NEWTON, Mass. - Freshman Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) picked up a win and a save while registering nine strikeouts in nine total innings inside the circle to lead Saint Joseph (Conn.) to a sweep of a Great Northeast Athletic Conference softball doubleheader from Mount Ida by scores of 8-7 in the opener and 7-3 in the nightcap in league games played Sunday afternoon at the Mount Ida Softball Field.
The visiting Blue Jays (10-8, 4-2 GNAC) overcame a 2-0 deficit in the opener with a six-run rally in the top of the third highlighted by a two-run double from sophomore McKenna Driscoll (Bristol, Conn.) and a two-run single off the bat of sophomore Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.). Juniors Isabella Russo (Southington, Conn.) and Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) also plated runs with a double and a single in the frame for Saint Joseph, but the host Mustangs (6-14, 4-6 GNAC) evened matters in the bottom of the inning with a four-run uprising of their own highlighted by RBI singles from junior Kristina Stella (Revere, Mass.) and freshman Savannah Neilan (Somerset, Mass.) along with bases loaded walks to senior Hayley Microulis (Pawtucket, R.I.) and junior Kelsey Weston (Hampstead, N.H.).
The visitors took the lead for good in the fourth on senior Sarah Ercoli's (East Granby, Conn.) sacrifice fly and a Driscoll RBI single, but Mount Ida crept back to within one in the bottom of the fifth on freshman Shelby Nolan's (Ansonia, Conn.) run-scoring single. The Mustangs had the tying run on base in the sixth but were unable to tie the score, as Milardo struck out three over the last two innings of work to close out the opening triumph for Saint Joseph.
Driscoll, Russo, Skoly, and freshman Amanda Thiel (Torrington, Conn.) each had two hits as part of a 12-hit attack in the lid-lifter for the Blue Jays, as Sharon fanned two over the first five innings of work inside the circle to pick up her fourth victory of the spring for the visitors. Neilan and fellow freshman Jill Skalski (Cranford, N.J.), who gave Mount Ida the early edge with back-to-back RBI doubles in the first inning, combined for five of the hosts' nine opening game hits, as freshman Carrigan Costello (Wolcott, Conn.) struck out a pair over 3 2/3 innings of work to suffer the pitching setback for the Mustangs.
Microulis staked Mount Ida to a 1-0 first inning lead in the nightcap with an RBI double, but Saint Joseph responded with a four-run second inning outburst keyed by Milardo's two-run single, an RBI safety from junior Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) and a safety squeeze off the bat of Skoly. Nolan cut the Mustangs' deficit to one with a second-inning safety squeeze and a run-scoring groundout in the fourth, but the Blue Jays received an RBI single from freshman Paola Bronner (New Britain, Conn.) in the fifth and added two insurance tallies in the sixth on Sharon's run-scoring single and Ercoli's RBI groundout to account for the final margin.
Bronner rapped out four of Saint Joseph's 13 hits in the nightcap, as Sharon, Driscoll, and Klimaszewski each added two hits for the winners. Milardo helped her own case with a pair of hits in going the distance inside the circle for the Blue Jays, as she fanned six to improve to 6-2 on the season. Seven different players collected hits in the second game setback for Mount Ida, as freshman Madeleine Smith (San Diego, Calif.) went the distance and struck out one for the Mustangs.
Mount Ida hosts Dean in a non-league doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon at the Mount Ida Softball Field beginning at 3:00 p.m., while Saint Joseph travels to New London, Conn. on Wednesday afternoon for a non-league twinbill with Mitchell that also begins at 3:00 p.m.