Vaillette hurls #18 softball to first-ever NCAA win, 8-0, over Endicott

WELLESLEY, Mass. – Brandeis University senior Emily Vaillette (Milford, N.H./Milford) tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout today, leading the Judges to an 8-0 victory over Endicott College in their first-ever game in the NCAA Division III tournament in the Wellesley College regional today. With the win, the second-seeded Judges advance in the winner’s bracket to face the third-seeded United States Coast Guard Academy Friday at 4 p.m.

Brandeis (28-7-1) got an outstanding performance from their senior hurler, as Vaillette held Endicott (28-11-1) hitless through the first four innings, with just one base runner on an error in the fourth. After the Gulls opened the fifth inning with a double to right-center field by junior CF Ashley Wright (Merrimack, N.H.) and a single to third base by rookie 1B Nicole Devlin (Dudley, Mass.), Vaillette bore down and retired the next three hitters on another grounder to third, a swinging strikeout and a grounder to first to preserve the shutout.

The two hits allowed tied Vaillette’s season low, while the shutout was her fourth of the season and the 10th of her career, giving her sole possession of first place on Brandeis’ career list. The win improved Vaillette’s record this season to 16-4 and was the 29th of her career, one shy of the school record. She lowered her single-season record earned-run average to 1.43 and her career-record low ERA to 2.25.

“Emily was great right out of the gates,” said head coach Jessica Johnson. “She went right at [Endicott], hit her spots and mixed in the change-up. I was really pleased with her senior leadership and her focus today.”

At the plate, the Judges pounded out 11 hits and scored eight runs (six earned) against Endicott starter junior Jenna Bortolotti (Milton, Mass.), who entered the game with a 20-5 record and a 1.48 ERA. Four different Judges had two hits, while seven of the nine starters hit safely. Junior 2B Melisa Cagar (Ridgewood,  N.J./Ridgewood) went 2-for-3 with a key two-run double in Brandeis’s four-run second inning. Senior catcher Erin Ross (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) was 2-for-3 with two RBI, while sophomore RF Carly Schmand (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) and senior SS Chelsea Korp (Worcester, Mass./Holy Name) each went 2-for-3, scoring three times between them.

Sophomore LF Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) had the two biggest RBI of the game. Grimm plated the game’s first run in the first inning after a Marianne Specker (So. Windsor, Conn./Westminster School) two-bagger. In the fifth, she ended the game with a squeeze bunt that brought home the final run of the contest.

“Everyone hit the ball hard today,” Johnson said. “No one was settling, they were terrific in waiting and hitting their pitch. We did a great job of adjusting to a pitcher we hadn’t seen before.”

In other games earlier in the day, top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State defeated No. 8 Husson University, 8-0, in five innings; fifth-seeded Rivier College scored the only upset of the day with a 1-0 win over No. 4 Bowdoin, when the Raiders scored in the top of the seventh; and third-seeded Coast Guard dropped No. 6 Salem State, 2-0, behind the fifth no-hitter of the season by sophomore Hayley Feindel.

Live stats and video of all the Wellesley regional games NCAA tournament games are available on the web at http://www.wellesley.edu/athletics/athletics/ncaasoftball/, while Brandeis’s games can be heard live on 100.1-FM, WBRS and over the web at http://www.wbrs.org.

Images from today's game will be available on http://www.sportspix.biz

BRANDEIS-ENDICOTT BOX SCORE

(photo courtesy Alex Hatem Wellesley '12)