May 22, 2010

Courtesy of Eastern Conn. St

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron) pitched a complete-game one-hit shutout and senior centerfielder Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull) hit a thee-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning as the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team remained alive in the NCAA Division III national tournament with a 3-0 win over Moravian College Saturday afternoon at Carson Park.

With the win, Eastern (37-5-1) advances to play Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against the loser of Saturday night's game between DePauw University and Linfield College.

Rathbun (28-1) did not pitch in Friday's 8-0 opening loss to Christopher Newport University due to illness but returned to win her 25th straight decision by limiting Moravian (34-15) to two baserunners - a two-out walk in the fourth and a leadoff single in the fifth. Rathbun struck out 13, her final one representing her 300th of the season.

Eastern stranded five runners through the first three innings before scoring the only runs of the game when Sullivan rapped a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for her third home run of the season. Senior shortstop Kim Church (Farmington) walked to open the fourth, moved to second on a single to center by sophomore Kassondra Silva (Hamden) and both runners later scored on Sullivan's three-run blast off complete-game loser Elizabeth Python (6-4).

Rathbun struck out at least one batter in every inning, fanning seven over the first three innings in recording her 17 shutout of the season and tying the season record with her 25th complete game. In the game, she also broke her own program record for consecutive innings without an earned run and Christia Mohan's record for consecutive scoreless innings. She has now pitched 45.0 straight scoreless innings.

Sophomore rightfielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford) had three of Eastern's six hits, with Silva adding two and Sullivan one with her home run.

In nine post-season starts this year (conference and NCAA), Rathbun is 9-0 over 59 2/3 innings with eight shutouts, nine complete games, 102 strikeouts and 14 walks and a 0.59 ERA. She has allowed 22 hits, 18 of them singles.

Rathbun has set season records this year for wins, consecutive wins, strikeouts, and shutouts. The one-hitter was her seventh of the season (to go along with two no-hitters) and 12th of her career.

After batting in Rathbun's No. 3 spot in the order Friday and collecting three hits, Sullivan batted leadoff Saturday for the first time this season.