WALTHAM, Mass. – The 20th-ranked Brandeis University softball team defeated nearby rival Lasell College, 9-6, in the first game of a doubleheader today before playing the Lasers to a 2-2 tie in a game called after six innings because of darkness. The Judges moved to 11-4-1 on the season, while Lasell falls to 5-8-1.
In the opener, the Judges scored in all six innings. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three frames before Lasell scored three in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to one, 4-3. Brandeis answered with two in the bottom of the frame and took a 9-3 lead before the hosts closed out the contest.
The Judges pounded out 11 hits, seven of which were doubles. Sophomore RF Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) led the two-bag attack, going 3-for-4, with each of her hits for two bases. Grimm drove in three runs and scored twice. She knocked one run in the third as part of back-to-back doubles with classmate DP Marianne Specker (So. Windsor, Conn./Westminster School) – who scored a game-hhigh three runs - and plated two more with a double in the fourth.
Senior 3B Danielle Lavallee (Sutton, Mass./Acad. of Notre Dame) plated what proved to be the game-winning run when she drove in catcher Erin Ross (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) from second with a single through the left side in the fifth inning. Lavallee and Ross both had multiple hits on the day.
Lasell's big bat in the game one was rookie catcher Candace Hankard (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield Memorial), who went 2-for-4 with four RBI and run scored, included her first collegiate home run. In the fourth inning, Hankard hit a two-run blast that immediately followed an RBI triple by junior 1B Ashley Laramie (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical), trimming Lasell's deficit to one run at the time. Hankard added a two-run single in the seventh that got the Lasers within four with two on and no one out, but Brandeis senior pitcher Emily Vaillette (Milford, N.H./Milford) reentered the game and got the final three outs.
Vaillette pitched seven innings – though she didn't get credit for a complete game, as rookie Keliann Kirby (Framingham, Mass./Marion) faced four batters in the seventh – striking out a season-high eight and walking just one to improve to 6-3 on the season. Lasell junior Kirsten Mammola (No. Reading, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) suffered the loss, giving up seven runs (six earned) in four innings. Mammola allowed nine hits and walked three while striking out two, falling to 2-4 on the campaign.
Game two was a pitcher's duel, as the teams combined for just eight hits in six innings. The Lasers scored the game's first two runs in the top of the first, as junior 2B Kelley Silvia (Oak Bluffs, Mass./Martha's Vineyard) was hit by a pitch and scored two batters later on a two-run home run by Laramie, her second of the campaign. Hankard followed with a single, but rookie Stacy Berg (Owings Mills, Md./McDonough) threw her out attempting to steal to end the inning, one of three Lasell players cut down on the basepaths in the contest.
Brandeis had their chance to answer in the bottom of the first, but rookie Alison Saluti (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) worked out of a bases-loaded jam. The Judges finally got on the board in the third. Specker led off the frame with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Grimm's fourth double of the afternoon. Grimm plated the tying run on a heads-up play, moving to third on a long fly ball to center hit by Berg and scoring when the attempt to get her out got past the hot corner.
The final three innings of the contest were tightly played on both sides. Lasell had two base runners in the fourth, but Brandeis senior pitcher Allie Mussen (Franklin Square, N.Y./Carey) started a 1-6-3 double play and Ross threw out another attempted theft. The Lasers stranded a runner in the fifth and had their final runner cut down stealing in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Saluti retired the final 11 hitter she faced, eight coming on fly outs. She finished allowing just three hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks while striking out two. Mussen fanned four in four innings of relief for the Judges, walking two and allowing two hits.
Brandeis is back in action on Saturday afternoon at Salem State College at 1 p.m., while Lasell hosts Suffolk University in a GNAC twinbill at noon the same day.