April 30, 2008

Softball rallies to earn split with Wellesley, 0-2 & 5-3

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University softball team rallied in the nightcap of a doubleheader with visiting Wellesley College today to earn a split and set a school record for wins in a season. The Judges lost for just the second time at home in the opener, 2-0, but a three-run outburst in the sixth inning propelled them to a 5-3 victory. The win was the Judges' 34th of the season, breaking the previous record for wins in a season of 33 set by the 1999 baseball team.

Wellesley (27-9-1), which had defeated and tied Brandeis (34-9-1) earlier in the season, rode senior pitcher and NEWMAC Player of the Year Jenna Harvey (London, Ont.) to victory in the first game. Harvey held Brandeis to just two hits and four base-runners in a complete-game shutout. She walked two and struck out 13 to improve to 16-3 on the season.

The Blue got all the offense they would need in the first inning when sophomore LF Megan Wood (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit her team-leading fifth home run of the season. Brandeis got two runners as far as second base, but rookie Melisa Cagar's (Ridgewood, N.J.) third-inning double and a pair of fifth-inning walks got no further than second. Wellesley added an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI groundout by senior catcher Kara Wong (Milford, Mass.). Brandeis senior Natalie Volpe (Southington, Conn.) suffered the loss, scattering seven hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking just one. She fell to 10-2 on the season.

Game two got off to a rocky start for the Judges, as two first-inning walks by senior Kaitlin Streilein (Point Pleasant, N.J.) came home on Wong's fourth round-tripper of the season. The Judges responded against Blue junior Barbarajean Grundlock (Blackwood, N.J.), scoring two unearned runs on one hit. Cagar reached on an error, followed by a single by rookie LF Erin Thorn (Perkasie, Pa.) and a walk by Streilein. With the bases loaded, rookie 3B Danielle Lavallee (Sutton, Mass.) and sophomore catcher Erin Ross (Manalapan, N.J.) hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to bring the Judges within one, 3-2.

Wellesley threatened again in the third inning when the first three batters singled, but rookie Carly Schmand's (Bethesda, Md.) throw from center field was cut off by Streilein, who nailed a Blue runner at the plate for the first out. Streilein then got a fly out and a fielder's choice to escape the jam unscathed.

Brandeis claimed the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Streilein singled on Grundlock's first pitch of the inning, followed by at double by Lavallee and walk to Ross. That brought up Volpe, whose hard grounder went through the shortstop's legs and allowed Streilein and pinch-runner Lauren Rashford (Whitesboro, N.Y.) to score the tying and go-ahead runs. Two outs later, with runners on first and second, sophomore SS Chelsea Korp (Worcester, Mass.) drove in an insurance run. Streilein gave up an infield single in the seventh, but left the runner on first to earn the split.

Streilein improved to 18-3 on the season with her 14th complete game. She gave up seven hits and three earned runs, striking out five and walking four. Grundlock fell to 8-4 on the campaign despite not giving up an earned run. She fanned seven and walked two, allowing six hits.