Hirschler's multiple doubles lead Brandeis softball to split with Wellesley

Maxie Hirschler '12 (photo by Sportspix)

WELLESLEY, Mass. – Courtesy of Wellesley Sports Information The Wellesley College and Brandeis University softball teams split a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon in Wellesley. The Judges took the opener 8-6, while the hosts rebounded for a 2-1 win in the nightcap. 

The split sets Wellesley's season record to 9-5, while Brandeis moves to 9-12 on the year.

In a wild game one that featured 17 total hits, Brandeis used relentless hitting and some late-game heroics to earn the win. Maxie Hirschler (Bellmore, N.Y./John F. Kennedy) was the offensive star for the Judges, going 3-4 with three doubles, three runs and two RBI. Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) went 2-2 with two runs scored, while Courtney Kelley (Leicester, Mass./Notre Dame Acad.) and Megan DeNubila (Princeton, Mass./Wachusetts Reg.) each drove in a run. Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) pitched an inning and a third of hitless, scoreless softball to earn the victory, her fifth of the season. Casey Ducinski (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) started the game, going five and two thirds, allowing six earned runs on eight hits with one strikeout.

For Wellesley, Brittany Bakacs led the offense, going 2-3 with a homerun and two RBI. Kim Cabral went 1-3 with two RBI, while Mara Blesoff and Sinta Cebrian each drove in runs. In the circle, Schwartzmeyer was saddled with the loss, throwing six and two thirds, allowing nine hits, eight runs (seven earned), while walking eight and striking out six. 

The Judges got on the board first with a run in the top of the second inning. Samantha Gajewski (Elkridge, Md./Long Reach) opened the offense with a double to deep center field. She advanced to third on a single to right field and then later stole on a double steal attept for the first run of the game. Wellesley got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Cebrian's RBI double drove in Rachel Harris.

The Judges tacked on two more in the top of the third, aided by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kelley and a Wellesley passed ball that scored Grimm. Again, Wellesley answered, this time with a solo home run from Bakacs that set the score to 3-2 in favor of Brandeis. 

Brandeis added a run each in the fourth and fifth innings to stretch the advantage to 5-2. In the fourth, Marianne Specker (So. Windsor, Conn./Westminster School) and Grimm each contributed singles, with Lauren Porcaro stealing home for the run. In the fifth, Hirschler scored on a DeNubila single after she got on base with a double to left field.

The Blue took their first lead of the game in the bottom half of the sixth. After a line-out opened the inning, Sara Del Balzosingled and Blesoff drove in pinch runner Schwartzmeyer with a double. A walk put two runners on with one out, but Brandeis hurler Ducinski picked up a strikeout for the second out of the inning. However, Wellesley's Cabral laced a single after a nine-pitch at-bat to score two for the Blue. Bakacs followed with an RBI single before Nolan came on in relief to retire the side, with Wellesley ahead 6-5.

Brandeis rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to take an 8-6 lead. The Judges used three walks, a wild pitch, and the big hit, a two-RBI double off the bat of Hirschler, her third two-bagger of the game. Wellesley went down in order in the bottom of the seventh, as Nolan recorded two strikeouts and a pop-up to earn the 8-6 victory for the visitors.

Game two took on a different tone than game one, as both starting pitchers allowed only one earned run. However, timely hitting and a solid performance from first-year Lindsay Johnson earned Wellesley the 2-1 victory.

Johnson picked up her second win of the season, throwing seven strong innings. She scattered four hits and a run while walking three and striking out seven. For Brandeis, Nolan took the hard luck loss, allowing only two hits and one run, while striking out three and walking one.

The Blue dented the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning as a leadoff walk to Jane Ellis came around to score on an RBI double from Del Balzo. Brandeis answered in the top of the fourth with a two-out rally. Gajewski sparked things with a deep double to left field and later scored on an RBI single from Hirschler.

With the game knotted at 1-1, the Judges loaded the bases in the top of the sixth. Two walks sandwiched a single from Kelley before Wellesley first baseman, Ellis, made an acrobatic catch on a foul ball behind the Wellesley dugout to end the threat.

The Blue took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth. Nolan retired the first two batters of the inning before a fielding error allowed Wellesley's Megan Townsend to reach base. Bakacs then doubled off the fence to score Townsend and give the Blue the 2-1 advantage.

In the top of the seventh, Porcaro ripped a one-out single, but Wellesley's Blesoff caught a liner at third and doubled Porcaro off first to end the game. 

The Blue play again tomorrow afternoon, facing Williams College at Tufts at 5:00pm. Brandeis is back in action tomorrow with a doubleheader at Lasell College beginning at 3:00pm.