NEWTON, Mass. - The University of Saint Joseph softball team ran its winning streak to six-straight after sweeping a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader on the road over the Lasell College Lasers on Saturday afternoon on Taylor Field. The Blue Jays took the opener 5-2 and then exploded for a 10-run inning in game two to complete the sweep with a 15-5, mercy-rule (6 inn.) victory. With the sweep, the Blue Jays improve to 9-5 overall on the season and 4-0 in GNAC play, while Lasell drops to 3-11 and 0-4 in the conference.
GAME 1 - USJ 5, Lasell 2
Two runs in the second inning and three in the third would be more than enough for the Blue Jays as they held on for a 5-2 victory over Lasell in the opening game of a doubleheader on Saturday.
USJ pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the second inning off the bat of freshman Brianna Barfield (North Attleboro, Mass.) to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Sophomore Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) reached on a fielder's choice and freshman Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) reached on an error before the duo moved into scoring position with Barfield at the dish. Barfield would capitalize and ripped a two-RBI double to give the Blue Jays the early edge.
St. Joseph would tack on three more runs in the following frame to build a comfortable 5-0 advantage. A pair of walks wrapped around a double from freshman Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) loaded the bases full of Blue Jays with one out. Klimaszewski then stepped in and belted a RBI single to left field to drive in the first run of the inning. Another error by the Lasers brought in the second run to make it 4-0 before Barfield drove in her third RBI of the game with a bases loaded walk to complete the scoring for USJ.
Lasell would dip into the Blue Jays lead and made things interesting when they plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 5-2. An error followed by a pair of singles loaded the bases with no outs. Sharon was able to get the next batter via strikeout, one of seven she had in game one, but then another USJ error brought home the Lasers first run before junior Ashley Gatchell singled in the second run. Sharon was able to minimize the damage though and posted another strikeout and fly out to end the inning.
Down to their final out and trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Lasers rallied and brought the tying run to the plate, but Sharon settled in and got junior Laura MacLeod (Old Saybrook, Conn.) looking to end the game and secure the win.
Sharon earned the victory in the circle to improve to 7-2 on the season. She went the distance, scattering eight hits and two walks, while allowing two runs (one earned) and struck out seven.
Barfield led the way offensively for the Blue Jays finishing 1-for-2 at the plate with a double, pair of walks and three RBI. Sharon and sophomore Isabella Russo (Southington, Conn.) posted multi-hit games in the opener as they each went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Game 2 - USJ 15, Lasell 5 (6 inn.)
The Blue Jays exploded for a 10-run sixth inning to break a tie and down the Lasers in six innings, 15-5, in the second game of a twin bill on Saturday afternoon to complete the sweep.
It was Lasell who raced out to an early lead in the second game, pouncing on the Blue Jays and posting a three-run first inning for the early edge. The Lasers did all the damage in the opening frame with two outs and it was capped with a two-RBI single to right field by freshman Esther Plouffe (North Scituate, R.I.) to make it 3-0.
USJ would answer right back though and notched four runs in the top half of the second to take a 4-3 lead. With runners on the corners, a RBI bunt single by Ricci got the Blue Jays on the board before freshman Nathalia Vega (Waterbury, Conn.) followed with a RBI fielder's choice to cut the deficit to 3-2. A pair of two-out singles followed to load the bases and then Russo came up with the clutch hit sending a two-RBI single down the right field line to put USJ up 4-3.
Lasell didn't fold however, turning right around and answering with two runs in the bottom of the frame to retake the lead 5-4. A two-out RBI triple from freshman Victoria Spellman (Rocky Hill, Conn.) tied the contest before Spellman trotted home on a passed ball to give the hosts the lead.
Sophomore Morgan Skoly setup the Blue Jays to tie the game in the top of the fifth inning. She led off the inning with a single to center, stole second and then advanced to third on a passed ball. Russo benefitted from the speedster as she drove in her third RBI of the game with a ground out to second to knot the score, 5-5.
That setup the 10-run explosion by the Blue Jays in the sixth inning to complete the sweep and shorten the game with a 15-5 final. Freshman Taylor Marino (Middlefield, Conn.) drove in what would be the game-winning run with a bunt single. She would also single again later in the inning down the right field line, driving in two more RBI to complete the scoring and for a three-RBI inning.
Sharon (8-2) came on in relief in the fifth inning and spun the final inning and a third to post her second victory inside the circle on the day. She allowed just one hit and needed just 13 pitches (nine strikes) to record the final four outs.
Russo and Marino each drove in three RBI in the game two victory. Skoly and Marino posted three-hit bids with Skoly finishing 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI and Marino going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
The USJ softball team next hosts Mount Ida College on Sunday at CCSU in another GNAC doubleheader. First pitch is slated for Noon.