Cote pitches softball to DH split with UMass Boston

Nikki Cote '15 (Photo by Volk)
Nikki Cote '15 (Photo by Volk)

BOSTON, Mass. (info taken from a UMass Boston release) -- Brandeis University junior Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Josephs) tossed a five-hit shutout in the second game of a non-conference softball doubleheader today to help the visiting Judges salvage a split with UMass Boston. The Beacons (9-15) rallied from five runs down in game number one to earn their fourth-ever victory over Brandeis (15-13) in the opener.

Freshman Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) and junior Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) led the Beacons with three hits and two RBI on the day.

UMass Boston used a four-run fifth inning and perseverance from junior pitcher Michelle Zullo to earn a game one victory.

Zullo allowed seven hits, five walks and seven runs, but just one of the runs was earned. The junior right-hander also struck out five batters and kept the Judges scoreless over the final three frames.

Rookie Lauren Mitsiaris finished game one 2-3 with two runs and two RBI, while junior Lyndsey Capra ended the contest 2-2 with two RBI triples and a run scored. Senior third baseman Toni Scola had one her best games of the season, with one hit in one at-bat and a season-high three runs scored.

Brandeis raced out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to the first of four Beacons errors. With the bases loaded and one out after two walks and a Beacons' error, Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) lined a double into left-center field to plate two runners.

The Judges took advantage of another key mistake by the Beacons in the second inning to push their lead to 5-0. With two runners on and two down, Liana Moss (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura) lined a fly ball down the left-field line that just barely ricocheted off the foul pole, for her team-leading sixth home run of the season and a five-run lead.

UMass Boston began their comeback in the bottom half of the inning with three runs of their own. Scola started the inning by being hit by a pitch and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Mitsiaris drove Scola home with an RBI single through the middle and came home two batters later when Capra belted an RBI triple into the left-center field gap. With Capra on third and two outs, Brandeis senior pitcher Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) unleashed a wild pitch, and Capra scampered home to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Nolan (5-2) dropped her second-straight game, after allowing seven hits, six walks and eight earned runs through 4.2 innings.

After Brandeis scores single runs in the third and fourth innings to push their lead to 7-3, UMass Boston began their comeback in earnest in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Nolan walked the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but UMass Boston only managed one run, when Scola trotted home on a wild pitch with two down. Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) nearly cut into the deficit further, but her hard line drive was right at the third baseman-who made the play to get the Judges out of the fourth.

The Beacons tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take their first lead of the contest.

Gia Raczkowski started off the rally with her team-leading third home run of the season over the left-field fence with one out.

Kelsey Svenson followed with a walk and moved over to second on a Scola bunt single, and to third on a double-steal. With two runners in scoring position and one down, Mitsiaris put down a perfect suicide squeeze, with Svenson just barely beating the throw home to cut it to 7-6. Mitsiaris caught the Judges sleeping though and advanced all the way to second on the play-while drawing a throw from the catcher. The throw down to second wasn't in time and allowed Scola to dash home to tie the game 7-7. 

Two batters later, Capra crushed another RBI triple to left-center field that plated Mitsiaris and made it 8-7 in favor of the host Beacons.

Zullo would take over from there, as she allowed just one base-runner in both the sixth and seventh inning, en route to her team-high fifth win of the year.

Cote was the story in game number two, as the junior pitcher struck out seven and scattered five singles over five innings in her complete-game shutout.

Sophomore Madison Sullivan (Dover, N.H./Dover) led the charge offensively with two hits, two runs and an RBI, as the Judges took advantage of four more Beacons errors to score six unearned runs.

UMass Boston starter Emily Gray took the loss, after allowing six hits and eight runs, two earned, while striking out two. 

Sullivan helped the Judges get out to another 2-0 lead in the first, as she singled up the middle to score Kamber to push the lead to 2-0.

The Judges tacked on another run in the fourth, as Sullivan and Nolan recorded back-to-back doubles to push the visitor's lead to 3-0.

With the sun setting over the UMB Softball Field, Brandeis scored five more runs in the fifth inning to ensure a mercy-rule victory.

Junior Cori Coleman (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) and Kamber each recorded RBI singles in the inning and the Judges took advantage of three Beacons' errors to push their lead out to 8-0.

UMass Boston had their best chance to score in the fourth inning, when they loaded the bases with two down, but Cote was up to the task. Erika Vecchiet, Svenson and Mitsiaris all singled, but Cote struck out a pair of batters to get out of the jam.

Brandeis is back in action tomorrow at Bowdoin College for a noon twinbill.