BABSON PARK, Mass. (courtesy Babson sports information) -- Senior Lauren Porcaro (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) hit a seventh-inning home run in both ends of a doubleheader, moving her into sole possession of sixth place on the Judges' career list as the Brandeis softball team split with host Babson. Porcaro's three-run blast erased a 3-2 deficit in a 7-4 win in the opener, while her three-run homer in the second game got the visitors within one run in the second game as the Beavers hung on for the 4-3 win. The Judges are now 18-12 on the season, while the Beavers are 17-16.
Babson was paced by sophomore Kelly King (Kennebunk, Maine) and junior captain Catie Funk (Scarborough, Maine), who each hit two-run homers in the second contest.
Babson struck first in the opener, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning on a single up the middle by junior Jackie Enos (Taunton, Mass.) that plated junior Ashleigh Phelps (West Chester, Pa.) and first-year Lindsey Schmid (New Canaan, Conn.). Brandeis then answered with two in the top half of the fourth, as rookie 3B Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) reached on a one-out single and senior pitcher Caroline Miller (Bala Cynwyd, Pa./Harriton) followed with a two-run homer to center, her fifth of the season.
The Beavers regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a pair of errors that resulted in an unearned run off Miller. Babson then came within one out of victory after Megan Brain retired the first two batters in the seventh - the second of which came on a spectacular diving catch by sophomore Christa Shorette (Southington, Conn.). However, after seniors Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) and Marianne Specker (South Windsor, Conn./Westminster School) recorded back-to-back two-out singles, Porcaro launched her first dramatic blast over the wall in center to give the Judges their first lead of the day, 5-3. Brandeis then tacked on two insurance runs when Kamber followed with a single and Miller hit her second home run of the day for a 7-3 cushion.
Babson staged a rally of its own against first-year reliever Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Joseph's) in the bottom of the seventh, scoring one run on an RBI-double by senior Kayla Davis (Gardner, Mass.) and then loading the bases with just one out. However, Miller re-entered the game to induce a flyout and a groundout to finish off the 7-4 Brandeis victory.
Miller (10-5) went 6 2/3 innings in the win, allowing three runs - two earned - on three hits, walking two and fanning six. With her six Ks on the season, Miller has 101, just the sixth season with more than 100 in school history. The senior righthander also led the Judges at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBI. Also registering multiple hits for the visitors in game one were Grimm with three and Kamber and first-year Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./North Haven) with two apiece.
Junior Megan Brain (Pompton Plains, N.J.) started and took the loss for Babson, dropping her record to 3-6. She allowed seven runs on 12 hits, walked one and struck out a pair in 6 2/3 innings. First-year Meghan Hayes (Robbinsville, N.J.) came on in the seventh and fanned the only batter she faced in relief. Enos and Schmid each finished with two hits for the Beavers, with Enos knocking in a pair and Schmid scoring twice.
Hayes came back and pitched brilliantly in game two for Babson, holding Brandeis scoreless through the first six innings. Meanwhile, the Beavers opened the scoring in the fourth when Shorette reached on a one-out error and scored when King hit her fourth home run of the year to left - a ball that tipped off the outfielder's glove and carried just over the fence. Babson then used the longball to plate two more runs in the fifth, as sophomore Sam Pilkington (Westborough, Mass.) singled with two down and Funk followed with a two-run shot to left center - her team-leading seventh round-tripper of the season.
Hayes would finally run into trouble in the top of the seventh, allowing one-out singles to Grimm and Specker. Porcaro then hit her second three-run homer of the day to dead center, cutting the hosts' lead to 4-3 and knocking Hayes out of the game. However, sophomore Christina Miquel (Emerson, N.J.) came on and shut the door on the Judges, recording a strikeout and inducing a foul pop-up to preserve the one-run victory.
For the game, Hayes went 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out four. The win improved her record to 4-4. Miquel retired the only two batters she faced to notch her second save. Pilkington and King each finished with two hits to pace the Beavers' offense in the nightcap.
Sophomore Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) went the distance in the circle for Brandeis, giving up four runs - three earned - on six hits, walking a pair and fanning three. The loss dropped her record to 5-2. Specker had three more hits in game two for the Judges, giving her a total of four on the day.