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April softball recap: Judges go 14-4

By Hannah Vickers

Section: Sports

April 24, 2009

The Brandeis women’s softball team has had a great month, going 14-4 to bring them to 22-12 over the season. Of the nine double headers they’ve played in April, the softball team has swept six, split two, and lost only one. They are currently ranked fifth in the New England Region with the undefeated Tufts still holding onto the top spot with a 32-0 record.

In their most recent matchup against Pine Manor the Judges had another shut out game, this time pitched by Caroline Miller ’12, who went for six innings striking out five batters and giving up three hits and a walk. All five Brandeis runs came in the fifth inning. Emily Vaillette ’10, who gave up only two hits over seven innings, pitched the second game. All three Pine Manor runs of the game came off five errors committed by Brandeis. Pine Manor took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth but the Judges answered back with two runs in their next plate appearance. Brandeis took the lead in the fifth off a two-out RBI single by Ross. With the victory over Pine Manor Vaillette recorded her ninth win of the season.

Brandeis faltered in their first game of the month losing 3-1 at WPI, but came back to split the series with an 8-3 victory. The Engineers managed to get on the board with three straight singles followed by an infield hit. The Judges immediately answered back with an RBI single by Carly Schmand ’11 but WPI pitcher Allie Hardy ’12 shut them down from that point on, striking out one batter and inducing 17 ground-ball outs without allowing a single runner to reach base.

In the second game of the double header Brandeis looked like a completely different team. The Judges began their assault in the top of the second with a two-run homer by Caroline Miller ’12 and an RBI single by Lara Hirschler ’12. In the following inning they broke it wide open, stacking on five additional runs to bring them to an 8-0 lead. The Engineers finally made it onto the board in the bottom of the fifth with a two run homer, but couldn’t bring in any more despite loading the bases. Allie Mussen ’10 allowed only one more run in the seventh inning and led the Judges to their 8-3 victory.

The Judges then faced Framingham State the next day and came out with two decisive home field victories of 8-1 and a 6-0 shutout, the first the team has had since 2006. Emily Vaillette ’10 missed a perfect game when she allowed a two-out walk in the top of the sixth but succeeded in striking out six batters and allowed only two balls out of the infield. Framingham’s only run of the day came off a double in the first game by Christy Ulak ’12. The Judges on the other hand showed the strength of the top of their order. Melisa Cagar ’11 was 4-7 over the two games with a steal and four runs scored in her lead-off spot. Korp, batting second, was 2-7 with a triple and a team-high five RBI. Erin Ross ’10 was 4-8 with four RBI and two doubles.

Brandeis extended their win streak to five games that weekend with a sweep of Bowdoin at home, winning 7-4 in the first game and 5-4 in the second after going into extra innings. Of the 12 Brandeis runs over both games, 11 were unearned due to seven errors by the visiting Polar Bears. The Judges had a 6-0 lead at the end of the fourth inning thanks to two runs in the second and another four in the fourth, mostly due to the three walks Michelle Wells ’12 allowed. Bowdoin came back in the top of the fifth to score four unearned runs but Brandeis tacked on another run in the bottom half of the same inning when a throw to third went into left field making the final score 7-4. In the second game the Judges scored their only earned run of the day in the bottom of the second off a solo homer by Danielle Lavallee ’11. Bowdoin responded in the top of the third, taking a 2-1 lead, but the Judges came back in the same inning to tie it up. Bowdoin took the lead again in the fourth off a solo shot by Alison Coleman ’09 that nearly hit a passing commuter-rail train, but again Brandeis rallied back and tied the game at 3-3, forcing the game into extra innings. The Polar Bears scored a run in the top of the eighth, but the Judges scored two in the bottom half of the inning to win the game 5-4.

Brandeis saw it’s five game winning streak end in their next game against Suffolk in a 10-9 loss in extra innings, but took the second game of the double header in an impressive 11-0 win. The Judges got an early lead in the first game, jumping out to 6-0 off three runs in both of the first two innings, but they wouldn’t be able to hold it.

Suffolk first made it on the board in the fifth off a two-run homer, then took the lead in the sixth when three Brandeis pitchers issued five walks combined and hit one batter, allowing three runs in without a hit as well as two two-run hits to give them an 9-6 lead. Brandeis tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to take the lead despite having the bases loaded. In the second game, though, there was little question who was in control. The Judges cored four runs in the second, five in the third, and two in the fourth. Courtney Kelley ’11 was responsible for six RBI in the game and went 2-2 with a two-run triple in the second and a grand slam in the fifth. The game was called in the fifth inning.

The Judges played their next three sets of games away, sweeping the first two at Wheaton where they defeated the home team 10-5 and 3-2 and then Salve Regina 7-3 and 9-0, but lost both games against Babson 5-3 and 5-4. The victories against Wheaton were especially sweet for head coach Jessica Johnson who was an All-American at Wheaton College. Brandeis jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but the Lyons came back in the third to tie the game. The Judges immediately took it back, however, and would not give it up for the rest of the game, withstanding a 2 run rally by Wheaton. In the second game of the double header Brandeis scored all three runs by the third inning and were able to hold their opponents to just two runs off a single in the fourth and a homer in the sixth.

The Salve Regina Seahawks committed 11 errors in their two losses against Brandeis, which allowed a total of 12 unearned runs. The Judges and Seahawks were tied at three going into the sixth inning in the first game of the day, but Brandeis scored four unearned runs off three Seahawk errors to reach the final score of 7-3. The Judges finished the second game in the fifth inning when the mercy rule was called based on the 9-0 lead of which five runs were unearned.

Brandeis dropped both of their games at Babson the next day; the first time the Judges weren’t able to win at least one of their double headers. While both teams had eight hits in the first game, Babson was able to translate them into two more runs for their 5-3 victory. Brandeis struck first, scoring three runs off a homer by Miller. After that, however, the Judges weren’t able to bring any more batters home. Babson tied up the game in the bottom of the third and took the lead in the fourth off a ground ball and tacked on another run in the fifth to complete the scoring for the game. The second game of the day had to go into extra innings, but the Judges weren’t able to pull out a win. Brandeis had a 4-1 lead going into the seventh, and it was last licks for the home team, but Babson managed to pull out three runs off four hits and a Brandeis error to force more innings. In the bottom of the eighth Babson closed things out off an RBI single to win the matchup 5-4.

The Judges came back to win both of their next double headers, first against Wesleyan at home Saturday 4-3 and 1-0 then again on Monday at Pine Manor 5-0 and 4-3. In the first game against Wesleyan the Judges held onto a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning after Korp drove in Schmand on an RBI single in the third. The Cardinals tied the game off an RBI single of their own and went on to take a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh off three hits and an error by Brandeis. The Judges answered back with last licks in the bottom of the inning off back-to-back singles by Melissa Cagar ’11 and Hirschler. Cagar scored off an error by the third baseman to make it a one run game and Erin Ross ’10 provided the game winning 2-run double.

The second game was an old fashioned pitchers duel. Vaillette threw her second shut out of the season while giving up only four walks, three hits, and striking out four Cardinals. The only run of the game came in the sixth inning. Brittany Grimm ’12 singled with two outs, followed by another single by Samantha Worth ’09. An error by the centerfielder allowed Grimm to score from second and gave the Judges their 1-0 victory.

At the time this article went to print the Judges were in the middle of a double header against Rhone Island College at home. Rhode Island, ranked fourth in New England, won the first game 9-4.

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