WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University softball team snapped a four-game skid in the opener of doubleheader with a 6-4 win over New York University, but the Violets took a 9-4 victory in the second game to take three of four in the series.
GAME ONE (Brandeis 6, NYU 4)
The Judges batted around in the bottom of the first inning, scoring five times on just three hits. Senior Madison Hunter (Parker, Colo./Legend) led off with a double to the wall in left-center, and sophomore catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) bunted into an open space to reach safely and put runners on the corners. Sophomore LF Marissa DeLaurentis (Centereach, N.Y./St. John the Baptist Diocesian) then singled to the shortstop to open the scoring.
The Judges then took advantage of wildness from NYU pitcher Karissa Zubulake, who walked three of the next four batters, with free passes to rookie DP Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest) and sophomore 2B Marysa Massoia (Feeding Hills, Mass./Suffield Acad.) driving in runs. A fielder's choice hit by rookie RF Taylor Simala (Wellsbury, W. Va./Brooke) and an error on a ball hit by senior 1B Allison Hecht (Melville, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East) accounted for the last two runs, making it a 5-0 lead for the Judges.
NYU clawed back into the game with a pair of home runs: a solo shot by Claire Stefanelli in the second and a two-run blast by Diana King in the third that chased Brandeis senior Melissa Soleimani (Somerset, Mass./Somerset-Berkeley Regional) and brought Todd on in relief.
Brandeis tacked on an insurance run in the third, when Hecht singled home Massoia, making it 6-3. NYU's Sage Scheiwiller plated a run with a single with two outs in the fifth, but Todd stranded runners in scoring position. The Violets threatened again in the seventh, when two of the first three runners reached, but Brandeis turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Todd allowed one unearned run in 4.2 innings of relief to improve to 7-4 on the season, striking out one and not walking a batter. Lehtonen was the only multiple hitter for the Judges, going 2-4 with a run scored. Zubulake fell to 6-4 with six innings of work, walking four and striking out two.
GAME TWO (NYU 9, Brandeis 4)
NYU pounded out 13 hits, with six different players recording a pair, as the Violets earned the split, 9-4.
Stefanelli blasted her second home run of the day, a two-run shot, to open the scoring in the top of the first. She added her third RBI of the day in the third inning with a line-drive sacrifice fly.
The Judges answered back in the third inning when Hecht and Lehtonen drew walks with one and two outs, respectively. After DeLaurentis singled with a hard liner off the first baseman to load the bases. That brought up junior CF Amanda Shore (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty), who deposited the first pitch she saw over the centerfield fence for a grand slam. The blast was Shore's first of the season and the sixth of her career and gave Brandeis a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, NYU pitcher Diana King helped her own cause in tying the game. She singled to lead off the frame, stole second and third, and scored when the throw down to the hot corner sailed into left field.
King then delivered the game-winning blow in the top of the sixth inning, a two-run single to center field. She scored the Violets' third run of the frame on a Samantha Sicignano double that made it 7-4. NYU tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh inning as they took the victory.
King had an impressive line. She improved to 3-3 in the circle, allowing seven hits and four earned runs. She struck out four and walked two. At the plate, she was 2-3 with two RBI, three runs scored and three stolen bases. Sicignano and Sage Scheiwiller each had two doubles for the Violets.
For Brandeis, junior Sadie-Rose Apfel (Stamford, Conn./Westhill) suffered the loss in relief, falling to 1-1. She gave up 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in 4.2 innings of work. DeLaurentis went 3-4 with a run scored, while Shore was 2-4 with the grand slam. Simala had a double, the team's only other extra-base hit.
Brandeis will play a pair of non-conference doubleheaders next week at Babson and Wellesley on Tuesday and Wednesday. NYU takes on Hunter and Farmingdale State the same days.