WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) softball team drew even with Elms College (EC) Wednesday, as both teams scored six runs and won one game in their afternoon doubleheader on the USJ Softball Field.
The Blazers (2-10) have split their last two doubleheaders, while the Blue Jays (9-11) have lost four of their last six games.
In game one, the top of the Blue Jays' order wasted no time getting on the board, scoring two first-inning runs, and holding off a late charge from the Blazers, winning 4-2.
Senior third baseman Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) had that look in her eye from the moment she stepped on the field, engaged both in the infield and at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI single. Junior designated player McKenna Driscoll (Bristol, Conn.) was also 2-for-3 with an RBI double. Junior first baseman Katelyn Sylvia (Southwick, Mass.) drove in the only two runs for the Blazers, hitting 2-for-4 with a double.
Junior pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) was consistent throughout, picking up the win (4-2), allowing one run on seven hits in six innings. She also struck out four. Freshman pitcher Natalie Amato (Cheshire, Conn.) grabbed the save (1). Senior pitcher Lisa Lusardi (Enfield, Conn.) took the loss (1-5), allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings for EC. USJ capitalized on the bags, stealing four bases, three of which led to scoring opportunities.
The Blue Jays made it count in the top of the first, as Sharon and Klimaszewski each hit singles and stole second base. Klimaszewski drove home Sharon, and freshman left fielder Samantha Iannone (Wallingford, Conn.) drove in Klimaszewski with an RBI single. USJ took a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Saint Joe's tacked on another run in the third, an RBI double by Driscoll, after Klimaszewski once again stole second base easily. The Blazers got the run back in the fifth off an RBI single from Sylvia, but USJ answered once again with an insurance run in the sixth.
Up 4-1 into the seventh frame, Blue Jays' head coach Jim McKinnon turned to Amato to close it out. Amato got the first two outs quickly, but an RBI double from Syliva cut the lead to 4-2. With the tying run at the plate, Amato showed poise in getting the final out on a grounder to Sharon, who moved to second base. USJ wrapped up their ninth win of the season.
Game two was a shift in fortunes, as the Blazers did not let game one get them down, defeating the Blue Jays 4-2 on a three-run seventh inning rally.
Senior second baseman Jeszy McGuire (Brimfield, Mass.) was the difference maker, hitting a two-RBI triple in the top of the seventh to give EC a commanding lead. Senior catcher Tea Sullivan (Dracut, Mass.) was 2-for-3 with an RBI single that tied the game. Klimaszewski had the lone RBI for the Blue Jays in game two on a sacrifice fly, while freshman second baseman Ashlee White (Bristol, Conn.) finished 2-for-4 with two singles.
Senior pitcher Raeanna Tumel (Stafford, Conn.) had her best outing of the season, allowing just two runs (1 ER) in the win (1-5). The Blue Jays did get 10 hits but were unable to get runners across to extend the lead. Sophomore pitcher Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) left it all on the field, pitching a fantastic first six innings (6 H, 1 ER, 4 K), and getting on base at the plate, but ran into a little trouble on the mound in the seventh, and picked up the loss (1-5).
The Blue Jays broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth after three singles and a passed ball, scoring Milardo. USJ led 2-1 heading into the seventh inning.
The Blazers were not going to give up. After drawing two walks and advancing the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, Sullivan singled to center to tie the game 2-2. Two batters later, with two outs, McGuire stepped in and nailed a triple into the left-center field gap, scoring two runs to put the Blazers on top for good. The Blue Jays brought the tying run to the plate three times in the seventh but were unable to get any runs across.
USJ is home for another doubleheader, kicking off their GNAC schedule on Saturday, April 6, at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. against Johnson & Wales (RI). The games will be played at the CCSU Softball Field, on the campus of Central Connecticut State University, in New Britain, CT. Elms plays a doubleheader on the road Saturday at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. against Southern Vermont (VT).