WORCESTER, Mass, (courtesy WPI sports information) --- For the second straight time, the Brandeis softball team traveled to Worcester for non-conference action and came away with a split. The Judges fell to host WPI, 3-1, in game one, before rallying to take the nightcap, 8-3. Brandeis remained at the .500 mark at 9-9, while WPI moved to 7-12.
In the opener, the Engineers' Allie Hardy (Townsend, MA) allowed only one run on four hits en route to the complete-game victory. Hardy improved her record to 5-3 on the season.
The game remained scoreless for the first three and a half innings as Hardy and Brandeis starter Emily Vaillette (Milford, NH) matched zeroes, combining to allow only two hits. The Engineers broke through in their half of the fourth inning, as Jen Richards (Hampstead, NH), Sara Migdal (Galway, NY) and Meg Foley (Belchertown, MA) strung together three straight one-out singles, with Foley's infield hit sending Richards home with the first run of the game.
Brandeis tied the score in its next at-bat, as Chelsea Korp (Worcester, MA) scored on a RBI single off the bat of centerfielder Carly Schmand (Bethesda, MD). Hardy would buckle down after Schmand's base hit however, not allowing another baserunner for the rest of the game. The freshman hurler had one strikeout and induced 17 ground-ball outs in an impressive pitching performance.
WPI took the lead for good with a two-run, two-out rally in the home half of the sixth. Migdal reached on an infield single with two outs, followed by a Foley double down the right field line that drove home pinch-runner Celena Dopart (Washington, DC). Foley later scored on a throwing error, giving WPI the 3-1 win.
In game two, Brandeis plated the first eight runs of the game before WPI battled back. The visitors scored three in the top of the second, powered by a two-run homer from freshman Caroline Miller (Bala Cynwyd, PA). Later in the inning, Lara Hirschler (Bellmore, NY) delivered a RBI single that scored Victoria Roomet (Jamaica, NY) for a 3-0 Judges advantage.
Brandeis then broke the game wide-open in the third with five runs to take a 8-0 lead. The first five Judges batters reached base in the inning to spark the rally. Erin Ross (Manalapan, NJ) doubled to left-center to get things started for Brandeis. Following two walks, an error and a wild pitch that made the score 4-0, Schmand delivered a RBI single for a 5-0 Brandeis lead. Roomet followed with a sacrifice bunt that drove in the Judges' sixth run. After a Melisa Cagar (Ridgewood, NJ) sac fly, Roomet would come around to score on a throwing error for the final run of the inning for Brandeis.
The Engineers pieced together a comeback attempt in their half of the fifth. After Nicole Maglione (Charlton, MA) reached on a fielder's choice, Richards sent a 1-0 pitch over the left-field fence to cut the Judges' lead to 8-2. The blast was Richards' team-leading fifth home run of the season. WPI then was able to load the bases in an attempt to keep the rally alive, but Brandeis' Allie Mussen (Franklin Square, NY) thwarted the rally by inducing a pop-up to end the threat.
WPI added another run in the seventh on an Erin Saari (Brooklyn, NH) RBI single but could not complete the comeback, as Mussen closed out the game and earned the split for Brandeis. Mussen grabbed the win for the Judges to improve to 2-1 on the season. WPI's Erin Flaherty (Stoughton, MA) was saddled with the loss, falling to 2-4 on the year.