Huge innings carry #20 softball past Wesleyan, 8-0 and 17-4

Huge innings carry #20 softball past Wesleyan, 8-0 and 17-4

MIDDLETOWN, Conn.  (courtesy Wesleyan University sports information) --- Brandeis University, ranked second in New England Division III and 20th nationally, kept its record against. Wesleyan University unblemished (5-0) by ending the first game of a road double-header in explosive fashion and starting the second game the same way it ended the first to capture wins of 8-0 and 17-4 in five innings.

Holding a tenuous 2-0 edge into the 7th inning of game one, thanks to a two-run homer by rookie DP Stacy Berg (Owings Mills, Md./McDonough) after a Cardinal error extended the 1st inning, Brandeis added six runs in the 7th to run away with the game.  Berg’s homer was her team-best ninth of the year and pushed her RBI total to 37.  She needs just one more round-tripper for the fourth season of 10 or more in school history and one more run driven in for the fourth 40-RBI season at Brandeis.

In the 7th, the Judges used five hits along with a fielder’s choice RBI by senior Chelsea Korp (Worcester, Mass./Holy Name) and a sacrifice fly by junior 2B Melisa Cagar (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) to get its runs.  Senior catcher Erin Ross (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) opened the frame with a solo homer to left while sophomore 1B Marianne Specker (So. Windsor, Conn./Westminster School) added a two-run single.  Sophomore pinch hitter Megan DeNubila (Princeton, Mass./Wachusett Regional) capped the inning with an RBI double.

Brandeis starting pitcher senior Emily Vaillette (Milford, N.H./Milford) upped her record to 12-3 as she gave up just four hits in six innings with six strikeouts. She needs just one more win to tie her career single-season best. Wesleyan starter senior Meaghan Dendy cruised through the first six innings as well, allowing just three hits, but ran into trouble in the 7th, giving up four hits and a walk with only one out before departing for a reliever.

Brandeis began the second game with a 13-run first inning, banging out 11 hits. Brandeis went through the entire batting order against Cardinal freshman starter Caitlin Grudzinski, who got the last two outs of game one, before Wesleyan recorded its first out.  The Judges batted around twice in the frame with Berg, Ross, sophomore OF Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) and junior Carly Schmand (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) all producing a pair of hits in the stanza.  In the 2nd inning, Specker added her second home run of the year, helping raise the margin to 16-0.  

Wesleyan got its first runs of the day in the third on RBI by sophomore Chrissy Bello, Dendy and junior Talia Bernstein.  A fourth run scored on a wild pitch. Brandeis added a run on a sacrifice fly in the 4th.  

On the day, Ross led the Judges with a 6-for-7 effort, scoring three runs and knocking in four.

Wesleyan is back in action Friday, April 23 in NESCAC West action, playing a single game at Amherst College.  Brandeis has a showdown with New England’s top-ranked team, Eastern Connecticut, for a home double-header Thursday, April 22 in its next start.