May 10, 2014

WPI survives elimination game with Brandeis, Smith earns championship berth against Salve Regina

WALTHAM, Mass.- In the final two games of the afternoon in the ECAC Division III New England Softball Tournament semifinal round #3 Smith College earned a berth into the championship round while #2 Brandeis was eliminated and #1 WPI along with #4 Salve Regina lived to see another day. Brandeis fell to WPI 7-4 while Smith picked up their second straight 3-0 victory over Salve Regina.

In the third contest of the day the Judges faced off against the top-seeded Engineers in an elimination game. WPI picked up a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by senior catcher Juliana Fekete (Belgrade, Maine/Messalonskee) with two outs. In the top of the fourth, Brandeis tied it back up when rookie Madison Hunter (Parker, Colo./Legend High School) ripped an RBI base hit up the middle to make it 1-1. In the bottom of the frame, the Engineers broke the game open. The WPI bats erupted for five runs on four hits. Junior 1B Katie Bumila (Raynham, Mass./Coyle and Cassidy) kicked off the rally with a two RBI double into right center while rookie 2B Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, Conn./Lewis S Mills) capped it with an RBI double to center to give the Engineers a commanding 6-1 lead.

The Judges fought back in the top of the fifth. Following two quick outs, sophomore 2B Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, Calif./West Lake) got things started with a base knock through the right side. After a walk and another base hit, the bags were packed for junior catcher Cori Coleman (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South). Coleman delivered with a huge two RBI single up the middle as she closed the gap to 6-3. Junior rightfielder Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline High School) tacked on another run for the Judges with a ground ball past a diving second baseman to make it 6-4.  

Brandeis would get no closer than that as WPI added an insurance run in the sixth and sophomore Clare Doolin (Newton, Mass./Newton North) closed out the contest for her second save of the season in the 7-4 victory. Doolin hurled 2.1 scoreless innings with a walk and two strikeouts. Rookie starter Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, N.J./Pompton Lakes) earned the win to improve to 14-6 on the year with 4.2 innings of work, allowing four runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

The Engineers were led offensively by Fekete who was 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI on the afternoon and Bumila who was 1-for-2 with two runs, an RBI, and two walks.

The Judges featured six starters with two hits apiece led by Coleman who went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Junior Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Joeseph's) took the loss in the circle, tossing 3.1 innings while allowing five runs on four hits with four walks and no strikeouts to fall to 7-10 on the season.

Brandeis closes out their 2014 campaign with a 21-18 record while WPI improves to 29-13 and moves on to their second consecutive elimination game tomorrow.

In the final matchup of the day, the third-seeded Smith College Pioneers took on the fourth-seeded Salve Regina Seahawks. In their first games of the day the Pioneers had defeated the Judges 3-0 while the Seahawks took down WPI 7-5.

Just as in their earlier contest, the story of the game was Smith's sophomore pitcher Gina Martucci (Pompton Plains, N.J./Pequannock Township). Martucci followed up her gem against Brandeis with an even more impressive outing against Salve Regina. She carried a perfect game into the fifth inning before senior leftfielder Sara Nelson (Bristol, Conn./Bristol Central) broke it up with a double to left center. That would be the only blemish for Martucci as she hurled her 22nd complete game and 10th shutout of the season. She finished the contest with a line of one hit allowed, no walks, and 10 strikeouts to improve to 21-7 on the campaign.

The Pioneers provided all the run support Martucci would need in the bottom of the second when rookie Sarah Tully (West Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) roped an RBI double followed by a two RBI single off the bat of classmate rightfielder Allison Snyder (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) to make it 3-0. Smith cruised from there on their way to a berth in the championship round tomorrow afternoon.

Rookie starter Kelsey Boarman (North Dighton, Mass./Coyle-Cassidy) fell to 5-6 on the season despite tossing a complete game, allowing three runs with one free pass and two strikeouts.

Smith improves to 22-13 on the season while Salve Regina falls to 22-18. The Pioneers will await the winner of the elimination contest between the Seahawks and WPI tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.