February 23, 2014

Softball storms past Newbury in season opener

The Brandeis University softball team began its season in resounding fashion, storming past Newbury College in a pair of five-inning contests, 12-4 and 13-2. The Judges are now 2-0, while the Nighthawks begin their season 0-2. The games were played at the Hampshire Dome in Milford, N.H.

Brandeis was paced by rookie shortstop Liana Moss (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura), who went 6-for-7 at the plate over the two games. Moss had two triples and the only home run on the night, and finished with seven runs, four RBIs, a stolen base and a walk. She was named the UAA softball hitter of the week.

Moss started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning in Game 1, knocking in junior centerfielder Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./North Haven) with a RBI triple. Moss scored on a fielder's choice by sophomore Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, Calif.), who came around on a single by classmate Danielle Novotny (Milford, N.J./Delaware Valley). The Judges got two more in the second to push their lead to 5-0, as a sac fly by Gagnon and a single by senior designated player Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) plated Genovese and Moss.

That was all the scoring Brandeis needed, as rookie pitcher Samantha Wroblewski (Delray Beach, Fla./Spanish River Community) held the Nighthawks to four runs in five innings of work. Newbury cut Brandeis' lead to 5-3 in the third inning, but the Judges scored four runs in the fourth and three runs in the fifth to seal the victory.

Genovese, Moss and Gagnon combined to score 10 of the Judges' 12 runs. Genovese had four stolen bases (and a fifth in the second game) a year after leading all NCAA players – Division I, II and III – in stolen bases with 57. She already owns the Brandeis career record for steals with 84 in just over two seasons.

Moss finished 3-for-3 with four runs scored, while Gagnon had three runs and three RBIs. Novotny batted in three, while junior catcher Cori Coleman (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) knocked in a pair.

Wroblewski struck out 10 and walked just one in her first collegiate appearance.

It was more of the same in the second game, as Brandeis scored 10 runs in the first three innings. Moss and Nolan led the Judges with nearly identical statlines – both went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs. Moss had another triple and her first-career home run, while junior right fielder Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline High School) plated two of her three RBIs with a second-inning triple of her own.

Junior Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Joseph's) pitched three shutout innings for the win. Rookie Melissa Soleimani (Somerset, Mass./Somerset Berkley Regional) struck out two and allowed two unearned runs in the fourth inning, and classmate Emma Krulik (Maitland, Fla./Winter Park) pitched a 1-2-3 fifth.

The Judges are back in action on Sunday, when they will play two against Southern Vermont at the Hampshire Dome. Newbury will compete in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic next week.