Phillips, Wood & Martin Brilliant in Softball’s Sweep of Simmons & Bluffton

Katie Martin

Titusville, FL --- Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) tossed a two-hitter in the season opener and Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) hit .750 (6-for-8) with a pair of doubles, a home run and four RBI on the day as WPI defeated Simmons, 3-1, and Bluffton (OH), 9-1, Sunday at the Sunkissed Games.

Phillips struck out six and walked three, and didn't allow a hit until Simmons' leadoff batter doubled down the right field line in the top of the seventh. Wood was 2-for-3 with a double while Kaitlyn Hess (Milford, NH) batted 2-for-2. Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) added a double and Lindsay Ambrosino (Chelmsford, MA) chipped in with a sacrifice hit. Hess, Ambrosino and Marissa Gonzales (Oakley, CA) each stole a base as well.

Kylie Juarez (Elk Grove, CA) scored from second on a two-out single to short by Hess. Gonzales then used an RBI single to chase home Skylar O'Connell (North Attleboro, MA) for the 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the second. LeClaire doubled home Wood, who ledoff the third with an infield single. Simmons later used a pair of doubles down the right field line to breakup the shutout.

In addition to Wood going 4-for-5 with a double, home run and four RBI, Gonzales (2 RBI, SB) and Nicole Kuberka (Los Angeles, CA) each registered a pair of hits against Bluffton. Kuberka also chipped in with three RBI while Ambrosino (SB), Juarez and O'Connell each recorded a sacrifice. Hess and Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) also notched a swipe.

Kate Martin (Bedford, NH) did not allow an earned run on three hits while striking out five and walking two. Abigail O'Connor (Belle Mead, NJ) and Jess Evans (Grafton, MA) each took an inning with the latter striking out a pair.

Wood put the Engineers on the board in the first with a two-run shot to center. Kuberka followed in the second with an RBI double to center before Gonzalez made it 4-0 with an RBI ground out. Bluffton plated its unearned run in the home half of the frame. Wood continued with a run-producing double down the right field line in the fourth.

Kuberka added two more with a single through the left side to begin a four-run seventh. Gonzales plated another with a fielder's choice to second and Wood finished it off with an RBI single to center.

The Engineers face Illinois College at 12:15pm and Saint Benedict (MN) at 4:45pm tomorrow in Plant City.