WELLESLEY, Mass. – The second-seeded Brandeis softball team fell into the losers’ bracket today with a 7-0 defeat at the hands of top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University at Wellesley College. The Judges drop to 29-8-1 on the season and will face the winner of today’s fourth game between Coast Guard tomorrow at noon in an elimination contest.
Brandeis and ECSU were evenly matched through the first two innings, when the only base-runner was Brandeis sophomore 1B Marianne Specker (So. Windsor, Conn./Westminster Acad.), who reached on a one-out walk in the top of the first. After that, Warrior sophomore hurler Molly Rathbun (Hebron, Conn.) struck out the next two hitters, starting a string of seven Ks in a row.
Brandeis senior Emily Vaillette (Milford, N.H./Milford) matched Rathbun through the first two frames, including a four-pitch second inning. ECSU broke through with one out in the third. Rookie LF Katie Dinihanian’s (Stratford, Conn.) hard comebacker to the mound went for a single, and she was bunted to second. Warrior sophomore Priscilla Alicea (Stratford, Conn.) dinked a single to center to open the scoring, while senior CF Ashley Sullivan (Trumbull, Conn.) followed with a shot to right field and motored for a triple to put ECSU up by two.
Brandeis mounted their only threat of the day in the bottom of the first, when, with two outs, junior 2B Melisa Cagar (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) walked and Specker followed with a single to center field. Rathbun induced Brandeis sophomore LF Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) to ground to short to end the threat. Rathbun went on to issue two more walks, leading off the fourth and sixth innings, but she also struck out seven more hitters in that span. The hardest hit ball, off the bat of Grimm with a runner on first in the sixth, was a line-drive to short that ECSU turned into a double play.
Eastern Connecticut scored runs in each of their final four at-bats, with the biggest blows a two-run single from rookie 3B Arielle Cooper (Mystic, Conn.) in the fifth and an Alicea triple by Alicea in the sixth that scored the game’s final run, making the score, 7-0. Alicea finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI, while Cooper and senior catcher Katie O’Toole (Waterbury, Conn.) each had two hits and two RBI.
Vaillette suffered the loss by giving up six hits and three runs in four innings of work, falling to 16-5 in the process. Brandeis is relegated to the loser’s bracket, where they will take on Coast Guard for the second time in the tournament. The Judges handed the Bears a 7-6 loss in the second round of the tournament. The winner of that contest will take on ECSU in the championship round tomorrow at 2 p.m.