WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis softball team gave new head coach Danielle DelPonte her first two home wins as their head coach today as the Judges swept Clark University, 10-7 and 10-9, in their 2016 home openers. The Judges improved to 10-7 on the season by holding off a Cougar charge in the first game, then scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh in the nightcap. Clark falls to 5-9 on the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED – GAME 1
- The Judges clung to a 4-3 lead headed into the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to senior Madison Sullivan (Dover, N.H./Dover).
- Sullivan's long ball to center in the first inning was dropped allowing Brandeis's of first run to score, and she added a two-run double in the third.
- Brandeis sent 11 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth, with Sullivan and senior Jordan Buscetto (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) each delivering two-run doubles in the frame.
- Clark trailed 10-3 headed into the sixth, but the Cougars delivered a pair of two-run home runs in the top of the frame.
- Senior Alyssa Wright (Manchester, N.H./Manchester West) delivered her first blast of the season with one away
- Classmate Rachel Kraytenberg (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) blasted her second of the game and fourth of the season two batters later.
- The Judges retired four of the last five Clark hitters to finish off the win.
- Sullivan led the Judges by going 2-4 with two doubles, four RBI and two runs scored.
- Rookie DP Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) was 3-3 with a walk, two doubles, and three runs scored.
- Senior 2B Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake) led the Judges with four hits in four at bats with an RBI and a run scored.
- Sophomore Melissa Soleimani (Somerset, Mass./Somerset Berkeley Regional) earned the win going 6.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and five runs (four earned) with six strikeouts, a career-high.
- Kraytenberg paced Clark by going 2-4 with three RBI, two runs scored and her two home runs.
- Rookie Taylor Erickson suffered the loss to fall to 1-2 on the season after 3.1 innings, allowing six hits and seven runs (six earned).
HOW IT HAPPENED – GAME TWO
- Clark put up three big innings, starting with three runs in the first inning thanks to sophomore 3B Angela Gonzalez (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack), who doubled in the first two and scored the third on an error.
- Brandeis junior SS Liana Moss (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura) singled in a run in the second and classmate Leah Shapiro (Beverly Hills, Calif./Beverly Hills) followed with an RBI double, but Moss was gunned down at the plate, to keep the lead with Clark, 3-2.
- Gonzalez expanded the Cougars' lead in the third with a long three-run home run to left-center field, making it 6-2 for the visitors.
- In the bottom of the fifth, Brandeis tied the game on four unearned runs as Clark committed errors on the first three batters of the inning.
- Sullivan, Gagnon and Shapiro each drove in runs in frame.
- Clark wasted little time getting the lead back, as rookie Kendra Walker (Cumberland, R.I./Cumberland) walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored two batters later on another WP.
- Pinch hitter Danielle Tesler (Stoughton, Mass./Stoughton) plated a second run on a sacrifice fly
- Wright made it 9-6 in favor of Clark with a towering homer to right field, her second of the day.
- Clark reliever Sami West (Gonic, N.H./Spaulding), who got a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the fifth, worked around a two-out walk in the bottom of the sixth.
- After Soleimani, who came on in relief, stranded runners on the corners in the top of the seventh, the Judges had their final chance for a comeback, and they took advantage.
- Six Brandeis hitters came to the plate and they all reached.
- Gagnon started the inning with a double to left field, and junior Allison Hecht (Melville, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East) followed suit to get Brandeis with 9-7.
- Moss followed and blasted the first pitch she saw to straight-away center field for her second home run of the season and the ninth of her career to tie the game at 9-9.
- With the game tied, Shapiro dropped a ball in between four fielders in shallow left field and reached an uncovered second base.
- Lehtonen followed with a perfectly-placed bunt to third, reaching safely and putting runners on the corners.
- After Lehtonen stole second, sophomore Amanda Shore (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) laced a 2-2 pitch to center field to deliver the come-from-behind walkoff win.
- Moss and Hecht each went 3-4 on the day, with Moss driving in three runs, including the key homer, while Hecht had a double and scored twice.
- Gagnon added two more hits and a walk to finish the day 6-7 with three runs scored and an RBI.
- Soleimani earned the win in relief, giving up two hits and one earned run in two innings of work. She moved to 5-5 on the season.
- Sophomore Sadie-Rose Apfel (Stamford, Conn./Westhill) went five innings and gave up eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits, with six strikeouts and four walks.
- Gonzalez had the big game for Clark, going 3-5 with five RBI, a homer and a double.
- Brandeis is off until March 30 when they will take on Wellesley College at 3 p.m. in a doubleheader.