WORCESTER – Junior RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) and sophomore Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) went 3-for-3 in game one and sophomore Kallista Leonardos (El Granada, CA) batted 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, three RBI - including the go-ahead hit by pitch - and three runs scored in game two as WPI and Emerson each earned a win Sunday in the NEWMAC softball doubleheader on Rooftop Field. The Engineers raced out to a 13-1 decision in five innings while the Lions held off the hosts for an 11-9 victory in the nightcap.
The theme of the day was ALS Awareness with the teams combining to raise $2,300 for ALS Therapy Development Institute. They also wore special t-shirts prior to game one, which also featured an honorary first pitch.
Emerson, who snapped a six game skid, defeated the Engineers for the first time since the teams traded 4-2 decisions on April 5, 2014.
Trailing 11-6 heading into the last half inning of game two, WPI made it interesting with a three run frame. With two on and two outs, junior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) cleared the bases with a triple to right center before coming home on a wild pitch. Two more would reach; however, a fly out to left ended the game.
WPI struck first when Biney scampered home on a miscue put into play by May with two outs in the bottom of the first. Emerson quickly countered with a leadoff homer by Leonardos in the top of the second.
The Lions went ahead for the first time with four in the third. Junior Kodie Cash (Big Bear City, CA) lifted a productive foul fly ball to right and senior Shelby Carney (North Reading, MA) followed with an RBI single. After a pitching change and a stolen base, junior Molly Goldstein (Ridgefield, CT) doubled in a pair for the 5-1 advantage. Leonardos came through once again, this time with and RBI knock to center in the fourth.
The Crimson and Gray made it a new game with a five-run fourth. Senior Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, RI) drew an RBI walk to begin the scoring. Sophomore Kylie Juarez (Elk Grove, CA), pinch hitting for senior Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT), and junior Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) connected on back-to-back run producing singles while freshman Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) helped Juarez score with an RBI fielder's choice. Murphy-Cook closed the frame by touching home on a productive out by May.
Leonardos pushed what proved to be the game-winning run across when she was hit by a pitch to begin Emerson's five-run frame. Cash singled in a pair. Carney then grounded out to help plate Leonardos. Later in the frame, sophomore Caroline Fortuna (Higganum, CT) singled in Cash for the 11-6 lead.
Cash (2-for-3, sac fly, 3 RBI, run), Carney (2-for-4, stolen base, 2 RBI, run) and Goldstein (2-for-4, double, stolen base, 2 RBI) all had two hits for the Lions. Freshman Micaela Dix (White House Station, NJ) walked twice and junior Jacqueline DeFusco (East Greenwich, RI) scored twice. Junior Jillian Gearin (Hermosa, Beach, CA) doubled to go with a sacrifice hit and a stolen base by freshman Marisa DeFranco (Falls Church, VA). Defensively, Dix, Fortuna and sophomore Sam Kelley (Hopedale, MA) teamed up for a double play. Freshman Keely Marquez (La Verne, CA) struck out a pair in the first six en route to the win as Cash ended the day in the circle.
LeClaire continued her impressive day by going 3-for-5 with a run scored in the second game. Biney tripled, stole two bases, drove in a pair and scored twice while senior Lindsay Gurska (Revere, MA) drew a pair of free passes to go with a sacrifice hit. Gallagher also chipped in with a sacrifice. The quartet of junior Casey Arpin (Uxbridge, MA), junior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA), senior Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, NJ) and freshman Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) combined to strikeout nine Lions. Shevchuk and LeClaire turned a double play for the Engineers.
The opener was all WPI. May and LeClaire used RBI singles to make it 2-0 after one. Leonardos cut the deficit in half with her first round-tripper of the day to start the second. The Engineers then piled on five in the bottom of the second, highlighted by a two-run single by Graca and a two-run double by LeClaire, who had another two-run double to highlight a four-run third. Junior Julia Veitch (Carlisle, MA) added a pinch-hit with a pair of RBI in the bottom of the fourth as two runs also scored on the final play of the top of the bottom of the fourth. Medino then retired the side in order, including a pair of swinging strikeouts. for the 13-1 final.
LeClaire (5), Graca (3) and May (2) delivered multiple RBI as Shevchuk scored three times while Biney, Graca, May and Gallagher each crossed the plate twice. Two of LeClaire's hits were doubles while Biney's two runs were a result of free passes. Biney also stole a base. Saucier began the day in the circle, allowing three hits and striking out seven in four frames. Medino struck out the three batters she faced.
Dix, DeFusco and Leonardos all notched a hit to go with a walk by Cash, who struck out one in 2 2/3. Freshman Erin Nolan (Hunterdon, NJ) was in the circle for the remainder of the contest.
WPI (12-10, 5-3) heads to Worcester State for a 4pm non-conference meeting Tuesday while Emerson (5-16, 1-5) goes to Wheaton for a NEWMAC pair at 3pm, also on Tuesday.
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