WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University softball team, ranked 18th in the nation, improved to 20 games over .500 today with a sweep of visiting Emerson College, winning both contests by the mercy rule. The Judges scored five in the sixth inning to walk off with a 9-1 win in the opener and continued their momentum with eight runs in the bottom of the first of game two en route to an 11-3 victory. Brandeis, which was won four in a row against teams ranked regionally by the NCAA, improves to 26-6-1 on the campaign, while Emerson falls to 28-13.
In the two games, Brandeis pounded out 24 hits, 13 of which went for extra bases. Senior catcher/designated player Erin Ross (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) led the hit parade by going 5-for-7 with three doubles, giving her a team-leading 13 two-baggers on the season. Ross drove in one run and scored twice, including the game-winning run in game one.
Sophomore outfielder Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) was the top run producer on the afternoon, going 3-for-6 with four RBI and three runs scored. Grimm hit her sixth home run of the season in the first game, one of four long balls on the afternoon for Brandeis.
Also going deep for the Judges in the second game were rookie catcher/designated player Stacy Berg (Owings Mills, Md./McDonogh), who hit her team-leading 10th home run of the season, senior SS Chelsea Korp (Worcester, Mass./Holy Name), who launched her second of the season to go with a double, and junior outfielder Samantha Gajewski (Eldridge, Md./Long Reach). Berg, who drove in three runs on the afternoon, becomes just the third player in Brandeis history to hit 10 home runs and drive in 40 runs in a single season. Gajewski's blast, which came to lead off the fifth inning and ended game two, was the first of her career.
Brandeis also got stellar pitching, as sophomore Caroline Miller (Bala Cynwyd, Pa./Harriton) tossed a complete-game two-hitter in the opener. Miller improved to 8-2 with six innings of work, striking out five and allowing just one unearned run. Senior Emily Vaillette (Milford, N.H./Milford) improved to 14-4 with four frames of one-hit ball in the second game. She fanned five and walked one, while her earned-run average moved up just a tick to 1.57, but is still on pace for a school single-season record.
Emerson had just one player with a hit in both games, as junior DP Christina Naramore (Amissville, Va./Happannock) singled in the first game and produced an RBI double in game two to finish 2-for-6. Lion senior CF Bridget Farago (Oneonta, N.Y./Oneonta) went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI in the second game.
In the circle for the Lions, sophomore Sara Murray (Auburn, N.H./Manchester Memorial) suffered the loss in game one, despite allowing just three runs in three innings of work, only one of which was earned. She also struck out four, but the Judges eight hitters to the plate in the sixth inning, scoring five runs against junior Courtney Smith (Syracuse, N.Y./Bishop Ludden). In the second game, it was the first frame that cost Emerson, as eight of the first nine hitters reached and scored runs – including circuit clouts by Berg and Korp - against three different pitchers.
Brandeis will play a pair of make-up games with Framingham State College Sunday at noon in their regular-season finale, while Emerson's regular-season is concluded and they will await possible postseason bids on Monday, May 10.