NCAA Division III Softball Willimantic Regional: Pepin Sets Program Record as #2 Eastern Connecticut Ousts Ithaca, 6-0

MANSFIELD, Conn. – Senior Molly Rathbun (Hebron, Conn.)  collected 12 strikeouts and helped her own cause with an RBI single to help top-seeded Eastern Connecticut shutout fourth-seeded Ithaca by a 6-0 margin in the 2012 NCAA Division-III Softball Willimantic Regional on Saturday night.

The Warriors (43-2) return to its home diamond tomorrow for a noon showdown with Coast Guard with the winner advancing to face Tufts in the regional title round at 2:30 p.m. Ithaca ends its campaign with a 32-14 mark.

With the win, Eastern Connecticut's head coach Diana Pepin set the record for most wins to eclipse Clyde Washburne with 285 victories for a 285-157-1 ledger.

The Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead as sophomore Mattie Brett (Waterford, Conn.) smacked a 2-RBI double in the first inning.

In the third inning, junior Arielle Cooper (Mystic, Conn.) cleared the fence in right center for her team-leading 11th round-tripper to tie the program record for single season home runs.

Rathbun brought in a run on a single in the fourth. Later in the frame Cooper sent a flair to left field to as the regional hosts tacked on another tally.

With the bases loaded in the fifth, junior Kelly Paterson (Southington, Conn.) sacrificed herself on a fly ball to center field.

Ithaca sophomore Sam Bender (Levittown, Pa.) shouldered the loss allowing six runs on 10 hits while classmate Jillian Olmstead (Magnolia, Del.) tossed a pair of scoreless innings.

Rathbun, who set the program single season win and strikeout record in the first game of the day, extends her lead with her 32nd victory of the season and 326 punchouts.

The Bombers were led by sophomore Sydney Folk (Long Beach, N.Y.) who was a flawless 3-for-3 at the dish as freshman Francesca Busa (St. James, N.Y.) joined her teammate in the multiple hit club with two.