#16 Southern Connecticut Clinches NE-10 Title by Taking 2 from Bentley

Laura McDonough
Laura McDonough

WALTHAM, Mass. – Freshman Kelsey Cockrill (Haymarket, Va.) pitched a two-hit shutout in the opener and both center fielder Brittany Bucko (Wallington, N.J.) and sophomore left fielder Julie Muscarella (Suffield, Conn.) drove in four runs in the nightcap as Southern Connecticut State took two from Bentley University, 9-0 and 14-1, in Northeast-10 Conference softball Saturday afternoon at Bentley.

Both games were halted early, the opener after six and game two after five, with Southern, the 16th-ranked Division II team in the country, wrapping up the NE-10 regular season title with the two wins.

Cockrill, 15-3 on the season, was supported offensively by a 13-hit attack that featured two hits, two runs scored and three RBI from junior third baseman Kate Hoffman (Orange, Conn.). She had a two-run double during a three-run third that gave the Owls the lead, and homered during the sixth inning.

Junior catcher Stacy Pouliot (Ledyard, Conn.) and Muscarella each had two hits and two RBI for Southern.

Cockrill struck out 10, walked one and allowed only one runner to reach second base.

Southern Connecticut (36-6, 24-4 NE-10 broke game two open early, putting up five runs in the first before exploding for nine in the second. The first inning featured a three-run homer by Muscarella and the second included a two-run triple by freshman shortstop Nicole Buch (Darien, Conn.) and a grand slam from Bucko.  It was the conference-leading 15th of the year for the junior.

Bentley's only run was scored in the first inning of game two. Junior second baseman Laura McDonough (Braintree/Braintree HS) singled through the left side after two walks and a hit batter had loaded the bases.

Shortstop Shannon Connor (West Haven, Conn./West Haven HS) had a hit in each game for the Falcons and finished her freshman year with a team-best .279 average.

Bentley finished the season at 8-30 overall and 6-24 NE-10.