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Softball sweeps pair of doubleheaders, allows three runs in four games

By zaronow

Section: Sports

April 11, 2008


Hall of Fame baseball manager Earl Weaver famously eschewed small ball in favor of “Mr. Longball”, the home run. In their most recent home match up, the Brandeis Judges softball squad took that to heart as home runs from Chelsea Korp ’10 and Melissa Kager ’11 helped power a 10-1 victory and double-header sweep over visiting Suffolk. Strong pitching also paid a role as Kaitlin Streilin ’08 surrendered only two hits in a nail-biting 1-0 victory earlier in the day.

Game One proved to be a pitcher’s duel with Streilin scoring the only the run she needed in the bottom of the second, coming home on Samantha Worth’s RBI single. The Judges had more opportunities to score, but Suffolk starter Jess Ferreira worked her way through the jams and helped strand six in the complete game she pitched. The Rams, however, had no answer for Streilin, who found seven to be a truly lucky number – seven innings, seven strikeouts, and her seventh win of the season.

Any ideas that the second game would be a similar affair were quickly dashed as Suffolk scored in the first. Brandeis’s first three batters had two doubles and a first-pitch home run fromChelsea Korp in that order. Catcher Erin Ross ’10 had an RBI triple later in the inning and was brought home on a single by rookie Danielle Lavallee ’11. After picking up a run in the second, a grand slam by rookie Melissa Kager allowed Brandeis to end the game two innings later thanks to the eight run margin rule.

“I wasn’t in the first game, so coming into the second game I knew I had to come off strong. Being the lead off hitter, I have to get things started for our team,” Kager explained. About the home run, she added, “You always have to be aggressive, and she gave me a good pitch to hit.”

Brandeis Coach Jessica Johnson added about the rookie, “She’s a kid who does it all, she can lay down the bunt or she can go over the fence for four runs; so that’s what we expect out of her even though she’s a freshman. She knows that and she handles it well.”

Allie Mussen ’10 kept the game out of reach on the mound, going four innings and surrendering only one run and one hit. Emily Vaillette ’10 finished with an inning of shut out relief, coughing up only one hit.

The double header sweep is Brandeis’s fourth victory in a row following an unusual double header on April 8th that saw the Judges triumph over Lasell College 2-0 and come from behind to defeat Trinity College (Conn.) 5-2.

First baseman Courtney Kelley ’11 provided both runs against Lasell with a suicide squeeze in the third inning and a home run in the sixth. Natalie Volpe ’08 earned the win, going six innings and mowing down the Lasers with seven strike outs, and Mussen earned the save with a shutout inning and added two K’s of her own. Picking up the loss was Alexandra Shackford of Lasell; she surrendered one run in four innings pitched.

Trinity proved to be a tough foe of their own as the Bantams opened the scoring with a solo blast from centerfielder Jessica Tait. The Judges, however, finally got through pitcher Gabrielle Sergi, loading the bases for Erin Ross who responded with a two out, bases clearing double that proved to be the game winner. Ross would later drive in the final run of the game with an RBI double in the sixth while Trinity could only claw out one more run.

“She [Ross] definitely made the adjustment from the first game to the second game,” Coach Johnson stated. “She was pulling her head out quite a bit so she made sure that she was seeing the ball off the bat and she came through, actually had four of our five RBI’s.”

Kate Streilein went the distance for Brandeis on the mound, giving up two runs on five hits and getting five strikeouts. Trinity pitcher Sergi was charged with only one earned run and also picked up five strikeouts.

“She does it all,” Coach Johnson said about Streilein, “and she’s supposed to do it all. She knows that, the team knows that, so it’s her job, and she gets it done for the most part… Overall it was a full team effort, a lot of kids did a lot of different things that really got us both wins. It was one through 16 which was nice, just the way we like it.”

Brandeis’s long stretch continues with Amherst College coming to visit this afternoon at 4 pm, and they next take on Salve Regina on April 12th at noon. The Judges then get a few days of rest before returning to action on April 15th as they take on Smith College in a home doubleheader starting at 4 pm before hitting the road on April 16th as guests of MIT at 3pm.

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