BOSTON, Mass. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) softball team left it all out on the field on Sunday, battling back from a game one shutout, but could not overcome the offensive onslaught of Emmanuel College (EC), who swept their hometown doubleheader on Roberto Clemente Field.
The Saints (7-9) have won three straight games, while the Blue Jays (8-10) have lost three of their last four.
In game one, the Blue Jays and Saints were in a pitcher's duel, both teams scoreless through three innings. In the bottom of the fourth, EC suddenly exploded for seven runs, tacking on an eighth run to end the game under the mercy rule, 8-0, in six innings.
That big bottom fourth was kicked off by a solo shot to left center by freshman designated player Grace Orcutt (Lexington, Mass.), who finished 2-for-4 on the game with three RBI. Junior second baseman Kerry Sendrick (Medway, Mass.) followed it up with a two-RBI double. She finished 2-for-3. USJ could only muster four hits in game one, including one from sophomore first baseman Amanda Thiel (Torrington, Conn.), who loaded the bases with a one-out single in the second inning, but Saint Joe's could not get any runners home.
Senior pitcher Megan Kieselback (Wethersfield, Conn.) looked strong throughout, striking out five and finding ways to get out of jams, like in the second inning, forcing a double play to strand three. She picked up the win (2-5), while junior pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) took the loss (3-3), allowing five earned runs in three and a third.
The Blue Jays had runners on the corners with one out in the top of the sixth, but once again failed to advance them home.
In game two, the Blue Jay offense bounced back in a hurry, scoring three runs in the first inning, but so did the Saints, who made big plays to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth, and hang on for a nail-biting 7-6 win.
Freshman catcher Avery Webb (Hollis, N.H.) was dominant in the batter's box, hitting 2-for-3 with a home run and a double, driving in three on the game. Orcutt stayed hot in game two, hitting 2-for-4 with two more RBI. Sophomore pitcher Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) put in another stellar effort on the mound, and even in the batter's box, hitting an RBI double, and giving three solid innings of work (4 H, 2 ER, 1 K).
Sophomore pitcher Mikaela Montemagni (Chicopee, Mass.) picked up the win (4-2), allowing three earned runs on nine hits in five innings. Senior pitcher Olivia Burgos (Newington, Conn.) picked up her first save up the season with two innings of shutout softball. Freshman pitcher Natalie Amato (Cheshire, Conn.) took the loss, allowing four earned runs in relief.
Webb broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot to left field. The Saints tacked on another run to make it 5-3 heading to the fifth.
USJ scored three runs in the fifth on a hit and two costly EC errors. A Sharon single to center field scored the third run of the inning, giving USJ the lead, 6-5.
Webb answered right back in the bottom half, slapping a two-RBI double to left center, giving the Saints a 7-6 lead. With nothing doing in the sixth, the Blue Jays had one last chance in the seventh. Sophomore catcher Megan Burke (Parkland, Fla.) singled up the middle to get the rally going. After the tying run advanced to third, the Blue Jays were down to their last out. USJ was unable to get the runner home, ending the game with a popout, as the Saints held on to a tight 7-6 win in game two.
USJ is headed home for a doubleheader on Thursday, April 4, at 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. against Elms (MA). Emmanuel plays a doubleheader at home Wednesday, April 3, at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. against Emerson (MA).