Owls Sweep Fisher in Home Opener

Owls Sweep Fisher in Home Opener

(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) --  After 27 straight road games, the University of Maine-Presque Isle softball team could have felt it a mini-victory on Saturday just to be playing a home game.  Buoyed by being in front of the home crowd at Presque Isle High School, the Owls swept a doubleheader from Fisher (MA) College, 8-0 and 4-1.

The Owls (7-22) finish the season 3-2  against their former Sunrise Conference foes, having played Fisher (2-27) in Massachusetts on April 6-7th.  Presque Isle finishes up the 2013 schedule with three more home games next weekend.  Eastern Maine Community College will be in the "Star City" on Saturday, May, 5th for a doubleheader at 1pm and 3pm.  Then on Sunday, EMCC will stick around to play the Owls at 12pm before heading back downstate.

Game 1:  OWLS 8, Fisher 0 (6 innings)

WP- Coffin (2-12)
LP-   Gilbert

After holding the Falcons scoreless in the top of the 1st, Presque Isle jumped out to a lead in the bottom.  CF Ashley Laking (Fr./Lambert Lake, ME) led off with a bunt single.  After stealing 2nd and advanced to third on a ground out, Laking scored on a Megan Hannigan (Fr./Houlton, ME) RBI-double lined down the left field line.

Up 1-0, UMPI added to its lead in the third.  With one down, SS Kellie Peers (Sr./Caswell, ME) reached on an error.  After a strikeout, Peers put herself in scoring position by stealing second.  P Krista Coffin (Jr./Presque Isle, ME) then grounded a single through the hole on the left side.  Peers rounded third and made a nice slide at home to get in under the tag of catcher Andrea Martucci and give the Owls a 2-0 advantage.   

After playing a relatively clean game through the first four innings, the Falcons defense let them down in the final two frames.  Seven Fisher miscues allowed Presque Isle to score 6 runs and end the game after six.

Laking was again the catalyst in the fifth, leading off with a ground rule double to the gap in left center.  As she has done since taking over the lead off spot back on April 13th, the rookie speedster then wreaked havoc on the basepaths, immediately stealing 3rd and scampering home when the throw from catcher Danielle Cain bounced away into left field.  After a Peers single and Hannigan double put runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out, the Owls received a pair of gift runs courtesy of the Fisher fielders.  Peers came around to score after an error on 1B Rebecca Streeter and Hannigan followed her in one batter later on a wild pitch.  A double off the bat of 1B Taylor Cochran (Fr./Topsfield, ME) scored Coffin who had reached on an error.  By the time the inning was over the Owls scored 4 runs on 4 Falcon errors.

Three more Fisher errors in the bottom of the 6th inning allowed the Owls to score two more times and end the game early via the 8-run college mercy rule.

Laking was 3-4 in the game with 3 runs scored and 2 stolen bases.  Including her 2-3 performance in game two, she now boasts a .416 (16-36) batting average in her last 12 games.

Cochran spearheaded a solid UMPI defensive effort at first base, making some great stretches and scoops to save would-be errors and keep the Falcons from ever threatening the Owls' lead.

Meanwhile, Coffin was lights out on the mound in game one.  Playing on the same field she roamed while at Presque Isle High School, Coffin looked right at home tossing a complete game 1-hit shutout.  She also struck out a season high 9 Falcon batters.

Game 2:  OWLS 4, Fisher 1

WP-  K. Coffin (3-12)
 LP-  Gilbert

In the nightcap, Coffin was dominant from the rubber.  Seeming to get stronger as the afternoon wore on, the junior hurler struck out 5 of the first 7 Falcon batters she faced.  Roughly two hours after setting a season high with nine strikeouts in game one, Coffin blew a called third strike past Ashalya Burrell in the seventh inning to give her 10 K's in game two.

The only run Fisher could muster against the dominant righty was an RBI groundout in the 6th after the Owls had built a 3-0 lead.

Presque Isle quickly pushed the advantage back to three runs in the bottom of the 6th.  This time it was Coffin getting the job at the plate, drilling her second double of the game to lead off.  Two batters later, a mishandled bunt off the bat of Cochran allowed her to reach first and for Randi Kaplan (Fr./Embden, ME), who had come in to pinch run for Coffin, to score from second.

Coffin then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to complete the sweep.  She gave up three hits and walked one in seven innings.  In addition to being a season-high, her 10 strikeouts in game two mark a collegiate career high.

Laking and Coffin had two hits a piece to lead the Owls offense.