May 11, 2012

Bears Knock off #2 ECSU; Snap 40-Game Win Streak

MANSFIELD, Conn.--(5/11/12)--Senior All-American Hayley Feindel fired a two-hit shutout and sophomore Devin Fellman's three-run homer highlighted a five-run fourth inning as fifth-seeded Coast Guard knocked off Eastern Connecticut 5-0, in game seven at the Mansfield Regional of the 2012 NCAA Division III Softball Championship at Eastern Connecticut State University. The Warriors, who are the top-seeded team in the region and ranked second nationally, had their 40-game winning streak snapped.

The Bears, the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament champions improve to 28-17 and advance to the winner's bracket final on Saturday at 4 p.m. vs. Tufts, ranked eighth nationally and the second-seed in the regional, in a winners bracket game. Eastern Connecticut (41-2) will play third-seeded Rochester in an elimination game on Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Warriors were trying to tie the national record for consecutive wins in a season falling one shy of the mark set by the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) in 2004 on the way to the first of two straight national titles.

Feindel was dominant as she allowed just one runner past first base, in the first inning, allowing just a pair of singles while walking a batter and striking out 10 to run the Bears win streak to seven straight as she improved to 21-8 on the season an registered her 62nd career shutout while becoming the first pitcher to shut out Eastern in more than four years.

The Warriors had runners on first and second in the first as leadoff batter Arielle Cooper reached on an error and senior Molly Rathbun delivered a one-out single, but Feindel struck on the next two batters looking to end the inning.

Coast Guard scored all five of its runs in the fourth with two outs off senior Molly Rathbun (30-2), who leads the nation with 30 wins, but had her 29-game win streak snapped with the loss.

In the fourth, sophomore Kaitlin Ward started the big inning with a one-out single and following a ground out, moving Ward to second. Senior Jamie Kim, the Bears eight hitter, had an RBI single to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. Freshman Erin Lisko the hero of the win on Thursday followed with an RBI single as the Bears pushed the lead to 2-0 as the bottom of the lineup once again came up big for the Bears. Fellman followed the three-run homer, her seventh of the season, to center, giving Coast Guard a 5-0 lead.

The Bears knocked Rathbun out of the game with back-to-back singles by freshman Jesse Richardson and junior Holli Bastinck to lead off the fifth. Rathbun went four innings and allowed eight hits and five earned runs while walking two and striking out six. Christine Akcer worked the final two innings and allowed just one hit and struck out two.

Feindel allowed just her second hit of the game a single to Kassondra Silva in the top of the fifth, the final hit she would allow. Feindel got Cooper to fly out leading off the sixth to snap her New England record hitting streak at 33 games.

Richardson and Lisko each had two hits to lead Coast Guard. Lisko had a double the only other extra base hit in the game besides Fellman's homer.

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