Softball Advances To NEWMAC Championship Series After Two Extra-Inning Wins Over WPI
Springfield, Mass. - May 8, 2021 - Thanks to a pair of thrilling extra-inning victories over WPI on Saturday, the Springfield College softball team advanced to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship. The Pride prevailed by an 1-0 victory in eight innings in the opener before rallying past the Engineers, 7-6, in a nine-inning affair on Potter Field.
The Pride improved to 9-3 and will face top-seeded Babson next weekend. WPI's season came to a close with an 10-6 record.
For the latest on Springfield College Athletics, follow the Pride on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Springfield "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.
Game One - Springfield College 1, WPI 0 (8 Innings)
Both pitchers were locked in to start the game as neither Ashley Pugliese (Long Island, N.Y.) or Lauren Meinhold allowed a base runner through the first three innings. WPI threatened in the top of the fourth as Marissa Gonzales drew a leadoff walk and Kaitlyn Hess beat out the throw at first on a bunt. However, Springfield would get out of the jam as Mackenzie Doyle (Glocester, R.I.) made a great play to catch a ball in foul territory in right field and then delivered a strike to home plate where Cheryl Nicosia (Belleville, N.J.) dove to apply the tag on Gonzales.
Springfield nearly answered in the bottom of the frame as Doyle reached on an error to lead off the frame and moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt and groundout. Abbi Conley (Plymouth, Mass.) ripped a hard hit ball on the ground to right, but Hess came up throwing and was able to get Conley at first to end the frame. In the bottom of the sixth, Sara Mulligan (Cheshire, Conn.) hit a towering double to left field to lead of the frame, and pinch runner Katie Leacoma (Walpole, Mass.) advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. However, Lindsay Ambrosino threw Leocoma at home at the next at bat to keep the game scoreless.
Ambrosino crushed a double to left center to start the eighth, but was stranded as Pugliese settled down to get out of the inning. In the bottom half, the Pride took advantage of a pair of WPI miscues, the first coming on a Kayla Stvan (Parlin, N.J.) infield fly ball that allowed the leadoff runner to reach. A sacrifice bunt from Dana Serricchio (Stamford, Conn.) put pinch runner Nicosia in scoring position, and Mulligan's drive to centerfield was just out of reach for a diving Gonzales as the Pride put runners on the corner. Emily Woznick (Sandy Hook, Conn.) then came in as a pinch hitter and cracked a ball to shortstop, but the throw to first sailed high as Nicosia crossed the plate for the winning run.
Pugliese scattered three hits, struck out seven, and walked two in the eight-inning victory, while Meinhold struck out three and gave up two hits in the complete-game setback.
Game Two - Springfield College 7, WPI 6 (9 Innings)
WPI scored their first runs of the afternoon in the top of the second when Skylar O'Connell took a pitch over the left field wall for a three-run homer to give the visitors an early cushion. The Pride got a run back in the fourth as Alli Olsen (Ridgefield, N.J.) led off with a double down the left field line and would score on a Sara Mulligan infield single. The Engineers got a run back in the fifth on a RBI single from Nicole Logrecco and stretched their lead to 6-1 with two runs in the top of the seventh.
However, Springfield put together an incredible performance in the bottom half the seventh, totaling five runs off sixth hits to force extra innings. Kayla Stvan started the inning off with double to right before the Pride strung together four-straight singles that resulted in two runs. Ava Fernandez (Cedar Grove, N.J.) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make 6-4, and after the Engineers got a force out at home for the first out, Mulligan drove in Olsen with a single to right to make it a one-run contest. Emily Woznick again came up in a key spot as a pinch hitter, as she reached on a fielder's choice and Fernandez crossed the plate to cap off the five-run spurt.
After a scoreless eighth, Abbi Conley hammered a one-out triple to center, and Mulligan's infield grounder allowed Conley to race home for the game-winning run.