Fifth-Inning Surge Secures Split in Softball's NEWMAC Opening Twinbill at Wheaton

Natalie Fabrizio

Norton, MA --- WPI used a six-run fifth inning in game two to key a NEWMAC softball split with Wheaton Saturday at Clark Field. The Lyons took game one by a score of 3-1 and the Engineers claimed a 7-2 victory in the nightcap.

As a result, WPI, who has been idle since March 10, moved to 6-6 on the year and Wheaton slips to 5-9. Each team is now 1-1 in league play.

For a majority of the second contest, junior Ama Biney's (Worcester, MA) RBI double in the top of the third stood as the offensive difference. The Engineers broke the game open in the fifth beginning with a run-producing double by junior Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA). With the bases loaded, senior Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, RI) connected on an RBI fielder's choice and junior Natalie Fabrizio (Hampstead, NH) drew a free pass. Senior Lindsay Gurska (Revere, MA) then cleared everyone off the base paths with a 3-RBI double for the 7-0 advantage. Junior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA), meanwhile, allowed only two hits and struck out eight through the first six innings. It took until the fourth inning for the Lyons to register their first hit.

Wheaton avoided the shutout with a two-run shot by sophomore Emily Schlapak (Dover, NH) with one out in the bottom of the seventh. After a double and a pitching change, junior Casey Arpin (Uxbridge, MA) walked one and induced a pair of ground outs for the 7-2 final.

Murphy-Cook went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Gurska's double led to three RBI and Biney (2 walks) yielded one. Biney and freshman Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) each stole a base. Fabrizio registered a hit and drew a walk.

Five different Lyons registered a hit while Shlapak drove in a pair of runs as senior Rebecca Seifert (Franklin, MA) doubled and walked twice. Junior Allison Cox (Torrance, CA) and sophomore Shelbi Wilson (Peabody, MA) shared time in the circle.

Game one saw Wheaton senior Jessica Cochrane (Walpole, MA) collect all three RBI. She chased Seifert home with an RBI hit through the left side in the bottom of the first. She used a sacrifice fly in the fifth and a bases-loaded free pass to bring the other two runs home in the sixth. WPI countered the initial run with a fielder's choice off the bat of senior Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT) in the top of the second.

Fabrizio batted 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base. Gallagher added a double and Murphy-Cook added a stolen base to her vast collection. Freshman Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) struck out four batters before yielding to Arpin after 5 1/3.

Senior Danielle Cimino (Cumberland, ME) went 2-for-3 at the dish and struck out a pair in five innings inside the circle. Wilson fanned a pair in two hitless innings en route to the save. Seifert doubled and scored twice.

WPI is slated to open Rooftop Field Tuesday with a 3:30pm twinbill versus Fitchburg State. Wheaton hosts UMass Dartmouth Tuesday at 3pm.