Softball sweeps Emerson on Senior Day

Softball seniors Leah McWilliams and Melissa Nolan were honored before the game with Emerson
Softball seniors Leah McWilliams and Melissa Nolan were honored before the game with Emerson

WALTHAM, Mass.  —  The Brandeis University softball team picked up a sweep of Emerson College today as the Judges honored seniors Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) and Leah McWilliams (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) before their last regular-season home games. Brandeis took the opener, 5-2, and won the second contest, 8-6. The Judges improve to 20-16, clinching their ninth-straight 20-win season. The Lions fall to 13-23.

Nolan did it all for the Judges in the opener. She pitched her second complete game of the season and the 31st of her career, allowing just six hits and two earned runs. Nolan fanned six and walked two to improve to 7-3 on the season. At the plate, she also hit her third home run of the campaign and 11th of her career.

Both teams scored all of their runs via the long ball in the opener. In the second inning, it was Brandeis sophomore 1B Jordan Buscetto (Old Lyme, Conn./Old Lyme), who hit a laser three-run shot to center field to open the scoring.

Emerson answered in the top of the sixth, when rookie 3B Jenna Gianelli (Hudson, N.H./Alvirne) sent one out to left-center with a runner aboard to cut the lead to 3-2 and spoil Nolan's shutout bid. It was her sixth round tripper of the season. The Judges got both runs back in the bottom of the frame, as sophomore 3B Madison Sullivan (Dover, N.H./Dover) laced her second of the season to dead center field. On the very next pitch, Nolan took EC pitcher Alicia Daniele (Mahwah, N.J./Immacualte Heart) to right field to put Brandeis back up by two. Daniele went the distance and suffered the loss to fall to 10-10 on the season.

The only multiple hitters of the first game were junior CF Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) for Brandeis and shortstop Shannon Torosian (Stoneham, Mass./Stoneham) for the Lions. Sullivan and Nolan each scored two runs for the home team.

In the second game, Kamber was the hitting star, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and a career-high five RBI. In the second and third innings, Kamber came up with the bases loaded. Both times she hit the fence in center field for a two-bagger. She also singled in the first and had an RBI single in fifth. McWilliams drew three walks in the game and scored each time.

Emerson got on the board first in their first at-bat on Bianca Buono's (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) RBI single to second. Brandeis junior Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Josephs) avoided further damage when the Judges sniffed out a double steal and caught the runner trying to break for home.

The hosts answered right back, when rookie SS Liana Moss (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura) hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. It was her team-leading seventh of the season. Kamber had her first two-run double in the second, and the Judges scored three times in the third, on a Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake) two-bagger and Kamber's second of the game. They almost had more, but Moss left a bit too early tagging up on Sullivan's fly ball to left and was called out on appeal.

Trailing 7-1, Torosian got the Lions two runs closer with a two-RBI double of her own in the fifth. Kamber's fifth RBI of the game in the fifth made it 8-3, Judges. Emerson would three runs in the seventh against the Brandeis bullpen when Gianelli blasted her team-leading seventh dinger to left-center field with two outs, but rookie Emma Krulick (Maitland, Fla./Winter Park) got a strikeout to end the game.

In addition to Kamber's big game, Gagnon (3-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Moss (2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) and Buscetto (2-3, 2 R) also had multiple hits. Cote improved to 7-8 on the season with six innings of six-hit ball, allowing three runs (two earned) with three Ks and two walks. Gianelli suffered the loss in the circle, falling to 1-1 after allowing 13 hits and eight earned runs in six innings. She struck out four but walked seven and hit three more batters.

Brandeis closes out its regular season on Tuesday at Babson for a 3:30 doubleheader, while Emerson's season is complete.

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