13th win of the season.


 Springfield jumped out to an early lead as the Pride scored three runs in the top of the second for a quick 3-0 lead. Following a lead-off walk and a hit-batsman, Springfield's Amanda Novak (Cos Cob, CT) singled to right field to load the bases. Tess Gagliano (Atlantic Highlands, NJ) singled in the first run of the game, chasing RIC's Jenna Deveines (Lowville, NY) after just one inning of work. The Pride pushed their second run across on a fielder's choice and scored their final run of the inning on an RBI groundout by Angela Atkins (East Haddam, CT).


 The Anchorwomen responded in their half of the second when sophomore first baseman Chelsi Panarelli (Shrewsbury, MA) crushed a 1-2 offering over the fence in right field to cut into the deficit, 3-1. It was her sixth home run of the season, establishing a new program record for a season.


 Springfield would get that run back in the third when Gagliano struck again with an RBI single up the middle to push the cushion back to three runs at 4-1.


 RIC would threaten again in the bottom of the fifth when senior left fielder Kelli McCartin (Cranston, RI) drove in a run with a single to right center field. McCartin would steal second and move into scoring position, trailing just 4-2, but Springfield's Rhodes struck out sophomore second baseman Amanda Perry (New Bedford, MA) to end the inning. That would be as close as the Anchorwomen would get as the Pride tacked on one more run in the top of the seventh and Rhodes closed the door on the upset, taking the game 5-2.


 Rhodes pitched seven innings while giving up just two runs on five hits with six strikeouts. Gagliano ended the day going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI while Atkins had the other RBI for Springfield while going 1-for-4 with a run.


 Deveines took the loss for RIC despite just going one inning and giving up two hits and three runs (two earned). Sophomore Amanda Berard (Swansea, MA) pitched the final six innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out seven. Panarelli finished with a 2-for-3 day with an RBI and run scored. McCartin finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.